SUSTAIN EFFORTS TO RID STREET OF BEGGARS

In spite of the legal and regulatory framework that prohibits begging, especially the use of children by parents to solicit for money from the public, our streets are still littered with child beggars.

The 1992 Constitution of Ghana and the Children Act have made adequate provisions for child protection, care and maintenance so that they can grow well and  acquire education, skills and the right attitude to be useful citizens to the society.

It is, therefore, disheartening to see children on the streets of major towns begging for alms under the direction of their parents. Some of the children and their parents are from neighbouring countries.

Their presence on the streets is eyesore and they sometimes beg with aggression which creates inconvenience to pedestrians and motorists.

Furthermore, their presences on our streets impede traffic. Worse still the streets do not offer the appropriate environment for child development but rather expose them to bad, very bad habits.

It is against this backdrop that Ghanaian Times welcomes the initiative by the Accra and Tamale Metropolitan Assemblies to rid the streets of beggars, especially child beggars. We encourage the Department of Social Welfare to open up discussions with the Malian and Nigerien authorities, whose nationals are begging on our streets, to find amicable and lasting solutions to their needs.

These children when properly taken care of and integrated into society would become assets not only to Ghana but to the sub-region in general.

We, therefore, urge the Malian and Nigerien authorities in Ghana to respond appropriately and offer support in either finding income-generating jobs for them or repatriate them to their countries to resettle and lead a better life.

We encourage the assemblies to sustain the efforts at ridding the streets of child beggars and find sustainable solution to the problem and not make it a nine day wonder.

Street begging, and for that matter child begging is a phenomenon that is common across the country. This is because of several factors, including irresponsible parenting and breakdown of the social support system as well as ineffectiveness of the available safety nets.

The Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies 2017-2024 dubbed “An Agenda for Jobs: Creating Prosperity and Equal Opportunity for All, states under Child and Family Welfare states that “to reduce the policy gaps in child and family welfare, child protection interventions will be mainstreamed in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies  Development plans and implemented under the Child and Family Welfare and Justice for Children Policies.”

We, wish to remind the assemblies to be alive to this provision in the medium- term development plan and take urgent steps to rid the streets of beggars and plan for a better future for these unfortunate ones who have fallen through the cracks.

The Sustainable Development Goals aims to eradicate all forms of poverty by the year 2030 and not leave anyone behind, therefore, we must all work hard to ensure that no one is left behind by 2030.

The consequences will be too much to bear for us if we fail to take measures now to provide for the street children. We appreciate the roles of Non- governmental Organisations in child care and maintenance, and appeal to them not to rest on their oars in their complementary role in nation building.

 

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