The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is advocating an increase in budget allocation to the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), to ensure the ministry delivered on its mandate.
According to UNICEF, the MoGCSP was one of the least funded social sector government organisations receiving less than 0.6 per cent of the total government expenditure last year, indicating a decreasing prioritisation of social and child protection financing against the increasing levels of poverty and inequality in Ghana.
Deputy Representative, UNICEF Ghana, Mr Fiachra McAsey, who was speaking at the 2022 summit of the MoGCSP, in Accra yesterday said it was urgent to join efforts to ensure sustainable financing for social and child protection “in these critical times.”
The summit was held on the theme “Strengthening Resource Mobilisation for Effective Social Service Delivery.”
The COVID-19 and the Sahel crisis in neighbouring countries, Mr McAsey, suggested a strong need to invest in social protection to mitigate and respond to “future shocks” and ensure a strong and resilient child protection system.
He assured of his outfit’s recognition of the leadership of the MoGCSP in working with the Ministry of Finance to develop a multiyear sustainable financing plan for social protection and to ensure budgets allocated to the sector ministry, were released in full and on time.
According to Mr McAsey, a partnership for children should involve all relevant stakeholders, including Civil Society and NGOs, the private sector, development partners, academic partners and young people.
He stated that such an inclusive and participatory partnership would create momentum and positive changes in ensuring social accountability, improving the public finance management system and strengthening the sustainability of social service delivery.
Care taker Minister of Gender Children and Social Protection, Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah in a speech read on her behalf said the country’s economic situation had compelled the government to take stringent measures, limiting resources available to the MoGCSP.
Despite the challenges, she indicated that the ministry had worked tirelessly to roll out critical activities aimed at strengthening the policy and legal environment for gender equality, promoting and protecting the welfare of children, women, the aged and Persons Living With Disabilities (PWDs), among other vulnerable groups.
She revealed that this year, the Ghana School Feeding Programme, under the MoGCSP has fed about 3,448,065 pupils in 10,832 public basic schools with one hot meal for every school going day.
Currently, she said about 344,389 households, translating into over 1.5million persons, were receiving grants from the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme (LEAP).
“We have also increased awareness of the need for the promotion and protection of the rights of the child, and as a result, the ministry hassensitised 3,434,532 people including children and adults on various child protection issues using the child protection tool kitsand has also reached 334,379 people through various social media platforms.” She added.
She expressed gratitude to the ministry’s development partners for their immense support over the years.
The Deputy Minister of Gender Children and Social Protection, Francisca Oteng hoped that discussions from the summit would afford participants the opportunity to know the strategies that would be adopted for accountability in social sector expenditure processes so that the effective use of resources could be promoted.
BY RAISSA SAMBOU AND CHARLOTTE BARNS