Access and use of data plays a key role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and also advances the achievements of UNFPA’s mandates.
I was honoured by the visit of Hon. Dr. Abdul Rashid Hassan Pelpuo, Chair of the Ghana Parliamentary Caucus on Population and Development (GPCPD) and Hon. Elvis Donkor, Member of the GPCPD.
One of the major issues discussed was the 2021 Population and Housing Census and the importance of the caucus on population and development in the entire process. Parliamentarians can help in publicizing the upcoming population census to create more awareness.
On further collaborations, UNFPA could provide technical support and build the advocacy and knowledge skills of parliamentarians. This is effective in enhancing social protection and inclusion and improving well being by focusing parliamentarians to advocate for rights-based policies on their roles in parliament.
I used the opportunity to also mention the newly established Orange Support Centre , that provides support to survivors/victims of sexual and gender-based violence. This was made possible in partnership with the Domestic Violence Secretariat of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.
The Orange Support Centre (OSC) is born out of a collaboration between UNFPA Ghana and the Domestic Violence Secretariat (DVS) of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP). It is an effort to establish a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to address the needs of survivors of SGBV.
As UNFPA is committed to bringing to zero all forms of sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices especially against women and girls, the initiative will create a safe avenue for survivors of SGBV, to receive timely, coordinated, and reliable support, be it psychosocial, access to legal services, referral to emergency shelters and/or SGBV and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)
The UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, Mr Charles Abani in his remarks congratulated UNFPA Ghana for its efforts in the fight against SGBV through interventions such as the formation of the Coalition of Persons Against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Harmful Practices (CoPASH), reactivation of the SGBV Helpline and supporting DoVVSU in various ways to provide effective response to domestic violence cases.
“Fighting SGBV is a worthwhile endeavour as it saves many women and girls from the abuse they usually suffer. I congratulate the DV Secretariat under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and also acknowledge the support provided by UNFPA in the specific areas of promoting gender equality.”
Head of UN Systems at the Ministry of Finance, Ms. Gladys Osabutey, who performed the official launch of the centre, commended UNFPA Ghana and partners for the continuous efforts in the fight against SGBV.
“This facility will help clients to access fast and effective legal assistance, referrals to SGBV shelters and all other services without struggle, and this is very critical if Ghana wants to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”- she added.
The Orange Support Centre services will be accessible to clients through a multifunction range of communication;
Toll-Free Number: The helpline ((0800-111-222) is available for persons who need to report cases of abuse, get information about sexual and gender-based violence, domestic violence and or seek support for themselves or others who are facing any form of abuse.
Walk-Ins: Individuals can also walk into the Centre and ask for support and access services. When the OSC is accessed in this way, a case file is opened for the individual, the necessary details are taken and then the needed services provided.
BoaMe App: This is a mobile application and it is currently available on Google play store. The App provides information on sexual and gender based violence, allows individuals to report cases and access support services.
The event was attended by Heads of UN Agencies in Ghana, Canadian High Commissioner- H.E Cathy Csaba, The Australian High Commissioner- Gregory Andrews, President of the International Federation of women Lawyers Ghana, Madam Afua Adottey, among other dignitaries.