The Empowerment program ‘Increasing Impact’ consists of a series of actions and events to give street children in Ghana a voice and to empower them to stand up for themselves and claim their rights. With the activities we reach thousands of children, families, policy makers, politicians and other relevant stakeholders every year. Most of the activities take place around the celebration of International Street Children’s Day (on April 12).
We started the programme years ago in Kumasi and it continues to grow. In 2019 we expanded to Tamale. In 2020 we wanted to focus on the Accra main stand, but due to the outbreak of the Covid19 virus, the activities had to be significantly scaled down. This spring (2021) we will go big again. We organize activities in the capital Accra and the cities of Kumasi and Tamale.
With this program we aim to achieve the following:
> Putting the issue of street children and early school leavers on the agenda of national government, policy makers and traditional authorities, and increased willingness of these authorities to commit to long-term solutions.
> Increased social awareness and effecting a positive change in the attitude of parents, communities and the general public towards street children and out-of-school children.
> Providing a common platform to street children, out-of-school children and relevant aid organizations where they can be heard and make recommendations on how to tackle the problem of school dropout and homelessness in a sustainable way.
> Building an active coalition of aid organizations and other stakeholders in Ghana to advocate for the rights of street children and out-of-school children.
The project is being carried out in Ghana’s three largest cities; Accra, Kumasi and Tamale. These cities are by far the largest part of the street children in Ghana. The project also reaches the most important relevant authorities and the largest number of people in these cities.
The project includes a large number of activities and events around the celebration of International Street Children’s Day, which is celebrated worldwide on April 12th:
- Stakeholder symposium and dialogue: In the cities, Accra and Tamale, symposiums are organized on the aforementioned issues. The guests are politicians, policy makers, traditional authorities, pedagogues and social workers, journalists, aid organizations and the street children themselves.
- Training street children to become ‘Street Champions’: 50 Street children are made aware of their rights and their ability to stand up for themselves through workshops. With media training, they are trained to make their voices heard as a ‘Street Champion’.
- Outreach to schools (Teach them Young), community buildings, churches, mosques, etc: Information is provided to children, parents, teachers and local leaders at 40+ schools, community buildings, religious gatherings, etc. by employees of the coalition partners and the Street champions.
- Education through theater play: A play will be made in Tamale that will inform surrounding communities about the dangers of street life and the need to take responsibility for the future of the children. The play is broadcasted on radio and television and can be followed by telephone.
- Street Children Forum: In Kumasi a meeting is held with 80-100 street children with workshops and discussion groups about ‘My story’ and ‘My dream’. The groups present their stories and dreams to invited stakeholders and journalists.
- Media campaign: A national media campaign with regular distribution of press releases to newspapers, radio and television, interviews by ‘Street Champions’, broadcasting of documentaries (made by street children themselves), organization of panel discussions, use of new (social) media , radio dial-in programs, inviting journalists to participate and report on the above events, etc.
- Demonstration: Manifestation by 500+ street children, aid workers, students and other supporters to and from a central point in the capital Accra.
- Research, reports and publications: The coalition partners work together with researchers and universities on research into the main causes and backgrounds of street children in Ghana.
- Strengthening local partners through courses on lobbying, advocacy and awareness, project evaluation and writing a protocol.
This project has a direct reach of about 5,000 people (relevant authorities, policy makers, government representatives, school children, teachers and employees of 40+ schools, street children and their families, university students, church and mosque-goers, local communities and their leaders, journalists, etc.). The media campaign (TV, radio and newspapers) expects a reach of at least 50,000+ people annually.