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Decentralise gender, social protection programs for maximum impact

Mon, 1 Apr 2013 Source: Ziem, Joseph

By Joseph Ziem

The Programme Advocacy and Communications Officer of the Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA) Mrs. Rosemond Sumaya Kumah, has appealed to the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection Nana Oye Lithur, to endeavour to decentralise programs of the ministry to the grassroots level so that they could make maximum impact on the lives of marginalized and vulnerable groups.

She observed that, there was too much concentration of policy programs of the ministry at the national and regional levels much to the detriment of persons and groups in the rural areas who eventually become the beneficiaries, adding “most of the rural people especially women are not aware of the existence of some social protection programs for them and even those who are aware, do not also know how to access them.”

Speaking to this writer during a media review meeting of GDCA’s 5-year project dubbed “Empowerment for Life (E4L)”, Mrs. Kumah encouraged the minister to have the rural areas top of her agenda so that the lives of women and children and their social protection needs could be taken care of very well.

Mrs. Kumah who is also a gender advocate said there was nothing wrong with President John Dramani Mahama appointing only females at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection although some people would view that move as gender-bias.

She commended the President for his excellent appointments so far especially giving women the opportunity to serve in his government. She urged the President to further consider appointing more women on Boards of state agencies and also as Chief Executive Officers.

E4L is implemented in fifteen Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in the Northern Region of Ghana. They include Tamale Metroplis, Yendi Municipality, Tolon-Kumbungu, Savelugu-Nanton, Karaga, Gushiegu, Saboba, Chereponi, Nanumba North, Nanumba South, Zabzugu, West Mamprusi, East Gonja, West Gonja and Kpandai

The programme which was launched on 1st January, 2010 and is expected to end on 31st December, 2014, is aimed at empowering the poor, vulnerable and marginalised group in the aforementioned areas to have the capacity and ability to improve their quality of life through education, employment, local organisation as well as better access to and management of food and water resources on the basis of a right-based approach.

The programme was among other things targeting a primary group of 66,545 people and a secondary group consisting of 64,815 people. It has been grouped into two phases with the first phase covering the period from 1st January 2010 to 31st December 2011 whilst the second phase covered the period from 1st January 2012 to 31st December 2014.

The EfL project was relying on strategies that would focus more on advocacy as compared to service delivery and also focused on tracking all root causes of inequalities and making them known to those who should fulfil those rights.

Whilst supporting the right holders to demand their rights and giving voice to the voiceless, capacity building was also organised to help duty-bearers and right-holders with the needed capacity to carry out their roles and responsibilities effectively.

Meanwhile a Complementary Basic Education Draft Policy document, an invention of one of GDCA’s auxiliary organisations –School for Life, is currently being revised by the Ghana Education Service and expected to start implementation by May 2013 when it is launched.

Financially supported by the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom government and UNICEF with an estimated amount of £17.6 million, implementation would last within three years (2013 – 2015). As part of the inception phase, the management unit of GES is currently conducting a mapping exercise to select regions and implementing partners for the first year.

The Complementary Basic Education Policy document provided guidelines in the delivery of complementary basic education in deprived communities where a considerable number of children were still out of school. It is estimated that close to 1 million children of school age in Ghana were still out of the formal schooling system and if urgent steps were not taken to revert the trend, there could be a greater percentage of illiterate Ghanaians in future.

The writer is a freelance journalist but regularly writes for The Daily Dispatch Newspaper. Views or comments may be sent to him via ziemjoseph@yahoo.com/ +233 207344104.

POLICE-CIVILIAN RATIO IN NORTHERN REGION TOO SCARY – REPORT

By Joseph Ziem

The Northern Region, undoubtedly the largest region in Ghana in terms of land size and the most conflict prone area in the entire country currently, is said to have a police-civilian ratio of 1:2,755, a situation described by the Regional Police Command as very scary.

According to Assistant Commissioner of Police Appia-gyei who is also the Deputy Regional Police Commander, the current numerical strength of police personnel in the region stood at 900, and these include senior police officers and constables on practical attachment.

Delivering a speech on behalf of the outgoing Regional Police Commander Deputy Commissioner of Police George Tuffour at this year’s West Africa Security Service Association (WASSA) get together in Tamale, ACP Appia-gyei said: “In relation to the population of the Northern Region which is given as 2, 479, 461 [per the 2010 Population and Housing Census] then statistically the police-civilian ratio is 1:2,755.”

The scenario given above, he said, was very scary in terms of performance of the command’s mandatory obligation in fighting crime as well as maintaining law and order and called for the combined and collaborative effort of everyone to achieve its targets, pledging that personnel would uphold high professionalism devoid of behavioural tendencies that tend to dent the hard earned image of the Police Administration.

ACP Appia-gyei confirmed that the region was faced with a number of security challenges such as chieftaincy and communal conflicts, armed robbery and others, saying “if we do away with complacency, we would be able to curb these social cankers and be on top of the situation”.

But in 2012, the region recorded 2,149 crime cases with an increase of 389 cases [17.73 percent] from the 2011 cases of 1,768. Also, motor accidents and traffic offences recorded during the same period were 192 compared to 2011 which were 293, a decrease of 34.47 percent.

ACP Appia-gyei on behalf of the Regional Police Command expressed appreciation to the military that had always collaborated with them to ensure peace and tranquility, citing for instance Yendi and Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo Districts where personnel from both institutions were on peacekeeping mission there.

The Deputy Northern Regional Police Commander further congratulated officers and men in the region for their selfless devotion to work that had brought honour to the service and hoped that, the occasion would gird their loins for the challenges ahead and deal with them assiduously.

The outgoing Northern Regional Police Commander DCOP George Tuffour on his part urged personnel to continue to be disciplined and work hard to ensure the mandate of the command was achieved.

He thanked colleagues of the Regional Security Council for their support and asked them to extend the same support to anyone who would be posted to the region when is gone.

WASSA was an annual event organized by soldiers of the Second World War. Those who returned felt there was the need to organise an event in memory of their colleagues who lost their lives during the war and also to celebrate victories/successes that were chalked.

Thus, it has now become necessary for all security services to today to embrace this annual event to ease fatigue after a year of assiduous service and for the commemoration of departed and living heroes/heroines.

The writer is a freelance journalist but regularly writes for The Daily Dispatch Newspaper. Views or comments may be sent to him via ziemjoseph@yahoo.com/ +233 207344104.

Columnist: Ziem, Joseph