Gomoa Akotsi, a community in the Gomoa East District of the Central Region of Ghana has been adjudged the most safe and child friendly community for 2016. Akotsi won the award because it has an active Community Child Protection Committee, taken steps to address issues of child protection violation and established bye-laws to punish people who violate the laws among other things. Gomoa Otsew which won the award in 2015 and Osubonpanyin were second and third respectively.
The award scheme is a component of International Needs Ghana’s 3-year European Union funded project, aimed at promoting a safe and protective environment for children being implemented in 21 communities of the Gomoa East, Gomoa West and Effutu Municipality.
For finishing tops Gomoa Akotsi received a volley ball court with two sets of jerseys and six balls, Gomoa Otsew received a table tennis board with five sets of jerseys and balls while Osubonpanyin received four footballs with whistles.
At the awards ceremony for the winning communities, the Executive Director of International Needs Ghana, Edmond Vanderpuye, commended all community actors for the urgent steps taken to ensure their various communities are safe for children. A representative from the Department of Children, Alexander Sefa Boadu urged political parties to desist from recruiting children into their political campaign activities. He used the occasion which also fell on National Children’s day to advocate the safety and protection of children. Emelia Allan, a Child Protection Officer of UNICEF, encouraged community members to use all tools available to them to protect their children from abuse. She also commended the communities for their interest in ensuring safer environments for children.
The District Chief Executive for Gomoa East Mr. Moses Jehu-Appiah, applauded International Needs Ghana for her efforts in educating and investing so much resources to guarantee the welfare of children. He encouraged parents and all community members to play their roles well and take up the challenge of ensuring a safe environment for children.
There were cultural displays, poetry recitals on child protection and a sketch on the importance of hygiene by the children of the participating communities.