IOM in partnership with BTCTE is please to share an update regarding the construction of a new teacher's accomodation in 2013, as part of ongoing efforts to prevent child trafficking through enhanced educational opportunities. The community of Awate-Tornu is located in the Volta Region, which has been heavily affected by the phenomenon of child trafficking into the fishing industry.
In 2012, a school block was constructed by IOM with funding support from BTCTE to allow children in the area to have access to education close to home and thereby prevent traffickers from duping parents/guardians with false promises of educational opportuniies for thier children. To ensure the sustainability of the school and to provide decent accomodation for teachers, IOM was able to embark on a new construction project in December 2012 with BTCTE to further enhance the school project.
In early November 2013, the IOM counter-trafficking team and representatives from BTCTE travelled to Awate-Tornu to monitor the progress being made and speak with members of the community. "The accomodation has made a drastic difference in the community. The teachers are now based in the community and our children are benefiting from continued learning." The further eplained that since the construction of the school block took place children have been attending lessons on a regular basis, and they would not consider sending them to another community. According to the teachers, there is also a great interest in teaching at the community as a result of the accomodation.
As we begin the season of Thanksgiving and Holiday celebrations, we would like to thank all of our donors for their support of IOM counter-trafficking projects in Ghana, and for making a difference in the lives of Ghanaian children. We are also thankful for the dedicated team on the ground working working to counter child trafficking and promote child protection.
It is only through your generous suppor that we can continue to prevent and curtail child-trafficking. We ask you to consider participating in one of Globalgiving's holiday campaigns to help us raise awareness and rescue more children. During the month of December, the top 9 organizations that raise the most funding with receive bonus awards towards their project. Additionally, if you are considering a recurring donation, those established during the last 12 days of December (and pledged for an additional 3 months), will be matched by GlobalGiving 100% on the initial donation.
On 23 October, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in partnership with the Government of Ghana and village elders, undertook the rescue of a child trafficked into the fishing industry along Lake Volta. Although, the Government of Ghana has national legislation aimed at prosecuting traffickers (Human Trafficking Act 2005) and supports projects promoting awareness about the child trafficking phenomenon, children continue to be given to fishermen by their parents/guardians, particularly in the Volta Region of the country.
French documentary filmmaker Mr Daniel GrandClément accompanied IOM on its rescue of Samuel (name changed to protect his identify). For the first time the process of negotiation, release and return was captured on film. IOM hopes that this forthcoming film will reignite public support for the release of other children that remain in bonded labour to fishermen. “National and international pressure to stop child trafficking practices in Ghana is necessary to ensure a protected and safe future for all Ghanaian children. All children have the right to develop to their full potential without exposure to exploitative practices. We hope that the visualization of Samuel’s experience will contribute to the elimination of child trafficking,” explains Dyane Epstein, Chief of Mission, IOM Ghana.
Soon after his birth Samuel’s family moved to a village near Yeji. When Samuel was only 3 years old he was forced to start work on Lake Volta, bailing water out of his Master’s fishing boat. According to Samuel, he started more the dangerous and physical work at the age of 5, assisting his Master by working with fishing nets, diving to the bottom of Lake Volta and working long hours.
Following his rescue, Samuel, now aged between 14 and 15, will receive counselling and rehabilitation from officials with the Ministry of Social Welfare, any medical needs will be addressed and his parents/guardians will receive micro-grant assistance to better support his long-term needs. Samuel will also be enrolled in school and/or technical training to improve his chances for future success. Any child rescued as part of IOM’s programme undergoes 2.5 years of monitoring in an attempt to ensure a successful reintegration process.
On behalf of USAIM and IOM Ghana we would like to thank you for your continued support and encourage you to tell others about our work! Stay tuned for more information about our upcoming holiday fundraising initiatives through Global Giving.
Since 2010, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) office in Ghana has welcomed students for an eight (8) week summer practicum, bridging the gap between the academic and professional divide. Forged as part of a partnership with Syracuse University, located in upstate New York, USA, this study abroad programme allows the next generation of aid workers to take classroom principles and apply them in a field setting, with guidance from seasoned IOM staff members.
The 2013 group of students was comprised of three undergraduate students and one graduate student, eager to learn about IOM programmes and adapt their experience to match their unique area of study (photojournalism, social work, public health, and international relations). The Syracuse students were in a way a cross-section of a typical non-profit aid organization. A team of individuals working to implement projects in their specialised area at the request of and for the benefit of their assigned community, and taken as a whole contributed more than just a development project or proposal, but also a knowledge bank and a contagious enthusiasm for making a difference in the lives of others.
The internship started off with a one-week orientation to IOM programmes and Ghanaian language and culture. This was followed by a six week internship assignment at a community that has been affected by child trafficking and completion of a community development project for those in the field. Finally, the programme concluded with a one-week proposal writing and debriefing seminar in Accra.
This year the summer interns focused their community development projects on: interviews with reintegrated trafficked boys; improved hygiene through the installation of hand washing stations at the local schools; waste disposal; and work on the child protection toolkit ‘Free to Be Me’. In just a short time the students were able to become part of the community and leave a lasting impact. Hear from the students:
“One of the biggest problem parents face when deciding to sell their child, is not being educated on the conditions the child will face. Listening to the stories the boys shared, you feel an urge to put a stop to this horrible issue.” – Lauren
“The students and teachers were very receptive and I am convinced that they will utilize the hand-washing stations effectively. I am hopeful that they will translate this practice to their homes. This could ultimately reduce illness and disease in the community.” – Alexa
Of course as anyone who has worked abroad can attest to it is the final days of your stay in a new place when you realize you have learned a great deal more, even in a short period of time, than the impact you have undoubtedly left behind. So too was it difficult for our students to say goodbye, far too soon. Although, we know they are betterprepared for their future careers and will always receive a warm welcome in Ghana.
On behalf of USAIM and IOM Ghana we would like to thank you for your continued support and encourage you to tell others about our work! Please take part in the September fundraising initiative, where you can have a direct impact on our work through your own fundraising initiatives. See below (more details are available through Global Giving).
How does it work?
Excerpt from Diary of a Roll-out
Tuesday - March 19, 2013
Today has been a long time coming. We’ve created a pilot Child Protection toolkit – with a special emphasis on counter trafficking/child protection - based on self-empowerment from within the communities. The information has been gathered not only from loads of research but from long and numerous discussions with, not only the Ghana Police Service and District Officers for Health, Social Welfare, and Education, but ultimately, and most importantly, from the communities themselves: the Chiefs and elders, the women, the men, the teachers and the children.
The plan is that today we paint a mural on the school wall of the Tree of Life – the community’s contract with themselves and with us, of their buy-in. We arrive at Agbagorme community at our pre-arranged meeting place and time – under the big tree to the side of the school grounds. We’re excited, ready to go and with a truck full of paint.
No-one’s there but us. We find out that not only are the teacher’s on strike but it’s market day. “Nothing will tear them away from market day,” says Doris, IOM’s Counter Trafficking officer and, for now, our head mobilizer. Yikes. We wait. And wait. A group of mothers arrive and sit near us but not with us. It’s something. Only it’s not – they’re here for another meeting. We wait some more. Finally, in dribs and drabs we get a rather large group of maybe 200, including school kids, parents and elders, the Chief.
Doris asks the community if they know what their responsibilities are as parents, as children and as elders. Our advice that the men should help with the parenting brings uproarious laughter – we’re a comedy act! Clearly, we have quite a journey ahead in the Responsible Parenting department, but the ice has been broken and we have their attention.
Next we ‘break ground’ on the wall: we paint a big white square – the empty canvas. Next the parents, one by one paint some roots – symbolizing that they will provide steady roots for their children in the form of Protection; the Chief and a teacher, plus a couple of elders paint the trunk – their buy-in for keeping an eye on things and taking action where necessary; then some women, chief/elders and a school teacher paint the branches; and then everyone, but particularly the school kids paint the leaves and fruit with their handprints – their signature.
It was a hectic and happy day, which left the team hot and exhausted but pumped. We’d begun…
To keep reading the journal visit click on the link: http://iom.int/cms/en/sites/iom/home/news-and-views/feature-stories/feature-story-listing/diary-of-a-roll-out.html
On behalf of USAIM and IOM Ghana we would like to thank you for your continued support and encourage you to tell others about our work! Stay tuned for more information about the upcoming Bonus Day 12 June – as a Superstar organization any donations made to us on GlobalGiving will be match 50% up to $1,000 per donor.
The IOM counter-trafficking team in Ghana is moving swiftly ahead with plans to implement a new child trafficking and child protection campaign in 2013 called Free To Be Me. The initiative was officially launched in November 2012, and aims to building the capacity of local communities to address and prevent child trafficking and protection violations occurring in the Volta region of Ghana. With support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), IOM is developing a toolkit set to be piloted in 6 communities in Ketu South & North and South Tongu Districts of Ghana’s Volta Region in 2013.
In order to achieve these goals IOM counter-trafficking Field Coordinators conducted a week-long outreach effort in February to meet with government, non-government organizations, community leaders and members. The Free To Be Me toolkit was introduced and input was sought at each meeting.
In the field, the team met with local counter-parts and officials within the North Tongu and South Tongu Districts and Ketu South Municipality. These visits were meant to discuss the toolkit and to pinpoint and understand the problems facing children living in the community from the perspective of the teachers, parents, children, district officials, and chiefs and elders. This information will then be complied and the toolkit will be adjusted to reflect local perspectives on child trafficking and child protection issues.
The meeting with counterparts in South Tongu focused on issues of poverty and parental neglect as causes of child abuse within the district. They emphasized the need for livelihood assistance such as irrigation projects so parents can better take care of their children and live up to their responsibilities. Meanwhile, in North Tongu, local representatives and leaders embraced the project and looked forward to being part of the input and testing process for the toolkit. The main outcome of these discussions revealed that religion and poverty are impacting child protection issues/problems for communities in this region.
The team also traveled to five communities in: North Tongu District, Ketu South Municipality and South Tongu District to hold focus group discussions with school children, teachers, chief/elders, women and the community. The purpose of these meetings was to bring out child protection issues within the communities and suggested solutions. Within all communities, issues relating to education, health and parental care were very prominent.
On the whole, outreach visits were found to be very fruitful despite of the tight time-table. The team will now focus on consolidating information and refining the toolkit.
We invite you to be part of our efforts to help raise awareness on child trafficking and child protection in the Volta region. With your support we can reach many more vulnerable communities and help to rescue and rehabilitate children exposed to dangerous living conditions and forced labour.
Please consider making a donation on 13 March 2013 during Global Giving’s One-Day Matching Campaign. Your donation will be matched at 30% up to USD 1,000 per donor. The matching begins at 9am EST 13 March 2013 and runs through 11:59pm EST. Together we are making a difference in the lives of children in Ghana.
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