The Girls Advocacy Alliance, in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and other gender advocacy organisations, has organised training programme for journalists on child marriage and gender-based violence, at Dodowa in the Greater Accra Region.
The programme formed part of activities organised towards the celebration of this year’s international day of the child, a UN-backed celebration.
The participants were taken through topics such as gender inequality, girl-child abuse and marginalisation.
Several speakers from civil society groups like Plan International Ghana (PI-G), Hope For Future Generations (HFFG) and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, urged journalists to pay more attention to the issues affecting children, especially girls, in society.
Mr A.B. Kafui Kanyi of the Ghana News Agency (GNA) urged journalists to move away from “big man journalism”, a practice where journalists focus on giving coverage to government officials and corporate organisations, to the detriment of the common people on the street.
He urged journalists to cultivate the spirit of investigative journalism, saying that “investigative journalism is nothing special to be feared. It’s all about delving into the issue and asking the right questions”.
“We as journalists cannot be in a community and not be concerned with the issues affecting the members of the community,” he concluded.
The Deputy Director for Foundation for Grassroots Initiatives, Africa, Hawa Nibi Amenga-Etego, said in an interview that, “There can be no meaningful development without the involvement of women and girls. It is important to address the issue of gender equality.”
She urged the media to highlight issues of gender in/equality by educating and promoting issues of gender in/equality.
She also advised the media to take another look at the content of their programmes, with a greater eye for sensitising and educating the public.
Barima Akwasi Amankwaah urged the media to “refocus their journalism work to have a deliberate developmental agenda”. He commended the various NGOs and CSOs who have taken up the battle of ensuring greater gender equality while urging other such organisations to join the fight to ensure the empowerment of women and girls in the country.
Mrs Anna Nabere, Project Manager at the Girls Advocacy Alliance, in a statement, made certain recommendations to the GES to “set up a national committee to thoroughly investigate the widespread concern of sexual abuse of girls in schools and make more holistic recommendations on how they can be stopped once and for all, or at least reduced.
The supervisory roles of educational authorities in schools should also be strengthened so that such concerns can be dealt with rapidly and the perpetrators brought to book.
The guidance and counselling units in various schools should be equipped with well-qualified and trusted personnel to adequately educate girls on how they can avoid falling prey in such circumstances.
The security agencies and judiciary should step up their efforts in helping to fight this canker by proactively dealing with such cases to serve as a deterrent to those who engage in it.
Clear reporting channels outside the local school structure should be established to allow for independent investigation into some of these allegations when they come up, to ensure justice.