In Ghana, the maltreatment against children is well documented. While parents have the ultimate responsibility for the upbringing of children under their care, it is recognised that for child protection to become a reality, both formal and informal institution needs to come on board including children themselves who need to be abreast with knowledge on how to protect their own rights. Homeland Ghana engaged the Siniensi Junior High School in the training of a child right club on child protection intended to promote the well-being of children in the school.

The exercise started by discussing with the students their knowledge on the definition of a child. This elicited beautiful responses from the students setting the stage for the training. Using the definition of a child from the 1992 constitution and the Children’s Act, participants were made to understand that a child is a person below the age of eighteen years.

The training took the club members through the definition of child rights and it was explained that the human rights of children are what is referred to as child rights. And as children, (a vulnerable human category) they need special protection to enjoy a meaningful life in the societies they live. The right to survival, the right to participation, the right to development and the right to protection were cited as the categories of rights. To make it clearer, the “children’s rights and responsibilities” card was used to illustrate to the club some of the basic rights of children as well as the responsibilities that goes with those rights.

To create better an understanding of child abuse, it was highlighted that the contravention on the right(s) of a child which causes or has the potential to cause physical or mental harm to the child is an abuse. To buttress on this, the forms of child abuse (physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and cultural practices defined as abuse) were discussed extensively citing examples of indicators of abuses under the various categories. child exploitation was also discussed, explaining what it meant and the various ways children can be exploited. These activities were achieved using flash cards from the child and family welfare facilitation toolkit. participants were engaged in another practical activity known as the ‘shark island’. This module creates the opportunity for children to identify the dangerous people around them who can easily abuse their rights. It also enables children to ensure their personal security by identifying safe and unsafe places within their communities.

The training was concluded by directing the pupil the appropriate quarter to report cases of abuse without shielding perpetrators. It also encouraged the club members to share the knowledge they have acquired from the training with their peers.

Sulemana Shaibu