NEWS PORTAL

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Government has been challenged to resource gender desk officers to enable them deliver the intended benefits in girl-child grooming and education as part of the total development efforts of the nation.

Executive director of the Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme (SILDEP), Mr Moses Dramani Luri, said government must show commitment beyond the creation of offices and desks, and the enactment of laws to ensure the intended purposes of those efforts were achieved.

Addressing volunteer participants at a training-of-trainers workshop for the Girls Advocacy Alliance in Wa, Mr Luri said “a paradigm shift is needed to achieve new results” in the area of girl education and empowerment.

The Girls Advocacy Alliance is a platform for the grooming of young girls to empower them by building their confidence levels to make them assertive and prepared for leadership roles in their various societies, including communities and schools.

It is an initiative of Plan Ghana, with sponsorship from the Dutch Foreign Ministry through the local embassy, with SILDEP as the implementing partner at the local level.

The workshop was attended by 35 teachers working at different levels of the basic education structure from Sissala East, Sissala West and Wa West districts – where the civil society organisation operates mainly – and gender desk officers at the regional office of the Ghana Education Service.

Cycle of poverty

Mr Luri said poverty remained widespread in Upper West Region and neighbouring areas despite the major interventions by Plan Ghana and other civil society organisations to promote economic empowerment of the peoples.

He said the girl child has become the focus of efforts to reverse the cycle of poverty by empowering her with education, employable skills and the appropriate grooming to counter the possibility of teenage pregnancies, early and child marriages, school dropouts, and other vices that eventually and ultimately afflict the entire society.

He praised government for the appointment of a deputy minister in charge of technical and vocational education and the appointment of officers in charge of technical and vocational education at the regional level, describing the moves as important steps in the right direction.

Lack of resources

He, however, lamented the lack of resources for many of these persons manning important positions, suggesting that it was even difficult for some of them to effectively monitor their jurisdiction properly across a full term since they did not have the basic resources for work.

“What is of some challenge to these offices are that some have just a desk, and that is all. They don't have vehicles or the means to enable them move around their areas to carry out their duties effectively. This is what we want government and other relevant bodies to support us achieve,” he said.

Madam Anna N. Nabere, project officer of the Girls Advocacy Alliance at Plan Ghana, who was the key facilitator at the workshop, praised the participants for volunteering to help in grooming young girls.

She asked them to champion girls advocacy in the manner of role models for the younger generation.

By Michael Quaye, graphic.com.gh

1 June, 2018

SILDEP launches campaign against Rosewood and fertilizer smuggling

A one year project aimed at fighting corruption in the illegal felling of rosewood and smuggling of government’s fertilizer has been launched at Tumu in the Sissala East Municipality of the Upper West Region.

The project known as Intensive Fight against Corruption is aimed at exposing activities of those involved in the illegal practice.

Harvesting of rosewood in the Upper West Region has become a major challenge in the past four years.

The project is being implemented by The Regional Security Council on two occasions issued statements banning the practice but to no avail.

The practice is said to be having a negative effect on environment which ultimately affect food production.

A civil society Social Initiative for Literacy and Development, SILDEP in partnership with STAR Ghana, Christian AID UKAID and DANIDA has therefore begun a year-long programme aimed at addressing the menace.

Stakeholders met at Tumu to discuss how best the practice of illegal harvesting of rosewood and smuggling of fertilizer can be brought under control.

The Executive Director of SILDEP, Moses Dramani Luri told GBC that over 80 percent of residents’ main source of livelihood in the municipality is farming.

As a result there are media reports about the youth, individuals and traditional authorities agitating against both rosewood harvesting and fertilizer smuggling.

He said unlike illegal mining in parts of the country, rosewood felling challenges sustainable development efforts by the Municipal Assembly, central government and civil society.

The practice Mr Luri noted has a long term impact on the land and environment warning that if care is not taken it will cause a calamity in the Municipality.

Explaining the programme further the Executive Director of SILDEP said the year-long project will see engagement with experts and stakeholders quarterly to plan, implement and review plans.

He expressed the hope that when stakeholders are well sensitized, a collective way forward will be curved which will results in positive outcome.

He called on the government to stop issuing permits to companies to salvage rosewood in order to bring sanity into the sector.

President of Sissala Youth Forum Mumuni Yahya said the practice is having a serious impact on environment in the municipality.

He did not understand why 173 trucks of rosewood could be salvaged from February to April this year when the impression is created that new trees are not being fell.

An Assistant District Manager of Forestry Service Division of Forestry Commission at Tumu Peter Andoh said Act 617 2002 allows the sector minister to make regulations on the procedure for salvage and disposal of abandoned timber or seized timber produce.

He explained that salvage permits are not timber rights.

Rather they are merely permits to ensure efficient resource use in a specific situation.

He recommended nursing and free distribution of seedlings for replanting as one of the ways to address the depletion of the environment.

The Municipal Chief Executive for Sissala East Mr. Karim Nanyua lauded the efforts of stakeholders in trying to deal with the menace.

He said agriculture has been proven as the leading driver of the economy in the Municipality.

He said this potential is however, being compromised by actions and inactions of the people in recent times.

He entreated all to play their role effectively to ensure that the environment is protected.

Story by GBC's Sualah Abdul-wahab

25 May, 2018

Stakeholders discuss ways of halting illegal rosewood felling

Stakeholders in Sissala East Municipality of Upper West Region have gathered to discuss ways of stopping illegal felling of rosewood that has recently posed grave threat to agricultural activities and the environment.

Traditional rulers, Assembly members, representatives of civil society organisations, politicians and religious and opinion leaders in the Municipality who met on Wednesday also deliberated on how to curtail recurrent smuggling of subsidised fertilizer to neighbouring West African countries.

Speaking during a stakeholder engagement meeting in Tumu, the capital of Sissala East Municipal, Mr Moses Dramani Luri, the Executive Director of Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme (SILDEP), said the issues of illegal rosewood cutting and annual smuggling of fertilizer had serious implications on livelihood of the residents.

Over 80 per cent of people in the Municipality engaged in agricultural activities for living, which Mr Luri said illegal rosewood harvesting and fertilizer smuggling posed long term negative impact on farmlands and the environment which the people depended on.

He called on stakeholders to avoid “suspicion and blame game” and rather come together to make strong case for government to see the urgency in the matter and take quick action to tame it and described as unfortunate the practice, where concerted efforts were made to fight illegal mining (Galamsey) but no efforts of that equal measure were taken to curb the menace of rosewood.

Mr Peter Andoh, the Assistant District Manager of Forestry Services Division (FSD) in Tumu made a presentation on the topic: “Rosewood harvesting in the Sissala East Municipality – facts and figures, mandate, history, legality and challenges.”

He noted there were 12 permit holders currently operating within Tumu Forest District, and also disclosed that GH¢649,200.00 was realised as stumpage revenue from 173 trucks with volume of 5,410,000 cubic metres between February and April 2018.

Lack of adequate information and education on rosewood permits, felling without permit, unwillingness of community members to volunteer information on illegalities and land owners felling trees on their lands and selling to permit holders among others were being listed as some challenges confronting the fight against illegal rosewood in the area.

Mr Karim Nanyua, the Sissala East Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), said sustainability of agricultural activities in the Municipality was being threatened by exploitation of forest resources by unscrupulous people and applauded engagement which he observed was in line with government’s anti-corruption crusade.

It was concluded at the meeting that stakeholders play their respective roles effectively and collaborate with each other to stop both fertilizer smuggling and illegal rosewood harvesting.

The engagement was part of a 12-month advocacy platform: “Intensive Fight against Corruption – Rosewood Cutting and Fertilizer Smuggling” being implemented by SILDEP in partnership with STAR Ghana with funding from Christian Aid, UKAID and DANIDA.

The platform started in April 2018 and expected to end in February 2019 in the Sissala East Municipal.

Source: GNA

Wa, May 24, GNA

Parliament called to pass law on Teenage Pregnancy

Parliament of Ghana has been called on to pass a law with harsher penalty on teenage pregnancy to sufficiently guarantee the protection and future of young girls in the country to enable them realise their dreams.

“The proposed law should prescribe stiffer punishment for perpetrators who have shuttered the dreams and future of victims of child marriage and teenage pregnancy, particularly in Northern parts of Ghana.”

Mr Moses Dramani Luri, the Executive Director of Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme (SILDEP), who made the call in said teenage pregnancy contributed significantly to child marriage, a menace profound in the Upper West Region.

Ghana’s 2010 population and housing census data indicates that for persons aged 12 to14 years, 11.18 percent of them were married, followed by 17 percent for those who fall within the age bracket 15 to 19 years.

Child marriages amounted to almost one tenth (7.4 per cent) of the married population in Upper West, prompted Mr Luri to concluded that many girls in the region were victims of child marriage.

According to him, statistics had it that 4,282 out of 8,220 married people were girls, representing 52 percent.

“A total of 197 of the girls willingly get married without any customary rites, 24 of them get separated due to misunderstandings, 14 completely divorced and 43 get widowed, while 7,942 of them live a relatively stable marriage,” he added

He noted that though, Act 560 of 1998 made child marriage criminal, most people were not aware of the provision, adding: “Even those that are aware do little or nothing at all about it.”

Mr Luri said 77 defilement cases were recorded in 2015 as against 61 in 2016 while 90 of such cases were registered in 2017 in Upper West, totalling 228 recorded cases in three years.

He explained that cases not covered by the law but retarded development were 3,010 in 2015, 3,412 in 2016 and 3,595 in 2017, bringing the total to 10,017 in three consecutive years.

Mr Luri therefore called for robust action to enforce the Law on defilement to protect such victims.

By Prosper K. Kuorsoh, GNA

Wa, May 20, GNA

GES given modules to train Girls’ Advocacy Clubs

The Ghana Education Service (GES) in the Upper West Region has been presented with modules for the training of members of Girls Advocacy Clubs formed in 30 basic schools in the Upper West Region.

There are five different modules with 40 copies each, totalling 200 copies, which is expected to be used in training 30 Girl’s Advocacy Clubs established in 30 Basic Schools in Sissala East Municipal, Sissala West and Wa West districts.

The Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme (SILDEP), a Non-Governmental Organisation, made the presentation to GES in Wa on Thursday after a Regional Education Network meeting.

Mr Moses Dramani Luri, the Executive Director of SILDEP, said the gesture was part of Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA) project being implemented by Plan Ghana in partnership with SILDEP.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is sponsoring the Project.

The project aims at empowering the girl-child against early and forced marriage as well as commercial sex exploitation among others.

Mr Luri noted that the teachers who would be using the modules to train the girls had already been trained and were therefore well equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills to deliver effectively.

Mrs Annacleta Viiru Naab, the Upper West Regional Girl Child Education Officer of GES, said the modules were good and noted that if the teachers followed them religiously, they would be able to change the plight of the girl-child in Upper West.

She hoped that the support would help empower the girls, and assured donors that the items would be distributed to beneficiary schools.

She also urged the trainers to commit the modules to efficient use.

By Prosper K Kuorsoh, GNA

Wa, May 18, GNA

Commit more resources into TVET

The government has been urged to commit more resources into Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to help check the rising youth unemployment.

Mr. Moses Dramani Luri, Executive Director of Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme (SILDEP), said there should be a more aggressive push towards providing young people with skills that would make employable.

This was the way to go to make their lives meaningful to themselves and society.d Training (TVET) was key to unlocking the development gap in the Upper West Region.

He was speaking at a trainer of trainees workshop for the ‘Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA) project’ held in Wa.

The four-year project has a global vision of assisting to empower about one million girls to lead, learn and decide on their own.

Mr. Luri applauded the decision to appoint a Deputy Minister with responsibility for TVET alongside the creation of regional and district offices and said “this is a move in the right direction”.

He asked that skills training centres should be adequately equipped to properly function.

He reminded duty-bearers to be creative in order to ensure optimal use of limited resources to deliver the desired outcomes.

Lack of employable skills among the youth, early and forced marriages, and child abuse, have been identified the major challenges confronting the people.

He said the most powerful weapon to fight these was advocacy and that was why the GAA project implemented by Plan Ghana in partnership with SILDEP and with sponsorship from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs was important.

Madam Anna N. Nabere, the GAA Project Officer for Plan Ghana, said the goal was to create equal opportunities for girls and young women

“We are to work to empower these girls that are living in rural communities without hope of getting support from anywhere.”

She said structures would be put in place to help promote the rights of girls and young women.

These would include working with traditional and religious leaders in the beneficiary communities and formation of community child protection committees to identify cases of abuse and facilitate the process of reporting to child protection agencies.

Girls clubs to be mentored by teachers and Girl Child Education Officers, to build their capacity to understand some of the issues they were going through and how they could effectively deal with them would also be formed.

She noted that the tools developed, if appropriately used, would empower girls to become assertive, confident and to be able to communicate.

“When this happen, they will be able to stand up for themselves against any abuse and also stay in school to complete and become responsible people in society,” Madam Anna added.

Source: GNA

Wa, (U/W) May 01, 2018

NGO proposes review of current educational curricular

Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme (SILDEP), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has proposed the need for stakeholders to reconsider the current educational curricular in Ghana.

The NGO is of the view that the current educational curricular is not responsive to the needs of children especially girls, stressing that the curricular places too much emphasis on literacy and numeracy at the expense of skills development and training.

Mr. Moses Dramani Luri, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SILDEP who made the proposal at the opening of a four-day Regional Girl’s Camp in Wa, stated that Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) was key to unlocking the development gap in the Upper West Region.

“I am therefore appealing to all stakeholders to reconsider the current educational curriculum,” he emphasized.

Mr. Luri explained that the Regional Girl’s Camp formed part of activities of the Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA) Project, which was aimed at building the confidence of girls from Sissala West, Sissala East and Wa West Districts in the Region.

He explained further that the purpose of the Girl’s Camp was to build the capacity of the selected young girls to champion their own lives.

Mr. Eric Ayaba, Upper West Regional Programme Manager for Plan Ghana, said Research had shown that girls were the most affected and girls with higher education were less likely to get married before age 18.

“That is why Plan International Ghana through its implementing partner (SELDEP) has brought these girls together in a camp to build their capacities to become advocates in their communities and districts when they go back,” Mr. Ayaba explained.

He said they were using camp meetings to reach out to these girls because camps have proven effective in empowering and building the capacities of young people.

“On a general level, bringing girls together helps to create safe spaces where they can interact freely, develop self-conference, discover, learn and are encouraged in the ‘I can do spirit’; Hence the theme: “supporting girls to learn, lead, decide and thrive; the responsibility of all,” he noted.

Mr. Ayaba said they were aware that the government of Ghana through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), has launched a National Strategic Framework on Ending Child Marriage in Ghana (2017-2026), and pledged Plan Ghana’s readiness to collaborate with the government to achieve this goal.

Mr. Amidu Chinnia Issahaku, Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, noted that the government was committed to empowering women and girls through the MoGCSP, hence the huge investment in the free Senior High School (SHS) education in order to make it accessible to these girls.

The Deputy Regional Minister noted that another area government was investing in was in the promotion of TVET to equip the youth with employable skills to reduce unemployment.

He thanked SILDEP and Plan Ghana for their contribution towards ensuring empowerment of girls in the region.

Source: GNA

Wa, (U/W) August 24, 2017

Re-Focus Educational Curriculum –SILDEP CEO

The Chief Executive Officer of Social Initiative for Literacy and Development, SILDEP Moses Dramani Luri says Ghana’s educational curriculum is not responsive to the current needs of children especially girls.

He said too much emphasis is placed on literacy and numeracy at the expense of skills development and training.

Mr. Dramani Luri was speaking at the opening of week-long girls’ camp for one hundred junior high school girls at Wa in the Upper West Region.

Radio Ghana’s Upper West Regional Correspondent Sualah Abdul-wahab reports that the girls’ camp forms part of the implementation of Girls Advocacy Alliance being executed in three districts of the region with support from Plan International Ghana.

The districts are Sissala East Sissala West and Wa West.

The one hundred participants will interact with female role models to boost their confidence level and assertiveness.

The CEO of SILDEP, Dramani Luri bemoaned a situation where many school leavers become hair dressers, dress makers and musicians yet little emphasis is placed on them in public schools from primary to universities.

Mr. Dramani Luri entreated the participants to desist from engaging in activities that are not in their interest so as to become good and responsible citizens.

Upper West Regional Program Unit Manager of Plan International Ghana Eric Ayaba said the organization has re-focused its operations in line with Strategic Development Goals to correct the inequality against the girl child.

Deputy Regional Minister Amidu Isahaku Chinnia launded SILDEP and Plan Ghana for complementing government’s efforts in improving the lives of the girl child.

Mr. Chinnia said in spite of efforts by the nation to eliminate discrimination against a girl child the issue remains a challenge.

He called for intensified education to address the problem.

Upper West Regional Director of the Department of Children Latifa Abobo Siddique for her part, said the development of Ghana will be very difficult without the empowerment of women and the girl child.

She said for that to be realized there is the need for all cultural practices that are harmful to the development of girls to be eradicated.

Upper West Regional Manager of Action Aid George Dery for his part said for the students be able to succeed in life they must be disciplined and hard working.

He asked them not to give in to peer pressure that will end up destroying their lives.

There were solidarity messages from DOVVSU and other ogranizations.

Source: GBC

Wa, (U/W) August 24, 2017

Cultural breakdown is the cause of our woes

Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme (SILDEP), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has expressed unhappiness with the breakdown of cultural values in some African societies.

The NGO said the lack of respect for the elderly in society, the blatant disregard for community rules and regulations, lack of interest in learning the local languages and increase in negative social vices on the part of the youth were not only affecting the moral fiber of society but were also hindering efforts at realizing development goals.

Mr Moses Dramani Luri, Executive Director of SILDEP, said this during the 10th anniversary celebration of the organisation held in Tumu in the Sissala East District of the Upper West Region.

“Our traditional marriage systems, norms and institutions coupled with our religious beliefs do not support the attainment of the legal systems, conventions and charters on child marriage, child abuse, commercial sexual exploitation, sex tourism and same sex among others”, he said.

“Parents leave their obligatory roles to teachers, media and their peers. This leads to social vices like ‘streetism’, teenage pregnancy and pre-marital sex. It is high time we revamp our cultural and traditional values”, he said.

Mr Luri called on all stakeholders to continue to support SILDEP, district assemblies and government to fight these concerns to ensure an enhanced development in our societies.

He said SILDEP, since its formation in 2008, has chalked a number of milestones including the implementation of over 20 projects, partnership with over 15 development partners and donor agencies, covered over 184,741 direct beneficiaries and spent over GH¢3,309,462.50 on development projects.

Others include the mobilization of over GH¢1,328,801.60 through Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA), employed over 60 staff and covered 15 districts in two regions of Ghana and one in Burkina Faso.

Mr Moses said the new focus of SILDEP was on advocacy for a balanced society in which the vulnerable were well integrated in society, adding that the rights of the girl child and young women were of prime concern to the organisation.

Mr Ali E. Kwabalugu, SILDEP Board Chairman, said for the past ten years, the organisation focused on literacy and language development, protection of girls against violence, socio-political participation in society by girls and young women, economic participation and promotion of post primary education.

He said community sensitisation in 454 communities both in Upper West and Upper East Regions, organization of Girls Camps and mentoring programmes, provision of in-kind scholarships for girls, building of classroom infrastructure, and formation of community Child Project Committees as some of the achievements of the organisation.

Mr Kwabalugu said SILDEP had been successful in stimulating child rights, women participation and primary education for all in a region where traditional cultural practices were dominant.

Mr Salfu Waah, a Former District Chief Executive, appealed to communities to protect their cultural heritage against the infiltration of western cultures.

Source: GNA

Wa, July 27, 2017

NHIS should cover family planning, safe abortion services – SILDEP

Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme (SILDEP) has blamed the increasing number of unwanted pregnancies and illegal abortions on lack of access to family planning and safe abortion services in the country.

The Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has therefore appealed to government to legalize safe abortion and broaden the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to cover family planning services to make such services available and easily accessible to all across the country.

Mr. Moses Dramani Luri, the Executive Director of SILDEP, made the appeal in a statement to congratulate Ghanaian workers for their commitment and effortless contribution to the development of mother Ghana.

The statement said such services would curtail the increasing number of unwanted pregnancies and illegal abortions that were claiming lives of many including teenagers who could not afford the cost of family planning services in the country.

It noted that while SILDEP was happy with efforts by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to curb maternal deaths in the country, the situation was still worrying as two pregnant women from Sissala East and Sissala West District lost their lives in the last two months.

The statement therefore called on all stakeholders to partner government and the GHS to educate women on issues that could cause maternal deaths.

The statement said SILDEP was ready to work with all stakeholders towards addressing the challenges to create a better society for all.

Source: GNA

Tumu (U/W), May 2, 2017

Upper West records 3,474 teenage pregnancies in 2016

A research conducted by Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme (SILDEP) has revealed that a total of 3,473 teenage pregnancies were recorded in the Upper West Region in 2016.

Out of this, 61 of them were defilement cases, a predominant practice in the Wa West, Sissala East and Sissala West Districts which recorded a total of 1,074 cases.

Specifically, the study revealed that Wa West recorded a total of 484 teenage pregnancy cases with nine cases of defilement, Sissala East 305 cases with four cases of defilement and Sissala West 269 cases with three cases of defilement.

Mr. Moses Dramani Luri, the Chief Executive Officer of SILDEP said this while addressing some women and girls during the International Women’s Day Celebration at Gwollu.

He said the research which was conducted in 60 basic schools in the three districts indicated that girls who were above 16 years willingly consented to sex leading to the pregnancies.

“The victims either had their families approached to approve of marriage or family members pushed such girls to perpetrators to be cared for till delivery”, he noted.

Mr. Luri said social ties cherished among community members made it difficult for affected families to report such cases to the law enforcement agencies for prosecution.

The CEO of SILDEP said the International Women’s Day was celebrated to commemorate the contributions of gallant women to the advancement of society across the world.

“Therefore, tackling, gender base violence is a strategic way to advance women’s rights and empowerment in several areas including health, education, work, freedom from violence, and participation in public life”, he said.

Mr. Luri said it was essential that all relevant stakeholders including community and religious leaders; school teachers and administrators; health care workers; police, prosecutors and the judiciary; government officials; the media; parents and children to understand and commit to their role in ending gender base violence.

He said it was for this reason that SILDEP was implementing the Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA) Project in collaboration with Plan International Ghana in the Upper West Region to sensitise girls and other stakeholders to become conscious of the rights of girls.

He said the five-year project (2016-2020) despite its regional focus, had been working extensively in the Wa West, Sissala East and Sissala West Districts because of the peculiar issues the districts presented.

Madam Patience Abavana, a participant, lamented over the issue of child marriage, saying a child who gave birth to a child lacked the capacity to give the baby adequate care.

She appealed to all stakeholders to fight for the elimination of the practice.

Madam Amamata Kassim, also a participant called on fathers not to leave the care of children in the hands of their mothers alone but join hands with them to ensure their upbringing especially the girls.

Source: GNA

Gwollu, (U/W) March 9, 2017

Study reveals child prostitution in Tumu town

Child prostitution is beginning to show its ugly head in Tumu in the Sissala East District of the Upper West Region as some basic school girls have formed peer groups and engaged in prostitution.

The unfortunate practice which was revealed in a study conducted by Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme (SILDEP) said some of the prostitution groups go by names such as “Sexy vampires”, “Awilo”, and “Kampala” with operative slogans like “It is our business and men shall suffer”.

The study also revealed that drivers of heavy duty vehicles who come to Tumu and those transiting to Burkina Faso were the main consumers of the child prostitution services.

Mr. Moses Dramani Luri, Chief Executive Officer of SILDEP revealed this during the celebration of the International Women’s Day at Gwollu in the Sissala West District of the Upper West Region.

He said the study revealed four major factors including culture, attitude, poverty and information gap and illiteracy as responsible for the practice.

Mr. Luri therefore called on the government to intensify her social intervention programmes including the “one district, one factory”, “one village, one dam”, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme, the Ghana Social Opportunities Project (GSOP), family planning, civic education and law enforcement among other interventions to mitigate the effect of these social vices.

He also called on the security services, Chiefs and opinion leaders in the area to rise up and act in order to nib the practice in the bud.

The CEO of SILDEP said the International Women’s Day was celebrated to commemorate the contributions of gallant women to the advancement of society across the world.

“Therefore, tackling, gender base violence is a strategic way to advance women’s rights and empowerment in several areas ranging from health, education, work, freedom from violence, and participation in public life”, he said.

He said it was for this reason that SILDEP was implementing the Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA) Project in collaboration with Plan International Ghana in the Upper West Region to sensitise girls and other stakeholders to become conscious of the rights of the girl child and protect them.

He said the five-year project (2016-2020) despite its regional focus had been working extensively in the Wa West, Sissala East and Sissala West Districts because of the peculiar issues the three districts presented.

Mr. Alidu Fuo, a Staff Nurse and an HIV Counsellor at the Gwollu Hospital who sensitised the women on HIV and AIDS said in 2016 no HIV case was recorded during Antenatal Care Services at the hospital.

He noted however that in March 2016 nine HIV cases comprising three males and six females from the ages of 19 to 48 were recorded, adding that HIV/AIDs was therefore with them, hence the need for all to exercise sexual responsibility.

Source: GNA

Gwollu, (U/W) March 9, 2017

SILDEP initiates project to help address child marriages in Upper West

Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme (SILDEP), a non-governmental organisation, is implementing a five-year project dubbed “Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA)”.

This is to help address issues of child marriages in the Upper West Region.

Other concerns the project seeks to address include commercial sexual exploitation of children and child sex tourism, sexual violence and abuse as well as the promotion of access to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

SILDEP is implementing the project in collaboration with Plan International – Ghana with funding support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the successful implementation of the Girl Power Project (GPP).

Mr Jonas Tia, the Programmes Manager of SILDEP, during a presentation at a stakeholders meeting in Tumu in the Sissala East District, said sexual violence and abuse is a serious problem in the country.

He said the practice was frequently directed toward the vulnerable youth who lacked the economic and social status to resist such temptations.

“Adolescents and young women in particular experience abuses in the form of violence, rape and sexual assault and sexual exploitation, at home, at school and in the work place”, he said.

Mr Tia said data from the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service showed that sexual violence was on the increase in Ghana.

He said for instance that defilement cases reported rose from 713 in 2005 to 1,175 cases in 2011, and compulsory marriages increased from nine to 16 per cent while sodomy cases went up from one to 12 per cent within the same period.

He said a study conducted by Defense for Children International (DCI) – Ghana estimated that 17.9 per cent of respondents had experienced various forms of child labour whiles 8.0 per cent girls have also been raped before.

“Indecent assault was 39.8 per cent, incest 5.4 per cent, compulsory marriage 11.7 per cent and abduction 18.5 per cent”, the study revealed.

For economic violence, 29.8 per cent said they had experienced child labour before while 18.1 per cent had also been sexually exploited.

Mr Moses Dramani Luri, Executive Director of SILDEP, said tackling child marriage is a strategic way to advance women’s rights and empowerment in several areas, ranging from health, education, work, freedom from violence and participation in public life.

“In order to do so, it is essential that all relevant stakeholders – including community and religious leaders, school teachers and administrators, health care workers, police and the judiciary, government, media, parents and the youth to understand and commit to their role in ending child marriages”, he said.

Source: GNA

NOVEMBER 16, 2016

SILDEP, SNV assesses feeding programme in Sissala East

The Sissala Literacy and Development Programme (SILDEP) in collaboration with SNV have carried out an assessment on the implementation of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) in the Sissala East District of the Upper West Region.

Mr Moses Luri, Executive Director of SILDEP, told the GNA that the objective of the assessment was to enable them come out with the current state of the programme in the district and share the findings with key stakeholders for appropriate interventions to be effected.

He said since the start of the programme in the 2005/06 academic year with only three beneficiary schools from the district, its implementation process had met some challenges which needed to be brought to the fore to be addressed by stakeholders.

The lack of a full time desk officer, delay in the release of funds, lack of logistical support in the form of transport for monitoring and the lack of effective coordination and information sharing were some of the major challenges identified during the assessment.

Mr Luri said it was also observed that caterers sometimes had to borrow money from other sources to keep the programme going because of the delay in the release of funds meant for the smooth running of the programme.

He recommended that there should be effective collaboration between the District Assembly and the District Education Directorate in the selection of caterers for schools to prevent imposition.

He said the issue of valid health certificates should be re-enforced to ensure that caterers were healthy and fit to cook for the children.

Mr Luri proposed that the GSFP should be managed by the Ghana Education Service (GES) who then report to the District Assembly since GES was directly managing the beneficiary schools.

He said funds should be released early and deposited into the accounts of the beneficiary schools which would then be jointly managed by the Head teachers, Matrons and the Parents Teacher Associations", he stressed.

Mr Luri said the community members were generally happy about the programme but needed to be properly sensitized on their possible roles to help sustain the programme.

Source: GNA

7th Sep 2010