PLEDGE Ghana, a gender and child centred non-governmental organisation, yesterday distributed assorted education materials and skills training equipment to 1,300 children from 10 communities in the Upper West Region to encourage them to stay in school.
Beneficiaries were from five districts as part of joint efforts and commitment by the local NGO and international child rights organisation, UNICEF, towards eliminating worst forms of child labour in Upper West and Ashanti regions.
Around 2,000 school children from the two regions were benefiting from the $120,000.00 project, while another 600 youngsters out of school, would acquire technical and vocational skills and relevant tools to help them start trading.
Presenting the items to beneficiaries in one of the communities at Jonga in the Wa Municipality, Mr Joe Nakoan Nabin, Director of Programmes at PLEDGE Ghana, said the gesture was to stem the drift of child labour from the region to southern Ghana.
It was also to assist parents and guardians to help take care of the needs of their children and ensure that they stayed in school and progressed to higher levels of education.
“We are following up with parents and supporting them with livelihood skills training so that they will be able to support and anchor the support we have provided,” he said.
He added: “For the children in school, we are providing school supplies and this include; uniforms, bag packs, exercise books, sandals, pens and pencils so that they will have no excuse not to be in school”.
Those not in formal education were given auto mechanic equipment, sewing machines and hairdryers among others depending on their area of trade.
Mr Nabin said selected community members were trained and supported to help address some of the challenges in their communities to ensure children were enrolled and stayed in school for learning.
Mrs Veronica Tobge, Assistant Social Development Officer at the Wa Municipal Department of Social Welfare and Community Development, told the Ghana News Agency that the supplies would help keep children in school as most of them dropped out due to lack of basic learning materials.
She said the supplies would help curb school dropout, adding: “Even common pen, some of the parents will tell you they don’t have money to buy that is why the child is staying at home,” she said.
“So with these items being presented to them, it is going to make the children happy and as the children are happy our department is also happy”.
The Department of Social Welfare and Community Development receive several reports daily from communities about children not in school, which was attributed to inability of parents to provide basic school needs of their kids.