Accra, March 20, GNA- Ghana and the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) have held bilateral talks aimed at promoting population activities, ending child marriage, women’s and adolescent rights and the phenomenon of head porters (kayayei).
A statement signed by Mr Harry Reynolds, Head of Information, Permanent Mission of Ghana to the United Nations, New York and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra has indicated.
The statement said the meeting held on Wednesday March 15, between the Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister, Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba and Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the UNPF, was held at the sidelines of the on-going 61st session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York.
Dr Osotimehin praised Ghana for the advancement made in the area of stopping early and forced marriages, HIV and Adolescents, promotion of gender, women’s rights and adolescent cases and urged the country to pursue the successes to the next level.
In Africa in particular, the UNPF boss indicated that efforts were expected to be concentrated on the Female Gentile Mutilation (FGM), Child Marriage and other practices that affect young girls from pursuing their carriers for better future.
To this end, he said the aim was to ensure that all young people were empowered to do their best in the society.
In this vein, the UNPF boss lauded Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo’s decision to give employment to young people, invest in the young people, and pursue vigorous industrialisation.
Dr Osotimehin also lauded Ghana’s Parliament for its support to family planning issues and indicated that the work done must be maintained and sustained to the next level.
On her part, the Gender Minister said more technical assistance was needed at the grassroots level, rural areas, where there was the urgent need to actualise the policies and programmes drawn for them.
The Minister also mentioned recent cases of suicides, hunting for Albinos in some rural areas as a result of superstition and talked about the need to sensitise the traditional rulers to understand and stop all cultural practices and outmoded traditions that affected the population.
On the issue of kayayei, she hinted that a prototype a shopping trolley, that would make it easy for porters to carry their loads had been designed by a lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and would soon be introduced.
For the long term, the Minister said the markets were going to be modernised and efforts made to stop the nearly 50,000 by engaging them in schools and other vocational institutions or occupying them with gainful employment.
Among other measures, there are efforts to stop them from migrating downwards and to contain those already in Accra by encouraging them to either go to school or learn some technical skills.
Ms Djaba expressed the need for the UNPF to increase its funding for Ghana since the present allocation was inadequate to tackle the cases, including early child marriages, forced marriages and protecting adolescent reproductive rights.
Present were Ghana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Martha Pobee, Ms Patricia Appiagyei, Member of Parliament for Asokwa and Deputy Minister Designate, Mr Kwabena Osei Danquah, Director for Governance/Multilateral and Mr Niyi Ojuolape, Special Assistant to the Executive Director.