Mr Paschal Gyireh, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of Children Believe (CB), a child-focus Non-Governmental Organisation, has urged adolescents to discuss acts of abuse on them with duty bearers.
He emphasized the need for children, especially adolescents to engage duty bearers in meaningful conversations, and be confident enough to share any act of abuse they suffered at the hands of some irresponsible adults in society.
According to him, one of the major challenges of child protection was the lack of meaningful conversations by adolescents with duty bearers, saying even though stakeholders were ready and willing to help victims of child abuse were timid and feared reporting abuses to them.
Which he noted affected their academic, physical, and psychological development.
Mr Gyireh said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Chuchuliga, in the Builsa North Municipality of the Upper East Region at a training programme for pupils drawn from some selected schools across Chuchuliga and Chiana in the Kassena-Nankana West District.
The training was part of the implementation of the Bulisa-Kassena Area Child Development Programme by the Participatory Action for Rural Development Alternatives (PARDA), a Non-Governmental Organization with funding from CB.
Mr Gyireh said “We are empowering the children, especially adolescent girls to openly speak up to their parents, caregivers, teachers, Police officers about abuses they face in their lives so that they will be properly protected.
“Until they speak up, we will remain in the dark in our quest to protect these young people,” he said, and further admonished adolescents to go to the right places and seek help, “It doesn’t matter what the conversation is, just say it,” he added.
Mr Samuel Ngumah, the Programmes Officer of PARDA, said child protection was a critical component of the Builsa-Kassena Area Child Development programme by the two child-focused NGOs.
He said PARDA formed nine clubs known as Child-Friendly Accountability Mechanism (CFAM) in the selected schools across the two beneficiary Districts to train pupils to interact and demand protection from duty bearers.
He said the clubs, with a total membership of 180, also had nine facilitators at the community levels who helped to mobilise non-school-going children.
Mr Ngumah indicated that the training was one of the several training sessions PARDA had over the years organised to build the capacities of pupils in the beneficiary communities.
“We are reaping the benefits of this training. When some of the pupils see that their colleague is abused, they can report, their confidence levels are gradually being built,” the Programmes Officer said.
A pupil from the Chuchuliga Junior High School, Ms Naomi Atiim, who participated in the training, told the GNA that the training had exposed her to the various forms of child abuse, and was confident to report any form of abuse on her and any colleague to the right duty bearers for redress.