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Clergy calls for partnership to protect African children

By
Samira Larbie/Julius K. Satsi, GNA

Accra, June 16, GNA –
Very Reverend Professor Joseph Manasseh Yarquah Edusa-Eyison, the Vice
Principal of the Methodist University College, Ghana has called on Churches to
join forces with other stakeholders to liberate the African Child from poverty.

Rev Prof Edusa-Eyison
said church leaders must engage members of their congregation to protect the
right of children in a move to help children in African and Ghana to exploit
their potentials.

He was speaking on the
topic: “Accelerating Protection, Empowerment and Equal Opportunities for
Children in Ghana – The Role of the Church,” at a symposium organised by
Compassion International Ghana in Accra. 

The symposium formed
part of Compassion International Ghana’s celebration of the International Day
of the African Child, which falls on Friday, June 16 to raise awareness of the
continuing need for improvement of education provided to African children.

He said certain
specific areas of churches’ role in ensuring protection, empowerment and equal
opportunities for children in Africa included provision of schools in needy
places to bridge the gap of educational inequalities.

Very Rev Prof
Edusa-Eyison noted that the challenges confronting the African and Ghanaian
child included poverty of families and parents, unequal educational
opportunities, child trafficking, child labour and neglect due to over engaged
parents at work places.

He indicated that a
research conducted revealed that, church leaders must engage their communities
in education and problem solving, adding that it also prompted that, “despite
expressed desire for collaboration, churches and social service organisations
rarely coordinated in the prevention efforts of child abuse”.

Rev Prof Edusa-Eyison
said: “Perhaps the greatest amount of challenge to the protection of the
African Child and his/her welfare is the lack of political will to undertake
clear projects and programmes to facilitate child rights and welfare.

“The case of
children’s rights and welfare appear to be spearheaded by civil society
organisations, the church and other private child rights activists across the
continent,” he added.

According to him in
order to achieve the desired for the African child’s right and welfare; there
was the need for a strong partnership and collaboration among the various
stakeholders, which included traditional rulers, churches and civil society
organisations.     

He indicated that the
church had tried over the years to create safe space and offer priority
attention to children as Jesus exemplified in the scriptures.

“Certain specific
areas of churches’ role in ensuring protection, empowerment and equal
opportunities for children in Ghana include provision of schools in needy
places to bridge the gap of unequal educational opportunities”.

Others included
churches’ intervention in education of disadvantaged children by offering
scholarships, orphanage homes, and street children programmes, he stated.

He said churches’
educational programmes on parental responsibilities and societal responsibility
to children had helped in securing the protection, empowerment, and welfare of
the African Child.

Rev Prof Edusa-Eyison
indicated that the African Union programme for the development of the continent
by 2063 has pushed regional theological associations like the West African
Association of Theological Institutions to discuss and address the strong role
the Church should play to secure moral, ethical as well as corruption free
development of the continent.

Such association, he
said, could equally advocate the addressing of the challenging cases of child
abuse, child trafficking and labour in Africa with the aim of their total
eradication or reduction to the barest minimum.

The Day of the African
Child is celebrated on June 16 every year since 1991, when the Organisation of
African Unity first initiated it. It sought to honour those who participated in
the Soweto Uprising in June 16, 1976.

In Soweto, South
Africa, on the said day, about 10,000 black school children marched in a column
more than half a mile long, protesting the poor quality of their education and
demanded to be taught in their own language.

Hundreds of them were
shot and more than a hundred people were killed in the protest of the following
two weeks, with more than thousands being injured. 

GNA

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