Students of Walewale Senior High Technical School learn about how they can contribute to end gender-based violence
One of many events planned by the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MoWAC) and partners, including UNIC Accra, to mark this year’s 16 Days of activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is a youth symposium held at the Walewale Senior High Technical School. The school is located in the West Mamprusi District of the Northern region of Ghana, some 106km north of Tamale.
The symposium was on the theme “Women’s right and socio-economic development in the home and at the community”. It was to educate students on the socio-economic rights of women and to increase awareness on the mechanisms for addressing GBV. About 190 students and 6 teachers were in attendance.
Speaking on the topic, United Nations and the activism against GBV, the National Information Officer of UNIC Accra, Ms Cynthia Prah provided an overview of the history of the 16 Days of activism against GBV and the role of the United Nations in promoting this cause. She said, out of every 10 women, 7 of them experience physical or sexual abuse from men in their lifetime. Ms Prah urged students to visit the UNiTE to end violence against women campaign website to learn more about global initiatives to end violence against women. She also encouraged the students to contribute to the cause by volunteering their time to serve their communities, engaging and sharing information on GBV with their peers and organizing events in their communities.
There were also presentations from representatives of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and Action Aid Ghana.
A short documentary on violence against women was shown for the students to see its practical effect on women, children and the community. Students groaned and sighed as they watched women being inflicted with pain as a result of domestic dispute.
At the end of it all, the students wanted to know if they can report such cases to the Walewale police. Gbena Grace asked if "the Walewale Police station has an office to deal with cases of domestic violence". Mohammed Abbas was pleased to learn about the ways students can be "agents of prevention" of domestic violence. For Alhassan Asana, the communities in which they come from need to be sensitized, hence her question was "how can one educate villagers about issues of Gender Based Violence?" Ibn Fahad feels that "Despite the fact that Ghana is a democratic country, some people still enjoy diplomatic privileges". He therefore wanted "to know the position of such people when they violated the rights of a woman". He was pleased to learn that when it comes to violence against any one, there is no official immunity.
Some students also shared their views on what could be done to end GBV:
"Gender-based violence is an issue that is affecting the lives of many people. Out of 100 about 70 are affected and it is important to rally against it. To me, what I suggest is this, the UN or the Organizations should organize clubs in the villages and around the cities so that they (the clubs) would go round to educate people about this particular problem which is affecting the lives of people in the World"
"In fact, violence against women in our various villages and towns is now becoming very rampant. As a student, what I suggest is that we should organize clubs within the villages and our various institutions so that we would go round to talk to those who are violating the rights of women. This would ensure that violence against women will stop."
"What I think about gender-based violence is that events like this should be continuously organized in order to educate and spread the news about it. This is because, nowadays, in most of our villages, women are being maltreated by their husbands in the home. So, I simply think these programmes should be organized in order to advice men to take very good care of their wives to avoid violence in homes."
"To my understanding, gender-based violence is not good for us. It is not something that should be practiced in our communities especially in the Northern Sector of Ghana where it is most common. So what I suggest is that, the Government and other NGOs should join hands to organize clubs at our various schools which would be supervised by teachers. I think if students are educated, we can also educate people in our various communities especially in the rural areas who might not be aware of this practice. I am very happy that the UN is working hard towards this and I hope that one day, this issue would be solved."
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- Students of Walewale Senior High Technical School learn about how they can contribute to end gender-based violence