The West and Central Africa Regional Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Marrie Pierre Poirier has urged Ghana to do more to ensure the retention of girls in school.
She applauded the country for its numerous efforts to increase school enrolment but said, a key thing missing is how to keep the children, particularly girls, in the classroom to enable them to learn.
UNICEF is collaborating with the Ghanaian government to address some of the impediments which include sanitation, ambience and with a host of innovative ideas.
“If you don’t have sanitation facilities in the school particularly for the girls, at specific moments of the months, that is very embarrassing? Maybe, they would like to go home and get comfortable but then they don’t come back,” she said.
Speaking at an event at the Gate of the Black Stars to commemorate the 30thanniversary of the Convention on the Right of the Child, Madam Poirier explained that designating places of convenience separately for boys and girls “will go a long way to make sure that the kids stay there.”
She also noted that “the ambience in the school, as well as the safety of the children in the school, is a key factor which could work for or against the retention of children in school.
These challenges she believes Ghana can deal with by drawing on its membership of the Safe Code Initiative.
The United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child (UNCRC) is a legally-binding international agreement setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of every child, regardless of their race, religion or abilities.
Ghana was key in drafting the convention which was adopted by the UN assembly in 1989. It came into force on September 2, 1990.
Since then over 120 countries have ratified the convention for their specific needs. Ghana was the first country in the world to ratify the convention.
There are 54 articles summing up the right of the Child in the UNCRC. These cover the right to life and survival, protection from abuse, violence, right to freedom of expression, education, access to healthcare and parental care and love.
On this score, Minister for Gender and Social Protection Cynthia Morrison called for a new era towards the protection of children’s right as a country.
“As we light up the Gate, we call on all of you in Ghana to renew your commitment towards the protection of the rights of the beautiful children God has given us.
“We call for a new era for the protection of Children, an era of adequate resources for children, protection issues and an era for responsible parenthood, an era for full implementation of the law protecting our children,” she said.
November 20, is commemorated every year by the UN as World Children’s Day. The theme for the 2019 celebration in Ghana was ‘advocating for every child, every right’.
Also there to support the course of children were singers Cina Soul and Wiyala as well as Joy News’ Sports journalist Gary Al Smith.