Has the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection failed in its role? This is a question we both should answer.
Due to the renewed interest in protecting children’s rights in the past two decades, the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (now the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, herein referred to as MOGCSP) was established in 2001 to take the lead in coordinating gender and child sensory development issues through the formulation and implementation of child-friendly policies and increased child participation.
The MOGCSP exists to contribute to the development of the nation by achieving gender equality and equity, facilitating the enforcement of the rights of children, promote the integration and protection of the vulnerable, excluded, and persons with disabilities in the development process through appropriate policies and strategies with adequate resources. We are committed to working with integrity, excellence, and social justice.
For some reason, the MOGCSP has failed in its role of protecting the vulnerable in society. Let us examine carefully what the ministry stands for and its role or impact in Ghana over the years of its existence.
Vision of MOGCSP
The vision of the MOGCSP is to have “A harmonious society in which the survival and development of the sexes, children, the vulnerable, and persons with disability are guaranteed.”
It’s rather unfortunate that this vision has still not been realized. In modern-day Ghana, the survival of the aforementioned people is not guaranteed.
A look at the core values of the ministry depicts that a lot more need to be done. This is because integrity, excellence, and social justice are not seen fully in the execution of ministry’s activities. For the ministry to be reliable, information must be made available with many sensitizations on new developments in the sector. Timely reporting by the Ministry on child welfare status in Ghana and providing accurate statics as well as successes chalked would have been excellent.
Mandates of MOGCSP
As we all know, these core mandates haven’t materialized as the number of children on the street keeps teeming. The Ministry seems only to wait for its partners to carry out any project. However, most of the Ministry’s mandate could be done through sensitization on its social media platforms. Imagine if the Gender Minister/Ministry continuously sensitizes Ghanaians on the rights of the Ghanaian child for about a year…This would do a lot of good for children’s welfare. But on the social media platforms of the Ministry are workshops and conferences in Porsche areas, while the beneficiaries of those conferences and workshops are left on the streets. What an irony!
Departments under MOGCSP
Looking at the various departments, even under the Ministry, should tell how the ministry has failed in its roles. The Ministry has four departments: The Department of Social Welfare, the Department of Children, the Department of Gender, and the School of social work.
Let’s examine one of these departments, considering the year of establishment, mission, vision, objectives, and impact over the years.
- The Department of Gender
The Department of Gender has undergone several transformations over the years. In 1975, the government, by NRC Decree 322 established the National Council for Women and Development, NCWD. The government was convinced that the NCWD was necessary for women to enjoy equal economic, social, political, and cultural rights with men. The Council was formally inaugurated on the 21st of April 1975 by the then Head of State and Chairman of the National Redemption Council, the late General I.K Acheampong. The National Women’s Machinery, during its existence as the NCWD, promoted gender equality and maintained a leadership role in the fight for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The NCWD became the Department of Women following the creation of the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs. In 2013, the Department of Gender was created by an Executive Instrument (E.I.), as a successor to the Department of Women. The Department of Gender (DoG) implements policies to promote gender mainstreaming across all sectors.
“Empowered women in a developed Ghana”
Department of Gender exists to implement programmes and projects in relation to women’s rights and empowerment through advocacy, research and education by networking and collaborating with partners and stakeholders; working with a well-resourced and cherished team to offer client focused services.
The functions of the Department are to:
- Implement policies, programmes, projects and plans of the sector Ministry;
- Monitor and evaluate both the processes and impact of plans and programmes;
- Collaborate and network with MDAs, NGOs and CBOs to improve and enhance the socio-economic status and circumstances of women;
- Undertake research towards improving the well-being of women;
- Provide referral and on the spot counseling services;
- Comply with Ghana’s international obligations and ensure their integration into the development process; and
- Collect and compile documentation that contributes to the body of knowledge on gender and development
The objectives of the Department are to:
- Coordinate and implement programmes and activities that seek to promote the welfare of women;
- Ensure women’s promotion in all sectors of national development;
- Collaborate with stakeholders and development partners to integrate gender issues into national development;
- Implement government policies and plans that relate to women;
- Comply with Ghana International’s obligation relating to women; and
- Design and research issues of women to enhance knowledge and incorporate it into national development
Secretariats Under MOGCSP
The MOGCSP has seven secretariats mandated to provide holistic welfare benefits to Ghana’s citizens. They include the Human Trafficking Secretariat, Domestic Violence Secretariat, Livelihood Empowerment Program Against Poverty, Non-Profit Secretariat, National Council for Persons with a Disability, and Ghana National Household Registry Secretariat. Let us examine one of these secretariats thoroughly.
The secretariat is managed by a thirteen (13) member management Board established by the Human Trafficking (HT) Act, 2005 (Act 694). The overall goal of the Human Trafficking Secretariat (HTS) is to facilitate the prevention and combating of Trafficking cases in Ghana. It is also to sensitize all persons to human trafficking and create a peaceful environment to accelerate national development. Mandate The Act establishing the secretariat is the Human Trafficking Act, 2005 Act 694, which is an Act for the prevention, reduction, and punishment of human trafficking and the rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficked persons and its related matters.
The functions of the Secretariat include the following:
- Ensures input of programs into the national plan of action against human trafficking and monitor and report on the progress of the plan of action against human trafficking
- Conducts research and studies on Human Trafficking cases.
- Sets standards of practice, which inform intra-agency and inter-agency protocol
- Establish indicators to track the implementation of the act
- Set up an effective monitoring and evaluation system and implement it
- Provide assistance in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases
- Propose and promote strategies to prevent and combat the trafficking of persons
- Ensures the rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficked persons into the society
- Liaise with government agencies and organizations to promote the training of stakeholders and the rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of trafficking
- Ensure the availability of appropriate administrative and financial management systems and support services for the effective and efficient running of the Secretariat
- Coordinate mass sensitization activities and advocacy programs on Human Trafficking
- Establish a circular feedback system for problems with a response and complaints mechanism for victims.
The overall objectives of the secretariat are as follows,
- To reduce the incidence of HT(Human Trafficking) in Ghana
- To research to support the National Plan Action for the HT secretariat
- To strengthen the capacity of HT legislation and policy in Ghana to better deal with HT issues
- To increase general awareness on HT and ensure that the public is effectively sensitized to take action against it
- To provide sustained specialized training to all key HT stakeholders on HT issues as they relate to their work
- To ensure the effective enforcement of HT laws in Ghana to include prevention, punishment of offenders and the rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration of victims
- To ensure the availability of adequate resources for the rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration of victims of HT
- To ensure that appropriate systems are in place to prevent HT by targeting at-risk groups and addressing the supply and demand sides of the problem and the role of intermediaries.
- To ensure inter-agency collaboration on n a national and international level
- To conduct internal and external monitoring, review, and evaluate activities in the action plan of the secretariat.
- To promote community involvement/participation in addressing issues of HT.
- To foster effective partnership/coordination among stakeholders to address HT issues
- DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SECRETARIAT (DV)
The Domestic Violence Secretariat was established by Domestic Violence Act, 2007 Act 732. The Secretariat is managed by a thirteen (13) member Management Board established by the Domestic Violence Act. The overall goal of the Domestic Violence Secretariat (DVS) is to facilitate the elimination of domestic violence from Ghanaian Society, create family cohesion and provide a peaceful environment for national development.
The mandate of the Domestic Violence Secretariat is to protect against domestic violence, particularly for women and children.
A domestic violence-free society and strong family cohesion will contribute effectively towards the National development process in Ghana by 2017.
Facilitate effective coordination and efficient response actions to combat domestic violence and protect the fundamental human rights of women and children in Ghana through a broad-based (multi-sectoral) approach.
The DV Secretariat is guided by the following values:
- Client services
- Gender sensitive
- Environmentally conscious
- Creativity and
The core activities/Functions of the Secretariat include the following:
- Set standards of practice, which inform intra-agency and interagency protocols;
- Lead coordination effort at three levels: policy institutions level; at the national/regional/district among service providers; and community level response;
- Organize inter-agency meetings for referrals;
- Act as clearing house for data collection analysis and storage;
- Coordinate a circular feedback system from Ministries, Departments and Agencies(MDAs)and other actors “to catch problems in response”
- Act as the central depository for information on domestic violence, violence against cases and sexual and gender-based violence
- Coordinate mass sensitization activities
- Coordinate research and studies on domestic violence
- Undertake pilot projects for lessons to be learnt to promote good practices
- Set up complaints mechanisms for survivors and the general public
- Source and reporting on funds to operationalize the implementation plan
- Establish indicators to track the implementation of the act
- Set up an effective monitoring and evaluation system and implement it.
- Lead/coordinate media standards for reporting and capacity building
- Coordinate curriculum development for agencies and capacity building initiatives including:
- coordinating the tools and materials available, reviewing, updating and adopting, monitoring performance and effectiveness of programs.
- Promote networking among key stakeholders by the creation of a nationwide network of assistance services
- Facilitate the setting up of state run shelters and develop standards for the operation of private shelters;
- Establishment of a circular feedback system for problems with a response and complaints mechanism for victims
The overall objectives of the secretariat are as follows,
- To reduce the incidence of DV(Domestic Violence) in Ghana
- to ensure victims/survivors safety and enhance their empowerment
- to ensure protection of victims/survivors of the DV
- to improve the quality of service provision for victims/survivors and enhance their access to it
- to ensure perpetrator accountability through formal and informal redress systems
- to ensure systems responsiveness and accountability through the use of protocols,
- guidelines and regulations
- to promote community involvement/participation in addressing issues of DV
- to foster effective partnership/coordination among stakeholders to address DV
The image of the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, under which OVC matters, are not portrayed as it should be.
The following solutions are strongly recommended for the Ministry of Ghana to fulfill its vision, mission, and objectives and remain relevant.
- Develop an active online presence. The Ministry should have vibrant social media pages with experienced social media managers managing these pages. Updates on websites and other social media pages should be timely. Information on some vital facilities like recreational centers, registered orphanages, accredited special schools etc., should be made available on these social media pages. It should not only be about workshops and updates about funded projects/workshops. Doing all these and more will set the Ministry in the limelight for exploits.
- Embark on a thorough sensitization on the basics of child rights, child protection, domestic violence, streetism, good parenting skills, etc. Many Ghanaians lack knowledge of fundamental child rights, child protection, and women’s protection. Continually sensitizing these rights will help protect the vulnerable in our societies.
- Internally generated funds with a sense of accountability. Over the years, the ministry has blamed its incapacitation for lacking funding from the government, etc. However, the ministry with the help of its citizens could raise a national fund to support the vulnerable in society. Many Ghanaians in the diaspora and even at home are willing to contribute to such good causes if only there will be accountability on what the monies are used for. For the Ministry of Gender to do well, it cannot rely on foreign aid from UNICEF, USAID, etc. It’s about time the leadership set up an account to raise funds internally rather than depend on foreign aid all the time.
- Make every piece of information available for public consumption. The MOGCSP is one of the many-breasted ministries in Ghana since it touches on the most sensitive aspects of the lives of the vulnerable in society. However, certain vital information like the list of registered orphanages, those earmarked for closure, those closed, the status of domestic violence in society, etc., are not available on their website or any of their social media pages. Information on new developments in the sector is not released to make the general public informed. This makes it difficult for people to trust the ministry.
- Develop active phone lines. This will aid in timely reporting and response to complaints from those in danger and those who want to help the Ministry.
- Strong monitoring procedures: To run efficiently, the ministry must have a robust monitoring and reporting structure
These solutions shall be updated with time. Kindly add your solutions in the comment section.
The MOGCSP has thrived in enacting policies, but the implementation of these policies is what it has failed at. Dear Minister, arise for the many lives of vulnerable people who depend on you are at stake.