…calls for stiffer punishment for violence against women
From Michael Boateng, Odumase
The Brong-Ahafo Regional Programmes Manager for Action Aid Ghana, Christina Amarchey, has called for stiffer punishment for perpetrators of violence against women. She noted that schools have unfortunately become places where girls are harassed, sexually abused and forced to sell their bodies for grades.
Mrs. Amarchey was speaking at a ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of Action Aid in the Brong-Ahafo region at Odumase
According to her, the trend was an indictment on all those in positions of authority and that any teacher found in any kind of relationship with a pupil or student must be made to face the full rigours of the law.
Mrs. Amarchey said Ghana should have zero tolerance for violence against women, since they deserve to live without violence. She promised that Action Aid Ghana would continue to lobby for the full implementation of the Domestic violence Act.
The Programmes Manager said as the country prepares for district level elections, Action Aid was calling on all men and women to provide the needed support for women aspiring to be elected into the district assemblies. “Action Aid Ghana is also calling on government to endeavour to appoint 50% of the 30% it appoints to the district assemblies as women,” she pleaded.
Mrs. Amarchey said Action Aid Ghana will in the years to come look at working more with young people by building their capacities for critical thinking, problem solving, seeing themselves as agents of change and having the confidence and determination to drive their own agenda.
This would be done through an innovative methodology called Children’s Reflection and Empowerment for Social Transformation (CREST).
Mrs. Amarchey noted that Action Aid would also revitalize aspects of its work on health by initially encouraging poor mothers to feed their children with highly nutritious local cereals.
She said by that intervention Action Aid Ghana would be creating the quality of children required to take Ghana into the next century.
Mrs. Amarchey continued that over the next twenty years, Action Aid Ghana would be committed to improving on its performance by building people’s power to work with each other, and to build their confidence, power and courage of their convictions as the only way to end poverty.
She commended the Brong-Ahafo regional Coordinating Council and the various District and Municipal assemblies, as well as traditional leaders for partnering Action Aid Ghana, in improving lives of the people in the region.
The Brong-Ahafo regional office of Action Aid Ghana has since 2000 built 24 school blocks, (including one for the Bechem school for the Deaf), six teachers’ quarters, 17 KVIP toilet facilities, one community library, one gari processing center and one palm oil extraction for women’s groups.
Mrs. Amarchey noted that the education module of the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) as adopted by the government was based on a pogramme called ‘Rural Education Volunteers Scheme (REV)’ designed by Action Aid Ghana and successfully implemented from 2000.
She said the purpose of that programme was to assist rural communities with teachers, whilst at the same time supporting the teachers to improve their results for further studies.
Mrs. Amarchey said 128 REVs, supported by Action Aid between 2001 and 2008 made a huge contribution to improving school performance.
For instance, Asutifi district, which had a pass of 54% in the 2001 BECE when the REV scheme began, improved its performance to 87% in 2004 and sustained it until 2006 when mining activities began and performance started declining.
According to Mrs. Amarchey, this was made possible by the combined impact of improving school supervision, in service training for teachers, and the conduct of mock exams in the Asutifi district.
She added that many REVs who were engaged have been able to enter into teaching and other professions.
The Deputy Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr. Eric Opoku commended Action Aid Ghana for its contribution towards women empowerment and their assistance towards education, particularly that of the girl child.
He assured on behalf of the Regional Coordinating Council to continuously support activities of Action Aid Ghana in the region.
Awards were presented to best performing communities in the region, and pupils who performed creditably in academic competitions organized as part of Action Aid Ghana’s activities in three districts – Tain, Asutifi and Dormaa.