Human beings are supposed to be smarter and wiser than animals, because they are created in the image and likeness of God. But when the reverse appears to be true, it becomes worrisome and defeats the purpose of creation.
For instance, if animals take care of their young ones or offspring, why would humans created in the image and likeness of God, neglect or refuse to take care of their children?
It is unfortunate, but that is the current situation in the Savelugu-Nanton Municipality in the Northern Region of Ghana, where a research by local charity organisation Savana Signatures (SavSign) –reveals that biological parents are the main perpetrators of child right abuses and violations.
Other lead perpetrators of child rights abuse and violations, according to the report of the research made available to Savannahnews, included teachers, stepmothers and aunties of children.
Forms of child abuses cited by the report included denying children formal education, forcing children to marry early or against their will, teachers impregnating female pupils, subjecting children to corporal punishment, child neglect and child trafficking among others. “These constituted the most dangerous and damaging forms of child abuses”, Eric Kavaarpuo, lead researcher said this recently when he presented the research report at a validation workshop in Savelugu.
SavSign initiated the Integration of ICTs in Education Project I (IIEP I) in 2011 with the aim of enhancing school administration and teaching and learning in basic schools. This entailed building the capacity of school administrators and teachers to effectively use ICTs to improve the quality of learning outcomes.
In a second phase of the project, IIEP II –a new objective was introduced with the focus of empowering basic school children within the Savelugu-Nanton Municipality to assert their right to basic services and enjoy protection from all forms of abuse.
This child rights survey commissioned by SavSign aimed to collect information on the state of child rights in the Savelugu-Nanton Municipality as basis for designing appropriate interventions. The survey targeted Upper Primary School and Junior High School children aged between 10-15 years.
According to Mr. Kavaarpuo, the survey sampled 366 children from a population of 3,731. “The sampling procedure entailed a random sample of 36 children per school for one-on-one interviews whilst another set of children participated in Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) of separate boys and girls”, h explained.
Teachers and parents, he noted, were targeted with semi-structured questionnaire and FGDs respectively. “Identified state institutions including the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Ghana Police Service were also contacted with semi-structured questionnaire”, he added.
Mr. Kavaarpuo however indicated that the overall agenda of pursuing child rights issues and violations at the district level must logically start with a stakeholder mapping. He urged traditional authorities, the Municipal Assembly, the Ghana Education Service, Department of Social Welfare, CHRAJ, NCCE and NGOs to lead the charge against child rights abuse and violations.
Meanwhile, participants at the workshop also appealed to government and NGOs to sensitise parents, traditional authorities, teachers and children in basic and second cycle schools on the basic rights of children.
They further called for the formation of community vigilante groups to ensure children in the municipality sleep early at night. This is because sleeping late at night contributes a child abuse and poor performance in school.