Dr John Kingsley Krugu, who chaired the meeting, indicated that it was a follow-up to the recommendations given to the Government of Ghana by the UN permanent missions, following the UPR submissions of several CSOs and the review meeting in Geneva on November 2017. The big surprise to the SRHR Platform was that despite the progress on the national guidelines on CSE in Ghana, the Ghanaian Government noted the recommendation regarding CSE. The SRHR Platform was expecting an outright acceptance of that particular recommendation.
After meeting with the Canadian Embassy the previous week, the meeting with the National Population Council was the next step towards achieving the objective of getting the Government of Ghana to change the status of the CSE recommendation from ‘noted’ to ‘accepted’ before the adoption of the final report on March 15th, 2018.
Dr Appiah informed the SRHR Platform that the National Population Policy and the Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health policy (the latter also including CSE) have already been accepted and are now awaiting Cabinet approval. She stated that this should happen at some point in February 2018. She further clarified that the Ministry of Education has in principle accepted the recommendation to include CSE as part of the curricular review that is due to take place soon. Hence, she was also surprised that Canada’s recommendation on CSE had not been accepted and said that it was most likely due to a lack of communication between the delegation that was in charge of accepting/rejecting/noting recommendations and the Government agencies’ staff responsible for CSE in Ghana.
The goal of the meeting was to find a way on how the recommendation on CSE can be accepted before the March 2018 meeting in Geneva. The SRHR Platform also made Dr Appiah aware that getting the government to accept the recommendation on CSE will enhance CSOs advocacy efforts to secure funding to support the implementation of the national guidelines on CSE. In particular, it was in the interest of Ghana to accept a recommendation from a friendly country like Canada, which was working with UNFPA Ghana to support SRHR work in the country.
Dr Appiah agreed that there is a need to make sure the recommendation is accepted. She suggested writing a letter to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General who led the State delegation to the UPR Session, to draw her attention to the strides already made by the NPC and its partners towards putting CSE in the school curriculum. She believed that such a letter, which should go with accompanying documentation of the on-going efforts, will influence reconsideration of the decision by the State on the recommendation on CSE. In addition, the NPC will attach the UPR outcome report (referencing the response of the State to the recommendation on CSE), a copy of the CSE guideline and CSE manuals. The participants of the meeting agreed that the documents should be forwarded in both hard-copy and soft-copy. The SRHR Platform members will assist in preparing the letter and documents to enable the NPC to submit to the Attorney General accordingly. All documents will be sent to Jonathan Okutu, (of NPC) who will then prepare it for Dr Appiah to send it to the office of the Attorney General. Keeping in mind the deadline of 15th March, the participants agreed that the documents should be forwarded to the Attorney General’s office on Tuesday, January 30th, 2018 at the very latest.
- Dr Leticia Appiah, Executive Director (ED), National Population Council
- Grace Bekwin, Secretary to the ED, National Population Council
- Jonathan Okutu, Technical person on CSE, National Population Council
- Dr John Kingsley Krugu, Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana
- Archibald Adams, Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana
- Wendy Abbey, Human Rights Advocacy Centre
- Natalie Schuck, Human Rights Advocacy Centre
- Eric Anaba, Savanna Signatures
- Harriet Ayitey, Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health
- Alhassan Awal Mohammed, NORSAAC