Popular Ghanaian Highlife Musician, Nana Boakye Ofori Atta, a.k.a Pozo Hayes has lauded the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisah Djaba for her vision for her vision to give a better life to vulnerable persons living on the streets of Ghana.
The Minister has announced an initiative called “#OperationGetofftheStreetsforaBetterLife” which aims at moving over 300,000 vulnerable persons from the streets and transform them into better and useful citizens. The “#OperationGetofftheStreetsforaBetterLife” aims at identifying the number of persons on the streets, profiling and integrating them with their parents, caregivers, families and community in the next five years.
It would also ensure that target groups are completely cleared from the streets.
These include head porters (Kayayei), hawkers, children who are beggars and those contracted to push disabled people, beggars who are adults, persons with disabilities, persons with mental health problems, families on the streets, displaced persons (international migrants) and begging contractors.
Pozo Hayes, a physically challenged person himself observed the #Operation Get off the Street initiative if well implemented would restore the dignity and pride of disabled persons and other vulnerable groups who are depending on other people on the streets for their survival.
According to him, there are several disabled persons who are vibrant, energetic and knowledgeable and could contribute meaningfully to national development when given the needed encouragement, support and resources.
He spoke against the constant discrimination and rejection against persons with disabilities in search of jobs, marriages and other privileges.
Pozo Hayse, therefore, commended Otiko Djaba whom he said had kept constant touch with the Persons with Disabilities and participated in almost all their activities.
He also commended the Minister for pushing for the release of the 3% share of the District Assembly Common Fund for persons with disabilities, which has delayed for three quarters.
He, however, advised the Minister to do more consultations to ensure effective implementation of the #Operation Get off the Streets.
“I really like the idea by the Minister. I think she is doing well and she cares so much about us, but I will urge her to do the necessary consultations so that our people will understand the concept and cooperate fully. The Minister should also make sure proper structures are put in place to engage the target groups so that they don’t come back to the streets”.
Meanwhile, the operation would be carried out in three phases; the short term, medium term and long term.
At the recent media launch of the #Operation Get off the Streets for Better Life, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisah Djaba said the phase one of the #Operation Get off the Streets for Better Life would include the sensitization of the public and the intended target group, mapping of hotspot areas and identification of shelters across the regions, data collection, management and analysis, re-integration activities of children of school going age, skills training and sending persons with disability to rehabilitation centers.
The phase two would also include the linking of street persons to social protection interventions such as the LEAP programme, NHIS, Ghana School feeding program and Free SHS package. It will also include linking of persons on the street to technical and vocational institutions to acquire skills for employment and job creation such as COVET, linking of persons on the street to employable interventions such as Youth Enterprise Support (YES), Planting for Food and Jobs, One Village, One Dam, One District, One Factory.
The phase three of #Operation Get off the Streets for a Better Life will focus on the training of persons on the street to take advantage of the reforestation, hospitality industry, they will be linked to the Youth Employment Agency and planting for food and jobs.
The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisah Djaba noted that Ghana had developed many laws and policies such as the Children’s Act 1998 (Act 516), Children’s (Amendment’s Act, Act 937 of 2016), Juvenile Justice Act (Act 635), Domestic Violence (Act 732), Child and Family welfare policy, the Juvenile Justice Policy, Human Trafficking Act (Act 692), Persons with Disability Act 2006 (Act 715), Beggars and Destitute Act (NLCD 392 of 1969), Mental Health Act 2012 and so on, which she said had not been effectively implemented.
The Operation get off the streets she said would give a more dignified life to the target groups and will also enhance the participation of the excluded groups in national development.