WUZDA Ghana and its local partners in collaboration with the global Consortium for the Street Children have commemorated the International Day for the Street Children, which has an objective to draw attention of governments over the world, to the debilitating conditions in which Street – connected children live.
With funding support from Mundo Cooperante, WUZDA Ghana and its CSO partners in child protection threw light on some services street – connected children have been lacking, which make them more vulnerable and highly exposed to harm, as they lack protection by the state, which is part of their fundamental rights.
The International Day for the Street Children, celebrated on the 12th of April each year, even though yet to be recognized formally by the United Nations, has become a global campaign for advocacy on the basic rights of street children, calling on duty bearers to ensure these children have an equal life, as any other child.
This year’s theme “Access to Essential Services”, is one of the four Steps to Equality, based on the UN General Comment on Children in Street Situations, breaking it into four actionable steps, which are “Commit to Equality, Protect Every Child, Provide Access to Services and Create Specialised Solutions.
In 2021, the Consortium for Street Children has enjoined all partner CSOs to concentrate on Step 3, which is “Provide Access to Services”.
Based on that, there have been loud calls on governments through series of advocacy campaigns with the IDSC, to take action so that street – connected children can access the services they need to reach their full potential.
WUZDA Ghana and local CSO partners, with funding from Mundo Cooperante implemented various activities to celebrate street – connected children in this year’s IDSC.
The local partner CSOs of WUZDA Ghana in this year’s celebration of the International Day for the Street Children are YOVI – Ghana, AFORD Foundation, Sung Foundation, YADEC, CEO, FORD – Ghana, Songtaba, Chance for Children, CIWED, IMA, SWIDA – Ghana and NOYED – Ghana.
The government agencies targeted for the response actions are the Departments of Children, Gender and Social Welfare, all under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, as well as the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).
The National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) was mainly targeted for its mandate in educating the public on their Civic Rights and Responsibilities.
The week – long celebration kicked off with a planning meeting with partners to devise strategies on carrying out the various activities including collecting data to better appreciate the street children situation in the Northern Region, Rehearsing with the street children on their rights so they are better placed to present a petition to the Department of Children for an intervention on their situation.
A petition was successfully presented to the Department of Children by ‘leaders’ of the street connected children, which was facilitated by a committee formed from the CSOs involved in the celebration.
There were radio and television shows in Tamale in the Northern Region and Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, to create public awareness about the day and to draw attention of the public to the gravity of the problem of streetism, as well as what is needed to end the menace.
The grand celebration of the day on the 12th of April, brought together all the stakeholders in an interface session to discuss what ways to join hands to eliminate the menace of streetism.
The session also had leaders of the street children share their experience on what they go through day and night, as they make a living on the streets.
Streetism has become one of the easiest routes to children becoming hardened criminals in Ghana, which various CSO analysis and reports have blamed parental neglect and shirking of responsibility for.
This year, the government is being called upon to create a better environment for street – connected children to access services including good education, food, medical care and more, to allow for them to reach their full potential.