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N/R: 16 Days of Activism campaign against gender-based violence launched

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and its partners, have launched this year’s edition of the 16 days of activism campaign against gender-based violence.

The campaign was launched in Tamale over the weekend.

The launch started with a health walk through some principal streets of the Tamale Metropolis to create awareness of the campaign.

The launch also formed part of the commemoration of the International Day for The Elimination of Violence Against Women and children. 

Delivering her keynote address, the Minister for Gender, Children, and Social Protection, Honorable Hajia Lariba Zuweira Abudu, said despite the many interventions to remove barriers that women and girls face in society, the challenge still exists and there is the need for more collaborative work to address it.

She said, data from the 2016 domestic violence survey indicated that 27.7% of Ghanaian women had experienced at least one form of domestic violence in their lifetime. She added that, the 2017/2018 survey also shows that 38.2% of adolescent girls aged 15-19 reported having experienced at least one act of sexual violence in the country. 

The Minister who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Walewale Constituency, explained that 1 out 3 women and girls continue to experience violence in one form or another across the world. 

“Acts of sexual and gender based violence are common happenings around us every day that are serious offences and yet are trivialized in our society due to cultural norms, beliefs and practices that continue to put women and girls in positions of vulnerability, and these have unreversed devastating consequences on their lives.

“The current situation of climate change and conflicts should give us grounds to invest in preventing violence against women and girls. It is my firm belief that collective action is the way to go,” she said.  

Honorable Lariba Abudu, in her speech further indicated that, the ministry of gender, children and social protection in a quest to prevent violence against women and girls in the country, had continue to increase awareness through policy programs and interventions, fight the course of the vulnerable especially women and girls who daily experience abuses of various types. 

She said her ministry had finished the first part of the review process of the Domestic Violence Act,732(2007) and its legislative instrument and the National Domestic Violence Policy which will be sent to the next level for redrafting. 

She added that the gender ministry is on cause to ensure the affirmative action bill is passed. “We are working relentlessly on the Affirmative Action Bill to get it passed”, she revealed. 

In his welcoming address, the Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Shani Alhassan Shaibu, expressed worry over the high cases of violence against women and girls in the region.

He said, despite the efforts of the government and gender based organizations, the Northern Region still records high cases of abuses such as accusations of witchcraft in women, harmful widowhood rights, early and forced marriage are still on the rise.

“It is for this reason that over the next 16 days, we all are collectively embarking on this journey to affirm our commitment to stand together and raise our voices against the injustices of violence against women and girls,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the CSOs, Mr. Alhassan Mohammed Awal, the executive director of the Northern Sector Action on Awareness Center(NORSAAC), while commending government for allocating Ghc 8million to the gender ministry, also challenged government to ensure that they move beyond allocating money to the ministry or do proper investment into the sector.  

This year’s theme is “United! Activism to End Violence Against Women and Girls”.

Story By: Alhassan Yakubu |www.diamondfmonline.com |Ghana.

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