On March 8, 2022, at the Grand Arena of the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC), Plan International launched a media campaign dubbed ‘SHE LEADS’.
The nationwide media campaign which was launched on the annual International Women’s Day is set to empower the girl child and all stakeholders in society to recognize the difficulties faced by the girl child and steps to be taken to rectify this national issue.
Award-winning singer-songwriter, Adina Thembi, known on stage as Adina, was unveiled as the Brand Ambassador of the Campaign.
The national media campaign is aimed at partnering with stakeholders from different sectors in society to be able to reach a larger number of people. It is with this background that Plan International undertook a three-day workshop organized in May 2020 in Accra. The workshop was centered on Legal Literacy to increase the sustained influence of Girls and Young Women (GYW) on decision-making and the transformation of gender norms in formal and informal institutions in Ghana. The workshop had representatives from the ‘She Leads’ Champions of Change. They comprise Chiefs, Queen Mothers and Religious Leaders from the North East, Ashanti, Central, Western North and Upper West Regions.
A day after the three-day workshop, the representatives brought out a communiqué addressing their consensus concerns to the media present. It reads;
1. We call on other chiefs and religious leaders to become progressive leaders to eschew negative social norms that deepen the marginalization of girls and young women, limit girls and young women from speaking out and taking up leadership
2. We call on the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection as a matter of urgency to lay the Affirmative action Bill before parliament for consideration into Law to facilitate gender equality to promote girls and young women participation in decision-making at all levels.
3. Chiefs must develop and institutionalize bye-laws for the protection and promotion of the rights of girls, and promote the creation of civic spaces for girls to participate meaningfully in decisions affecting them. Chiefs and religious organizations should create space within their jurisdictions and palaces for girls and young women to participate in decisions. To this end, we equally call on men and boys to give recognition, re-distribute, and reduce the burden of unpaid care work on girls and young women.
4. Furthermore, MMDAs should also create space for girls to participate in decisions affecting girls and young women during their planning and review sessions and facilitate their inclusion in the committees of the Assemblies, since most of the committees make decisions affecting them.
5. Government must also enforce laws for the protection of girls’ rights. This would support reducing SGBV (teenage pregnancy, child abuse), child neglect, and worse forms of child labor which culminates in school drop-out and affects the empowerment of girls and young women. The Ghana Health Service should also increase their education on Sexual and reproductive health to reduce teen unwanted pregnancies.
The ‘She Leads’ program is a Five-year strategic partnership between Terre des Hommes, Plan International, Defense for Children/ECPAT, African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.