International Needs Ghana (INGH) has begun the implementation of a three year capacity building and advocacy project titled “Promoting Enhanced Safe and Protective Environment for Children” (PESPEC) funded by the European Union. The overall objective of the project is to promote an enhanced, safe and protective environment for children that will prevent and respond to abuse and exploitation at the community level. Twenty-one communities within the Gomoa East and Gomoa West Districts and the Effutu Municipal Assembly in the Central Region of Ghana would benefit from the project intervention.
When the project comes to term in 2016, it is envisaged that participating communities would each have a community child protection committee established. These committees would be trained to facilitate the provision of accessible preventive and responsive child protection services in their respective communities. The committees will also address the problem of child abuse and exploitation in their communities and leverage resources from institutions with child protection mandate in their various districts.
The project will also build the capacities of formal child protection institutions at the district level such as the District Assemblies, Department of Social Welfare, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (Police Service) and the Ghana Education Service to enable them partner with community level child protection committees/structures to prevent and respond to child abuse and exploitation. The capacities of key structures within the district assemblies such as the social services sub-committees and those on women and children will also be enhanced to empower them to better advocate for more resources to support the work of the child protection institutions.
The project would also ensure an enhanced safer and protective environment for children through research and participatory advocacy initiatives. The media will be engaged to create awareness on the situation of child abuse and exploitation within the participating communities. The capacities of children and youth groups will be built through training on the various provisions and instruments regarding their rights. They will be empowered with information on the situation of child abuse and exploitation in their communities as well as skills in participatory advocacy and how to engage policy makers and the media. This will help them influence policies to create safer and protective environment in their communities.