As part of efforts to support this year’s celebration of the Homowo festival, the Ningo-Prampram District Assembly (NiPDA) has donated assorted items to the Ningo and Prampram Traditional Councils. Each Traditional Council received packs of bottled water, packs of canned malts, crates of drinks, two gallons of palm nut oil, four bags of palm nuts, two bags of maize, schnapps and an undisclosed amount of money.
Presenting the items, the District Chief Executive, Hon. Jonathan Teye Doku assured the chiefs and elders of the traditional council’s, of the Assembly’s maximum support and wished them well as they embark on this year’s celebration. Homowo, meaning “hooting at hunger” is an annual festival celebrated in the month of August by the Ga people of Ghana. It is to commemorate the day their ancestors had victory over hunger and hooted at it with songs and dancing. During this season, the traditional meal for the festival, Kpokpoi is prepared and served to the gods as thanksgiving for seeing them through the period of severe famine.
Speaking on the activities during the festival, Nene Banahene Tetteh Asiameh of Ningo Traditional Council revealed that this year’s Homowo festival will be celebrated in the various family houses instead of the usual mass gatherings for the performance of festive rites. This he said is as a result of the president’s restrictions on public gatherings due to the surge in the third wave of the covid-19 pandemic. He expressed his gratitude over the donations. In the same vein, Asafoatse Omensu lll of the Prampram Traditional Council received the items and also appreciated the efforts of the Assembly towards the celebration. Other undesirable issues, such as the adverse effects of the activities of sand miners, especially during the time of the festivity and faulty streetlights amongst others were raised as major concerns bothering the community.
The DCE assured the chiefs and elders that proper measures are underway to ensure that things are put in place before and after the festival to ensure peace and tranquility in the district. The Homowo festival is one of the most patronized festivals in Ghana as many travel from far and near to join the celebration and learn more about the traditions.
The Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Connexions, Ghana, in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development under the Ningo-Prampram District Assembly (NiPDA) has organized a sensitization workshop on the Alternative and Kinship Care of vulnerable children for the stakeholders of Child Protection within the district. The rationale for the workshop is to promote the idea of de-institutionalization of child care, give alternative care to orphans and the vulnerable children in the family settings, which in effect would give them a sense of belongingness.
The workshop also sorts to identify OVC in the district and provide them a family as well as establish a reliable database on OVC for reference and decision making. Some of the potential beneficiaries to this programme would be abandoned/neglected, orphaned, trafficked, disabled and marginalized children in our communities. These children would be integrated into existing families for care, protection and general wellbeing, making institutional homes a matter of last resort. The workshop which came off on Monday, 16th, August 2021 at the Prampram Methodist Church, equipped participants with the necessary information and awareness to understand the importance of de-institutionalization of abandoned children to residential homes for absolute care and training. The President of OVC Connexions Ghana, Rev. David Kwodwo Ofosuhene explained that the OVC Connections is not against the operations of Orphanage homes. He acknowledged their contributions in Child Welfare but revealed that it is important to keep children connected in a family centered society as it allows the child to grow up staying connected to a family home which is in the best interest of the child.
According to the Deputy Director of Social Welfare and Community Development Madam Augustina Nartey, “In the year 2006, a committee on the Rights of Children on Ghana’s report recommended that State parties, Inter Alia provide active support for significant increase of the availability of family type of Alternative Care such as the extended family or fostering care in order to make institutional care a matter of last resort. In view of this, a Care Reform Initiative (CRI) was launched in 2007 with the goal of de-emphasizing the over reliance on care systems for vulnerable children based on institutions and move towards a range of integrated family and community based child care services. “This, she said offers the child a closer approximation to normal family living which plays an essential role in the child’s upbringing. She further stated that since the inception of the CRI, over 85 Orphanages have been closed down because most of them had not followed the right procedure for running the homes and about 80% of the children were there because their parents were poor and not because they are orphans. Madam Augustina Nartey further mentioned that as the children are reintegrated into the family care context, identified caretakers are to be supported by the various stakeholders such as the Church, Government agencies, Traditional authorities, NGOs, Community leaders, Opinion leaders etc to cater for them as the child’s welfare becomes the responsibility of the society as a whole.
The Deputy Director for the Assembly, Mr. David M. Tuglo emphasized on the need for extended family members to embrace such children as members of the wider extended family. They should play an influential role in ensuring that the child grows into a well-cultured and responsible individual in the society. He urged the participants to facilitate open dialogues within their communities to empower families and promote child concerns in the community. He advised the Director of the Social Welfare Department to take cognisance of this agenda and ensure expenditures related to this initiative is reflected in their budgeting so the assembly can as well support the success of the project. A planning committee was constituted, consisting of representatives from the various organizations present. They were tasked to plan and execute interventions which will enable the stakeholders and other benevolent members of the society to raise funds and support the initiative. Rev. David K. Ofosuhene urged all participants to give their maximum support and contribute immensely for the success of this laudable initiative.
The Department of Social welfare and Community Development of the Ningo-Prampram District Assembly (NiPDA) supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has organized a one-day Community Sensitization Training for Child Protection Committee members in the district to build their capacity on the Inter-Sectoral Standard Operating Procedures (ISSOP) for Child Protection and Family Welfare. The training was held on the 1st of July, 2021 at the District Assembly Hall. The Government of Ghana supported by UNICEF developed the ISSOP for Child and Family Welfare to serve as a guideline for Child Protection and Family Welfare Case Management. The ISSOP provides a harmonized framework of agreed standards, principles and procedures for all Child Protection and Family Welfare stakeholders to understand each other’s role and responsibility.
According to the District Director of Social Welfare and Community Development, Madam Augustina Nartey, UNICEF is currently supporting the department to undertake various activities in the area of Child Protection and one of them is this training as every Child Protection Institution and organization have their own Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which are uncoordinated with respect to Child Protection Services. The ISSOP is to help the stakeholders to have a clear and common understanding of details regarding Child Protection and Family Welfare to better co-ordinate their work together, hence, the essence of the training. The training focused on the roles of key duty bearers of ISSOP and the legal framework for Child Protection in Ghana, taking into consideration the availability of Institutional arrangements. This is to equip the stakeholders with the appropriate forms, tools and guidelines to provide efficient and effective services to children in need of care and protection. The various stakeholders which include the Ghana Education Services (GES), Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU), Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Ghana Health Service (GHS), Civil Society Organizations, the Judiciary and two selected queen mothers from the two traditional areas in the district (Ningo and Prampram) were the second group to be trained as the first group of 25 participants were trained in December 2020.
The participants were taken through the Categories of Child Protection and Family Welfare cases, Case management, the Role of Case Managers with some Guiding Principles and important tips amongst other relevant information to assist them in handling cases with respect to Child Protection and a copy of the referral form of the Ghana ISSOP in Child Protection was provided for each of the participants to acquaint themselves with what it entails.
A staff of Community Development unit demonstrated the use of some tool kits provided by UNICEF to support their course in addressing the plight of children in vulnerable situations. The welfare of the child is a collective responsibility and as child abuse is relevant in all settings, the stakeholders were embolden to adopt interventions that are in the best interest of the child at any point in time. Participants were awarded certificates at the end of the training.