The United Nations Population Fund Ghana (UNFPA Ghana) has urged Ghanaians to continue to preach against gender-based violence even as the 16 Days of Activism come to an end.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual campaign that begins on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs through International Human Rights Day on 10 December.
The campaign is supported by the United Nations through the Secretary General’s ‘UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women’ initiative. This year, the UN marked the 16 Days under the theme “UNiTE! Activism to end violence against women and girls”.
Speaking at a vigil held by the United Nations Population Fund Ghana in honour of survivors of gender-based violence, a Representative from the Domestic Violence Unit of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Safia Kamimu, called on Ghanaians to carry on the campaign against gender-based violence beyond the globally recognized 16 Days of Activism.
“16 days of activism is here with us even though it is ending tomorrow, but it doesn’t mean that the activism is also ending. The activism continues even after the 16 days of activism. When we have to look at the data with respect to SGBV [Sexual and Gender-Based Violence], it is actually astonishing that means we still have a lot to do, even after the 16 days of activism. So, I’ll just use this platform to encourage us, as girls and women, to try to do whatever we can in our power, to avoid gender-based violence,” she said.
Safia Kamimu also called on men to aid in the fight against gender-based violence by putting an end to the violent practices meted out to women.
“To the men, the fathers who tend to use their own daughters, as sex slaves, please kindly stop it. It wouldn’t help us. To the men; who abuse their domestic assistants, please kindly stop it. It will not help us. We encourage all of you to kindly join us in the fight against this SGBV, we can’t do it alone, and that is why we are here for everybody to see. We are really fighting towards ending this SGBV, this is sexual and gender violence, this also includes domestic violence and all that and we can’t do it on our own,” she added.
Speaking to UniversNews at the Vigil, Executive Director of Purim African Youth Development Platform – an Implementing Partner with UNFPA Ghana -, Rev. Aku Xornam Kevi called on communities to be more self-aware and intentional about creating developmental projects to aid in putting a stop to gender-based violence.
“One of the important things that UNFPA is doing in this program is the integrated approach, I, for example, work with kayayei and we are using an integrated approach that is providing sexual and productive health information and SDG information. We are giving livelihood empowerment. In some of the communities we are going to, some of the community members, through the awareness, are saying that ‘I want to give out land’. Some of the communities we went to didn’t have junior high schools, but the next time we went to the communities, they had built junior high schools.
We cannot build schools, but all we can do is to create awareness among the communities. The communities themselves will say that they want to build schools for themselves. That is the most sustainable way to work. When the communities become aware that we must move ahead in life. If we want to have better men, better women, and more empowered people in the community, then I believe we would be having some progress,” she said.
Photos from UNFPA Ghana’s vigil in honour of gender-based violence survivors
Story by: Kelly Adjetey Boye | univers.ug.edu.gh