Bright Appiah, the Executive Director of Child Rights International (CRI), a non-governmental organisation, has lauded Ghana’s child rights policies and interventions that seek to protect the fundamental human rights and privileges of children in the country. He, however, emphasised the importance of effective implementation of the policies to make a significant impact in the upbringing and development of children holistically.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of the 2019 Child Forum underway at the Sunyani Technical University, Mr Appiah regretted that the lack of political will and commitment remained impediments that slowed down realistic implementation of child right policies and conventions.
He said children remained the nation’s future assets, adding that policies such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child ought to be implemented to the fullest in the interest of the Ghanaian child.
The three-day forum, on the theme “Children learning right”, is being organised by the CRI, an NGO which works and promotes the welfare of children, with support from Mondelez International, the largest chocolate-producing company worldwide.
More than 400 children between 13 and 18 years drawn from the Volta, Central, Western, Ashanti, Eastern, Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions are attending the forum aimed at imparting positive values to them.
It will also expose the children to international child right conventions and enable them to understand basic issues concerning them.
Mr Appiah stressed the need to actively engage children in the formulation of national policies and programmes that sought to govern, guide and protect their lives.
That, he said, would make them responsible and help in their proper upbringing and development so that they would grow to become useful adults.
Mrs Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, Country Lead, Mondelez International Cocoa Life, emphasised the need for the nation to create avenues that would help unearth, nurture and build on the hidden talents of children.
That, Mrs Amekudzi said, called for the establishment of nationwide recreational parks and social centres to serve not only as playing grounds, but learning platforms as well for children.
She pointed out that “children are the leaders of tomorrow” and whatever decisions they take now would either have positive or negative influence on their lives in the future, hence the need to impart positive values to them.
She advised parents to teach and engage their girls in household chores such as cooking and washing of cloths to prepare them for adult life.
In a speech read on her behalf, Mrs Evelyn Kumi Ama Richardson, the Bono Regional Minister, said they were committed to ensuring that every child received quality education appropriate to their abilities and interests.
She said since the government implemented the Free Senior High School programme, hundreds of children who would hitherto not have had the opportunity to further their education after junior high school were now enjoying their right to quality education at the secondary level.
“Since the implementation of that programme, the government is increasing the infrastructure in the various schools to accommodate our children,” Mrs Richardson said, noting that correspondingly, additional teachers had also been employed to ensure that quality education was delivered.