The Participatory Development Association (PDA), has launched a research project to track and report on child abuse cases in Ghana, using the Ushahidi online tracking platform.
The move is to help create awareness and get public support for protection of child rights following reports that child maltreatment, exploitation and child marriages is on the increase in Ghana.
The PDA, an organisation made up of various individuals with the aim of supporting processes of empowerment and self-determination in communities has dubbed the research project, “Protect that Child”.
It was launched in Accra on Tuesday, during a day’s knowledge sharing workshop on child protection inspired by this year’s International Children’s Day theme of “Stop violence against children.”
The Ushahidi platform is available on Smart phones and accessible to the general public for viewing survey outputs and other specific reported cases. The public can also report cases on the plaform either through the APP or via https://stopviolenceagainstchildren.ushahidi.io.
The Principal consultant of PDA, Mr Tony Dogbe said statistics indicates that 918, 543 Ghanaian children are working as child labourers in the cocoa sector, while 880,000 of them are said to be engaged in hazardous work.
In addition, 21,000 children are enslaved in the fishing industry along the Lake Volta alone, while other forms of child abuse such as defilement and rape also abound in Ghana.
He said it was against that backdrop that they organised the workshop on the theme, “Transforming research into evidence based policy and practice”.
Mr Dogbe stressed that their motive was to find a new innovative and integrated option in dealing with child exploitation as well as identify ways to use research findings to help reduce the menace of child exploitation and marriage in Ghana.
The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba in a speech read on her behalf pledged government’s support to empower law enforcement agencies to deal adequately with perpetrators of child abuses.
“We are committed to dealing with specific issues of child trafficking, child marriage, and hazardous child labour and child sexual exploitation,” she said.
Speaking on the Minister’s behalf, the Director of Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Gender Ministry, Mr Mawutor Ablo said a child protection baseline study conducted recently has revealed that child maltreatment is assuming worrying dimension, although children in Ghana often live in closely connected families where members of the extended family participate in their care and protection.
He therefore called for a collaborative effort to protect children.