Responding to SGBV in the wake of COVID-19

Responding to SGBV in the wake of COVID-19

Victims of violence experience devastating consequences including physical, mental, and psychological wellbeing. But it long-term, far-reaching effects, including persistent inequalities between men and women, which limit women and girls’ abilities to fulfil their potential is a risk we must avoid completely.

The global theme for the 2020 16 days of activism, Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”, is a wake-up call for all and sundry to work together and invest till we see a day when we will bring to zero all forms of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).

Today, the renovated SGBV shelter was handed over to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.  This adds up to the many interventions existing to ensure that women and girls have access to holistic support to regain their dignity and health. This shelter will go a long way to enhance the response to SGBV and safeguard the rights of vulnerable girls and women.

KASPRO Expo: Providing refuge for Kayayei in Ghana

KASPRO Expo: Providing refuge for Kayayei in Ghana

With the onset of COVID-19, the Kayayei have had to live their realities with the added effects of the pandemic on trade, income and health.

We can only imagine what the pandemic means for their livelihoods, welfare and that of their families. These women and girls who migrate from rural communities especially from Northern Ghana to urban centres, in search of greener pastures have to endure so many unfortunate experiences. Most of them do not have adequate shelter and have to sleep in the open at fuel filling stations, in front of shops or in open market spaces. This exposes them to a number of security threats and human rights abuses including sexual and gender-based violence, specifically, rape, sexual assault, harassment among others. Such experiences, leave them traumatized, but more than that, this exposes them to various negative reproductive health outcomes, like teenage and unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and maternal and newborn health complications.

The Kayayei Assistance Project (KASPRO) was designed to address some of these challenges and provide assistance to a cohort of 500 Kayayei during this pandemic. Through the project 500 kayayei have been provided with sexual and reproductive health education and sexual and gender-based violence information, nourishment and essential items such as hygiene products, face masks and hand sanitizers. They have also received mentorship and business advisory training courtesy the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme and skills training. With support from the National Health Insurance Scheme, we have also enrolled 500 Kayayei unto the scheme.

This Expo was organized to show the benefits we can reap when we make the right investments into the lives of the people, especially the vulnerable, in Ghana. Thanks to the Prudential Life Insurance Limited for supporting this project.

UNFPA calls for time, resources to curb domestic violence

UNFPA calls for time, resources to curb domestic violence

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA Ghana) has called for an urgent investment in time and resources to prevent a high incidence of domestic violence in various communities in Ghana.

Mr. Niyi Ojuolape, UNFPA Ghana Representative noted that despite the existence of several legal frameworks and institutions, a large segment of the population, especially women, adolescent girls, and children continued to suffer violence in all forms.

“Preventing and responding to violence against those that are vulnerable requires that we intensify our efforts systematically to address risk and protective factors at all levels, mainly; individual, relationship, community, and society.”

Mr. Ojuolape was speaking at a National Stakeholder’s Review Meeting on Ghana’s 10-year Old Domestic Violence Policy and Action Plan on Tuesday in Accra.

The overall goal of the 10-year Policy document (2009-2019) was to eliminate domestic violence from Ghana’s society, create family cohesion, and provide a peaceful environment to accelerate national development.

The Domestic Violence Act, Act 732 (2007) was passed by Parliament in June 2007 to protect women and children, particularly from domestic violence.

During the meeting, the Ministries of Education; Gender, Children, and Social Protection, the Judicial Service and Security Agencies were allowed to draw lessons learnt over the past ten years and strategize on the way forward.

Stakeholders would also discuss interventions as well as key achievements and emerging issues and trends of domestic violence in the country.

Mr. Ojuolape said domestic violence undermined the health, dignity, security, and autonomy of its victims. He tasked stakeholders to take into consideration the ever-evolving digital world, and reflect the needs and realities of women, girls, persons with disabilities and people in hard to reach communities.

Mr. Ojuolape pledged UNFPA’s commitment to partner with Government and Civil Society Organizations to continuously work to eliminate all forms of violence against girls, women, and persons with disabilities.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Engaging Men as Champions to Achieve Gender Equality

Engaging Men as Champions to Achieve Gender Equality

To be called a feminist does not necessarily mean working for women alone, but contributing to ensuring balance and the peaceful co-existence of women and men”- Niyi Ojuolape.

International Men’s Day is marks the celebration of men who are contributing and making impact in their communities. Joining the Junior Shapers Africa for the International Mens’ Day Prize event, I stressed on the need to engage men and boys as champions to achieve gender equality and equity.

As we intend to be equal partners, it is prudent to recognise the fact that it is women who have suffered for the large part. And so, we must be a generation that will be altruistic to ensure men and women are partners.

In relation to zero sexual and gender-based violence, it is critical that in our response to ending violence against women and girls, we equally rope in men and boys, in order that most, if not all, move into becoming champions against VAWG rather than continuing to be perpetrators.

Courtesy call to the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu

Courtesy call to the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu

Today, I paid a courtesy call to the National Chief Imam of Ghana, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu at his residence in Accra. The Chief Imam is renowned for his role in the promotion of peace and inter-faith unity amongst religious groups in Ghana. He is also a centenarian and is held in high esteem in the Ghanaian society.

As a member of the National Peace Council, he has contributed to efforts at ensuring peace before, during and after national elections in Ghana. He has also graced a number of UNFPA-led advocacy dialogues with Faith-based organizations towards the elimination of Gender-Based Violence and harmful cultural practices like Child Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Signing the Book of Condolence in Memory of Ex-President J.J. Rawlings

Signing the Book of Condolence in Memory of Ex-President J.J. Rawlings

Today, I joined colleague Head of UN Agencies in Ghana, led by the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Charles Abani to sign the book of condolence in memory of the life and times of His Excellency, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, Former President of the Republic of Ghana, who was instrumental in returning the country to democratic rule in 1992 after a series of successive coup d’etats.

H.E. J.J. Rawlings died at the age of 73 and is survived by his spouse, H.E. Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings and, former First Lady of the Republic of Ghana and four (4) children, Zanetor, Yaa Asantewaa, Amina and Kimathi Rawlings.

Deputy Secretary-General’s visit to Adabraka Polyclinic

Deputy Secretary-General’s visit to Adabraka Polyclinic

As part of her 2-day working visit to Ghana, H.E Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary General, paid a courtesy call to the Adabraka Polyclinic in Accra with the SRSG (AU) Hannah Tetteh, SRSG (Sahel/UNOWAS) Mohamed Ibn Chambas and the Resident Coordinator of the UN in Ghana, Mr. Charles Abani.

During the visit, she interacted with health workers of the Family Planning Unit where she learnt first-hand knowledge of UNFPA’s support in providing family planning commodities to end unmet need for family planning in Ghana.

Meeting with the UN Deputy Secretary-General

Meeting with the UN Deputy Secretary-General

Interacting with the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Her Excellency Amina J. Mohammed during an official visit with SRSG (AU) Hannah Tetteh and SRSG (Sahel/UNOWAS) Mohamed Ibn Chambas to Ghana.

At a Townhall meeting with all UN agencies in Ghana, I made use of the opportunity to discuss how to support efforts towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially achieving gender equality and ending maternal mortality in Ghana.

Group photograph with the UN Deputy Secretary-General, H.E. Amina J. Mohammed, SRSG (AU) Hannah Tetteh, SRSG (Sahel/UNOWAS) Mohamed Ibn Chambas, R.C of UN in Ghana , Mr. Charles Abani, and Heads of UN Agencies in Ghana.
UNFPA country director calls on chiefs, celebrities to champion the fight against all forms of violence against females

UNFPA country director calls on chiefs, celebrities to champion the fight against all forms of violence against females

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Representative, Niyi Ojuolape has implored traditional rulers, government, celebrities and religious leaders to champion the fight against all forms of violence against women and girls in the country.

According to Niyi Ojuolape, all stakeholders in influential positions should come on board to reduce all forms of violence against women in attainment of the Sustaining Development Goal 5 by 2030.

He said adolescents played a crucial role in the development of a country hence the need for stakeholders to advance their well-being to conform to the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) agenda.

Mr Ojuolape was speaking to Adom News at the opening of the 2020 Partners’ Learning Forum (PALEF) on under the theme: “the Unfinished Business: Utilizing Shared Knowledge and Practices for Advancing ICDP in Ghana”.

“Everybody needs to come on board, my advice to all and sundry is that the work of reducing preventable maternal mortality of bringing to zero and eradicating the incident of gender-based violence harmful practices, it not that of the partners alone, everybody needs to come on board” Mr Ojuolape stated.

“Everybody needs to come on board, it is not that of UNFPA, the partners, government alone, it is the responsibility of everybody and in particular every leader at every level that’s why we reach out to traditional leader, faith based leaders, community leaders and all gatekeepers who have influence, so even our celebrities, pastors and imams needs to come on board, so my message is that please let us all join hands to ensure that the adolescent girl child of Ghana is able to achieve her full potential” UNFPA Country Representative stressed.

The forum seeks to facilitate a fertile ground for the exchange of ideas that may further improve policy, programme development and implementation.

Mr Ojuolape indicated that the forum was held annually to showcase the mandate of the UNFPA and how they executed their programmes through a constellation of partners at the national, regional and district levels within the government decentralized political and developmental implementation systems.

Meanwhile, a 19-year-old, Agnes Obetsebi, a beneficiary of UNFPA and the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) training expressed gratitude to the stakeholders for the impact they had made in her life.

The 19-year-old entrepreneur said through the UNFPA training programme, she was now independent and had also trained others. She is saving towards her tertiary education.

Representatives from the Canadian High Commission, Ministry of Finance, civil society organizations, stakeholders, beneficiaries among others, attended the programme.


International Community urged to support Ghana’s 1000 Wheelchair Campaign

International Community urged to support Ghana’s 1000 Wheelchair Campaign

The Ghanaian and international community have been called upon to make it a priority to support the 1000 Wheelchairs and Walking Aids campaign launched by the Henry Djaba Memorial Foundation (HDMF).

“I am making this campaign a call to action to give us all, the Ghanaian and international community, the opportunity to make a difference and change our attitudes towards the physically challenged,” Rev Father Andrew Campbell, chairman, Lepers Aid Ghana said.

Father Campbell, who is also the Parish Priest of Christ the King Church, Cantonments, Accra, was speaking during the campaign launch to raise, at least, 1000 wheelchairs and walking aids, for PWDs in each of Ghana’s 16 administrative regions.

He said the Henry Djaba Memorial Foundation has started the ball rolling by demonstrating through the campaign initiative, which required the collective determination and commitment to make change happen for the physically challenged.

In a statement read on his behalf, Mr Edward Adeniyi Ojualape, UNFPA Country Representative to Ghana, said the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the already gains it was refreshing Ghana’s disability inclusive efforts have gained significant momentum in recent years.

Through advocacy efforts of partners, the country is beginning to seek a paradigm shift towards meeting the needs of all to ensure inclusiveness in development.

“Today, the misconception, the discrimination about PWDs have not been fully eliminated but have been reduced through advocacy efforts of partners,” he said.

The HDMF is a gender/disability based organization working towards a socio-economic transformation and empowerment of PWDs, vulnerable groups, women, and children.

The HDMF with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) launched the “1000 Wheelchairs and Walking Aids – fit for life” campaign to mobilise, at least, 16,000 wheelchairs and walking aids for users.

Source: GhanaWeb