The Fate of Every Child Enriches or Impoverishes us All

The Fate of Every Child Enriches or Impoverishes us All

I have seen for myself and on documentaries in the media how children beg for alms and others hawk on the roads of Accra. This is equally evident in other major cities in Ghana and other African countries. Of course, these children are exposed and vulnerable to diverse societal dangers because it is unsafe for them to be criss crossing busy roads as a means of survival.

One day en route home from work, in the busy city of Accra, when I saw these children through the window of a vehicle, it triggered a train of thoughts in my mind; I wondered what had happened to the rights every child had to education, what the future holds for them, whether their parents endorsed or even sent them. It hit me that it is highly unlikely for the children to have unilaterally made the decision of going cup in hand or hawking by themselves. Obviously, and or most probably, someone else did. Someone who should protect and secure their future directly or indirectly sent them there; their parents, their communities and governments or a combination of two or more of them. However, the blend is, I asked myself, isn’t every human entitled to some basic rights and dignity?

The quest for the respect of basic human rights beckons

But then it occurred to me that the question of human rights is one that is frequently and loudly talked about but least heeded to in the modern world. Many people all over the world parade themselves as paragons of virtue in the promotion and protection of the rights of every human person irrespective of their geographic or demographic variation. And in the same breadth turn around to put up practices that are at variance with their words. While some cultural practices like female genital mutilation, cruel widowhood rite, child betrothal and marriage, were deemed outmoded and subsequently denounced and discarded, other forms of insidious abuses like modern sex trafficking, child neglect and denial of girl-child education are taking shape and stealing lives from young people especially children.

Few people truly remember to put their money where mouths are with regards to the rights of others. Why else will children of school going age be left out on streets and others put through modern sex trafficking and some working for people as cheap laborers to feed their families when they are supposed to be in school? How else should we explain the enlistment of children as combatants?

The blanket of freedom and human rights that some governments provide are too skimpy to cover all the vital parts of their citizens. Children and women and other minorities who have their basic rights stripped off do not have any hope to hold on to. Some, especially children, grow up to be unable to integrate themselves into society, thereby resorting to activities that are harmful to themselves and everyone else. Hopelessness can rot a society from within.

Education as a basic human right needs to be given more consideration

The right to education I believe is one of the most basic rights that should never be violated. For when one is denied education, the foundation of their life becomes too frail which paralyses all the efforts that are required to get an opportunity in life. Ignorance does not just undercut the dignity and natural entitlement of a person; it is a fertile breeding grounds for a host of unsavory consequences that can be avoided through education.

As an individual, I believe we can all in a little way contribute to the advancement of our communities and nations by lifting others who cannot lift themselves up. The desire to impact lives and put smiles on the faces of others in my sphere of contact, saw me undertaking various human rights activism campaigns for child rights on streets. During such campaigns, I helped ease the plight of several street children by providing relief items and educating people on the need to keep their children in school. And the point is not to gloat over my little efforts, I just want to offer them as a point of reference for anyone who baulks at the idea of rendering help to those who genuinely need it.

It may feel too distant for people who have their children securely sitting behind the desks in classrooms to try to pursue the welfare of other children. And it is fair to say everyone should carry their own cross, but the reality is that we cannot afford to give up on any child. Whatever happens to the fate of any child enriches or impoverishes us all. We all have stakes in the lives of one another because our fates are woven into a single garment of destiny. No one can securely insulate themselves from the consequences of the adverse implications of abused children and others.

Our nation would become a better place when we begin to feel and think that every child is our child and the future of our community, nation and even the world at large depends on we as individuals investing in the little ones growing up.

While it’s worth noting that the greatest responsibility lies within the ambit of the government to provide for these street children, it’s also true that the government cannot solve all problems and instead of blaming the government for every misfortune in our country, we can all contribute to the solution in our own small way by taking up the responsibility to impact the lives of the young ones around us.

I will end by saying that pointing fingers does not make anyone a problem solver, what we need is solution minded people that act to secure the potentials and future of street children. Therefore, we need to shift our mind from problems pointers to solutions providers. This is not the time to dwell so much on the “why” but invest our resources and energies on the” how” to turn our challenges into opportunities for a brighter future.

About the author

Samira Seidu

Author

Samira holds a bachelor’s degree in law at Central University, Ghana. She is passionate about women and children empowerment and has over the years, undertaken various human rights activism campaigns in villages and streets. Samira has also gained a vast worth of experience working in both governmental and non-governmental organisations. Currently, she is working at WACSI as a program assistant for Capacity Development unit whilst preparing towards  pursuing her Master’s in human Rights Law.

Share:

WACSI Communications

Author Samira holds a bachelor’s degree in law at Central University, Ghana. She is passionate about women and children empowerment and has over the years, undertaken various human rights activism campaigns in villages and streets. Samira has also gained a vast worth of experience working in both governmental and non-governmental organisations. Currently, she is working at WACSI as a program assistant for Capacity Development unit whilst preparing towards  pursuing her Master’s in human Rights Law.

Leave your comments

FIIFI BOATENG

Fiifi is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Communications and Information Officer at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. He joined the Institute in December 2020.

NANCY KANKAM KUSI

Nancy is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Programme Officer in the Knowledge Management unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. She joined the Institute in January 2021.

AGNES ADWOA ANIMA

Agnes is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Head of the Administration unit in the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2021.

DORIS ODEI

Doris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social sciences (Economics and Sociology) from the University of Cape Coast. She is passionate about impacting young lives hence co-founded Impart Foundation. A non-profit organization which seeks to empower young lives through education, technology and entrepreneurship.

PRINCE AKOWUAH

Prince Akowuah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Assistant in the Translation Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

MAXWELL APENTENG

Maxwell Apenteng is a Ghanaian and joined WACSI in September 2010. He provides gardening and janitorial services at the Institute.

GEORGE ADU-MINTAH

George Adu-Mintah is a Ghanaian and currently the Protocol Assistant/Driver at the West Africa Civil Society (WACSI). He joined the Institute in October 2006.

IBRAHIM KWAKU GBADAGO

Ibrahim Kwaku Gbadago is a Ghanaian. He joined the Institute in 2008 and provides janitorial services and assisting the institute's errands. Before joining the Institute, he worked at the Palestinian embassy in Accra, Ghana.

RUTH YAKANA

Ruth Yakana is from Cameroon and currently the Receptionist at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

BETHEL KWAME BOATENG

Bethel is a Ghanaian. He provides technical and IT related support to the Institute. He joined the Institute in October 2006.

WHITNAY SEGNONNA

Whitnay Segnonna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Management from the University of Benin. With 2 years of experience, she has a strong knowledge of organizational and project management. Combined with her bilingualism, she is very passionate about her work. She joined WACSI as Project Assistant on Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) for the Capacity Development Unit.

STELLA YAWA WOWOUI

Stella Yawa Wowoui holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation Studies. She has a perfect grasp of both French and English, as well as an intermediate level in Spanish. She is currently working as a Project Assistant on the Techsoup Project.

KWAME ASANTE

Kwame is an experienced IT Consultant/Software Developer. He is skilled in Web Applications Development, Digital Security, Database Management, Digital Marketing and Brand Management. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and is a Microsoft Programme Alumni. He is currently serving as a Marketing and IT Officer on the Techsoup Project.

GRACE AKPENE ZIGGAH

Grace Akpene Ziggah is a Togolese and currently the Logistics Officer and also assists in administration duties at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in June 2009.

LILLIAN DAFEAMEKPOR

Lilian Dafeamekpor is a Ghanaian and currently the Assistant to the Executive Director at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

JOHN P. FRINJUAH

John P. Frinjuah has expertise and interests in civil society, international development, democracy and governance, conflict, crisis, and security. He has extensive experience working with civil society and international development organizations where he supported and managed research, programmes, and provided technical assistance on a variety of themes around public policy, governance, and development. He is an alumnus of the University of Ghana and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy - Tufts University in the United States, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from two institutions respectively. John speaks English, French and several Ghanaian and regional West Africa languages.

GERVIN CHANASE

Gervin has extensive international development experience, including 5 years of policy advocacy and capacity building of grass root organisations. He has implemented over the years a combination of agriculture value chain, livelihood, food security and governance and rights programmes.
Prior to joining WACSI, Gervin worked on two USAID projects focusing on agriculture value chain development and governance in northern Ghana
Gervin holds a master’s degree in development & Governance from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany as well as a Masters in Global Studies from the Universities of Vienna (Austria), Leipzig (Germany) and California (Santa Barbara), USA. He is passionate social justice and inclusion.

LEANDRE BANON

Leandre Banon, Beninese, joined WACSI in September 2014 as Capacity Development Programme Assistant. Since then, he has worked in various units within the Institute to support operational and institutional capacity strengthening programmes for civil society in the region. Currently serving as Capacity Development Programme Officer at WACSI, his main responsibilities involve designing, planning, implementing and monitoring capacity development programmes for civil society constituents and grouping across the West Africa. Leandre is a certified Change the Game Academy Programme Trainer. His background lies in the areas of economics and development planning.

SAMUEL APPIAH

Samuel Appiah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Officer in the Finance and Administrative Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in May, 2016.

JIMM CHICK FOMUNJONG

Jimm Chick Fomunjong, Cameroonian, joined WACSI in May 2018 as the Head of the Knowledge Management and Communication Units of the Institute. He has over ten years’ experience as a journalist and a development communications expert. He has a vast experience in supporting African organisations to strengthen their internal and external communications, building and sustaining relationships with the media and, leveraging on the power of social media to promote their mission. He is also excellent at supporting organisations to set up and operationalise functional communications and knowledge management systems. He has a deep passion and expertise in supporting Africans and African civil society organisations to document their praxis, share and learn from experiences documented from the African civil society sector.

FRANCK A. SOMBO

Franck Sombo is a development practitioner with the drive to lead self and others to influence productivity and efficiency. His work involves supporting organisations to develop strategic plans, design monitoring and evaluation systems, develop and use relevant performance measurement tools to track progress, assess organizational growth and institutionalise learning. Franck has eight years of experience working with WACSI where he currently serves as the Head, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning. His academic qualifications include Masters in Organisations’ and Projects’ Management, and in Business Sciences and a High National Diploma in Finance and Accounting.

Franck is a Fellow of the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) and a graduate of the Graduate Training Institute (GTI) - Ghana with specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Leadership. He has a rich experience in Project Management, Capacity Development, Strategic planning, Data Analytics, Monitoring and Evaluation, Training and Facilitation, Mentoring and Coaching among others.

OMOLARA T. BALOGUN

Omolara is a development practitioner and advocacy strategist with over 10 years progressive experience in development programming targeted at strengthening civil society in West Africa. She joined WACSI in November 2009 as an Advocacy Consultant. And later became the first Policy Advocacy Officer in 2010 and Head of Policy Influencing and Advocacy unit in 2015. As head, she offers strategic direction to the institutes’ ambitions to connect and convene groups of organized and organic civil society actors; and influence regional and global discourses on crosscutting policy issues including—civil society regulations, sustainable development goals, civic space and enabling environment, aid effectiveness, gender equality.


Previously, Omolara served as a Service Development Marshal at TVQ Consulting Group, a customer service firm focused on designing strategic customer relationship and business growth plans for private and public financial institutions in Nigeria. She also served as a Programmes Associate with the Women in Peace and Security Network-Africa where she teamed up to design and implement two programmes on—multidimensional peace support operations and gender mainstreaming in security sector reform in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

KWABENA KRODUAH

Kwabena Kroduah is a Ghanaian and currently heads the Finance Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in January 2008.

CHARLES KOJO VANDYCK

Charles currently serves as the Head of the Capacity Development Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). Charles has over 10 years of experience working in international development and social justice issues in Africa. Charles has expertise in strengthening civil society and public agencies including the design and implementation of governance and leadership programmes, development of knowledge pieces and policy advice. Charles was the founding Board Chair of Innovation for Change (i4C)-Hub Afrique, as well as the founding member of the International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon), an initiative of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. Charles currently serves as the Member of the Governing Board (Coordination Collective) of Africans Rising. He is a Member of the Development Studies Association, United Kingdom. Charles is a 2017 Stanford University Fellow for Nonprofit Leaders and a certified Change the Game Resource Mobilisation Trainer.

NANA ASANTEWA AFADZINU

Nana Afadzinu is a Ghanaian and currently serves as the Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2010.