Otiko Afisa Djaba: My Mission Is to Eradicate Child Marriage
Minister of Social Protection from Ghana comes to EAWF
Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection of the Republic of Ghana Otiko Afisa Djaba is committed to reducing poverty especially among girls and women. The ministry’s task is to make people aware of the law and ensure these laws are implemented, so that gender inequality is reduced, if not completely eliminated.
In June 2018 Otiko Afisa Djaba's name went beyond Ghana. The politician was named the 2018 Best African Gender Minister. She was recognized for her “outstanding and tireless fight for gender equality and work towards ending child marriages in Ghana”. The award has been instituted to recognize the works, community development efforts and impacts made by African high profile female leaders.
“This recognition would further encourage us not to only double on our efforts but also energize us to reinforce our commitments and dedication to work for the achievement of gender equality, the protection of the rights of girls, women, children, the aged and vulnerable in the society”.
Therefore, she pledged the ministry’s commitment to ensure that the issue of child marriages with its related challenges was totally eliminated.
“The award inspires politicians to do more to improve the lives of the marginalized, down trodden and the less privileged in the society”.
Today, the Minister for Gender Equality and Social Protection of the Republic of Ghana is on the mission to rid the country’s streets of children beggars. She appealed to the Ghanaians asking to stop giving them money to “not encourage negative practices that should come to an end”.
The Ministry is making an effort to help “such people to take care of themselves,” and in this case the people of Ghana are able to support the authorities.
“Some people contract the children to push them to beggary, and thus prevent them from attending school. This phenomenon has become an urgent issue, and we are concerned about the safety of children,” said Ms Djaba.
Mostly these are children from the slums of Accra and some countries of West and Central Africa. They go to the city’s major roads during traffic jams, streets, bridges, parks around busy or populated areas of the capital, begging and desperately trying to get something from benevolent people. Some even pretend to be sick, preying on the emotions of unsuspecting members of the public. The main streets of Accra are constantly flooded with beggars, including children. And so it will remain while there are kiosks, houses and taxis; and they make children begging another profession. But this should not be, said the Minister for Social Protection.
According to the laws of Ghana, loitering is a crime, therefore, in the near future parties at stake will be brought to stop this practice. For this, Otiko Afisa Djaba intends to apply ‘one-on-one meetings’: “We will go to their hotspots and work with them to come to mutual understanding; they deserve better after 60 years of independence,” she said.
Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba is 56 years old; she studied Information Systems in the UK, communications in Egypt and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Integrated Development Studies at the University for Development Studies in Ghana. She was the National Facilitator for the Campaign Discipline under Former Vice President Aliu Mahama in 2004. She worked as a Consultant in Children’s Rights and rural women’s development. In 2008 she was the parliamentary candidate, and is currently the Women’s leader of the New Patriotic Party.
Ms Djaba is a polyglot, who speaks 8 Ghanaian dialects. She has four children.
Tina Stankevich, Eurasian Women's Community Information Agency