Press Releases of Thu, 9 Feb 20170

Otiko Djaba's Appointment - A New Chapter For Women And Children In Ghana

We, former members of Rights of Children’s Club (ROC) are elated to learn that His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has appointed Otiko C. Djaba as the minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection. We are fully convinced that one of the brightest chapters concerning the welfare of women and children in this country is about to be written. Having known and worked with Madam Otiko as we chose to call her for so long a time, we are convinced beyond any shred of doubt that she is going to be a great asset to this nation.

Whereas many will rather enjoy the comfort of staying and working in Accra and a few other cities, Madam Otiko spent years of her life in rural communities implementing programs to give a voice to the voiceless and to empower women to better take of their children. Through the establishment of Rights of Children’s Clubs, Madam Otiko through Miidan Educational Trust in partnership with Plan Ghana went into rural communities to teach children their rights and responsibilities and to help stamp out child abuse in rural communities. She was really passionate about these clubs and put in a lot of resources into developing we the children to become young advocates.

Through the clubs, several workshops were organized to teach many of us good communication skills, advocacy and many other diverse topics. This training she spearheaded ensured that we were not just there for the sake of representation, but as active stakeholders who are well informed about the issues that concern children and who are able to make meaningful contributions.

Indeed, as we put together this piece, many who have passed through these clubs still testify to the transformation that they saw in their own lives. Most of them have now either completed universities, training colleges or are still students and we all have Madam Otiko to thank for where we are now.

Her approach to advocacy as far as the issues militating against children are concerned was a novelty. Many organizations had tried to talk on behalf of children, trying to make stakeholders prioritize the issues concerning children, but this achieved little because the child was never in the picture.

When she came into the Sissala Districts, instead of towing the usual line of advocating on behalf of children, she decided to rather empower we the children to articulate the issues that hinder our holistic development. From the very beginning this was an outstanding success, it did not only bring children directly under the nose of the powers that be, but it also created a platform for us to learn all manner of skills to help us appreciate the world better.

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This made such a huge difference in our communities that for the first time in the history of the Sissala East District Assembly, children were invited to take part in district assembly meetings and other discussions that concerned them and their views on district policies were considered.

She is a woman who is very down to earth. She blended in so well with the rural people that many were amazed, even we the children. For us, she was not just a mother but someone who understood the potential in each of us and who gave us the opportunity to develop them. She created opportunities for several of us to even travel abroad to attend conferences that tackle issues concerning children and this really widened our horizons.

She was always ready to support our initiatives and kept on encouraging us to be active people in our own development. She was always excited to support our ideas when we bring them up. She also supported the initiatives of rural women to help take care of their children.

Through radio and T.V discussions, we held community durbars in several villages in the Sissala Districts where chiefs, politicians and other stakeholders all gathered to discuss issues affecting women and children such as child marriage, different forms of child abuse, domestic violence etc. These discussions were led and coordinated by children. Through those meetings all stakeholders fashioned out measures to eradicate some of these cankers from our district.

To create a voice for the voiceless, she championed the establishment of a radio station in Tumu, Radio for Development in collaboration with Plan Ghana and the community. That radio station has served farmers, children, women and all other stakeholders and has engendered discussions that have led to the development of the Sissala Districts.

For such a person to be appointed to this position is indeed God-sent, and we believe she is not the just the right person for the job, but one who really loves the job. She is therefore not just an expert in the field she is going into, but also one who is extremely passionate about the issues of women and children.

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We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Madam Otiko on her appointment and indeed to say a very big thank you to His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo for giving her the opportunity to work in government.

We would also like to add our voice to the many calling on the Appointments Committee of Parliament and the Honourable House to fast-track the approval of Madam Otiko C. Djaba because she is not only highly qualified but indeed a role model for many children and youth in this country. We believe that the fact that she spent years working in rural communities is indeed proof that she is public-spirited and someone who has Ghana at heart.

God Bless Our Homeland Ghana

Former Rights of Children’s Club President and Former Child Ambassador

baleng2007@gmail.com

Source: Baleng, Wutor Mahama

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