Mobilising support example:
International street children day
|Organisation||Street Children Project|
SummaryThe public in Ghana generally sees street children as menaces, thugs and criminals. Little is done by the authorities to improve the situation and help the children to leave the streets. On the International Day for Street Children (on April 12 of each year) Street Children Project (SCP), an initiative of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kumasi, organised a float around the principal streets of Kumasi. The aim was to challenge negative perceptions of street children, highlight their potential and encourage the public and decision makers to look at the children without preconceived ideas, so that they are no longer invisible and ignored.
It is estimated that around 20.000 children are living and/or working on the streets of Kumasi, Ghana. These street children generally come from the northern regions of Ghana or from the rural areas around Kumasi. The numbers are rising quickly, meaning that more and more children are at risk from exploitation, abuse, poverty, disease as well as many other threats encountered daily on the streets. Shockingly the public in Ghana generally sees these children as menaces, thugs and criminals. Little is done by the authorities to improve the situation and help the children to leave the streets.
The International Day for Street Children takes place on 12th April each year, providing a platform for millions of street children around the world to speak out so that their rights cannot be ignored. This year the Identity Campaign challenged negative perceptions of street children, highlighting their potential and encouraging the public and decision makers to look at the children without preconceived ideas, so that they are no longer invisible and ignored.
Which stakeholders (NGO’s, government, private sector) did you identify as allies and how did you involve them?
NGO’s such as Defence for Children and other NGO’s working with and for street children, government (the local Welfare Department and the Child Trafficking Unit, the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly), the university (KNUST - Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology). Street Children Project invited representatives of other NGO’s in their network. They also invited local media to cover the day.
Which stakeholders did you identify as opponents and why were they opposed?
General public and some decision makers, who regard street children as thugs and criminals.
How did you involve your beneficiaries in the stakeholder analysis/campaign?
Street Children Project has been interacting with marginalised youth and street children for many years. They have a drop-in-centre where street children can come and talk to the staff, and staff members also visit the children during street work. Listening to the beneficiaries is very much embedded in the programmes for instance by holding and facilitating regular meetings with the street children to discuss their challenges and how best to overcome these.
Short description of the organisation implementing the action/campaign
The Street Children Project is an initiative of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kumasi. The project was established in 2005 to address the problems of vulnerable young women and children who are displaced and homeless in Kumasi city. The Project is managed by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul, a female religious congregation founded in 1633 for the service of the poor. The project activities are carried out by 12 full time staff members and several volunteers. The services provided to street children and ‘at risk’ youth are: street outreach, counselling and basic education programmes at the Drop-in centre, early childhood care at the Crèche, skills training, formal education and family tracing, mediation, and reintegration. The Street Children Project was supported by Adamfo Ghana, a Dutch charity passionate about creating a better future for street children and youth in Ghana (www.adamfoghana.com).
February 1 until April 12 2016
The International Day for Street Children takes place on 12th April each year, providing a platform for millions of street children around the world to speak out so that their rights cannot be ignored. In 2016 Street Children Project chose to mark the day with a float around the principal streets of Kumasi. The aim was to challenge negative perceptions of street children, highlight their potential and encourage the public and decision makers to look at the children without preconceived ideas, so that they are no longer invisible and ignored.
The general public perceived the float positively and many people listening to the speeches and watching the float and placards commented that this was a good initiative.
Some teachers of promising but very poor students came to Street Children Project to ask for help (scholarships) to enable the students to continue their education in High School.
The number of street children coming to the office/drop-in-house of Street Children Project increased, as they now know the NGO and know what work they do and how they can be helped.
Representatives of the local Welfare Department and the Child Trafficking Unit took part in the float and held a speech during the celebrations. They asked the public to be more understanding and pledged more support in their policy making.
Description of preparatory activities
Preparations included: fundraising to pay for the costs, contacting other NGO’s, representatives of government, media, university, etc. Also announcing on the streets to the children and public living and working in the city centre. Arranging for the brass band, food preparation and police accompaniment. Making the placards, flyers and T-shirts.
Description of implementation
12 April 2016: As early as 7:30 am Ghana time, hundreds of enthusiastic children arrived and gathered at the SCP Center, waiting for the commencement of the day’s activities. The day began with the sharing of T-shirts to the children. Over 500 children were gathered to share the 250 T-shirts that were meant for the children. Thus half the number of children gathered had no T-shirts; nonetheless they were encouraged to participate in the march. All children, SCP staff, Vebego Foundation Volunteers, representative of SamenWerk Foundation and other stakeholders filed into lines. The float began with a prayer led by the Board chairman of SCP, Msgr. Gabriel Acheampong. The march took over the streets attracting lots of supporters who joined the march and attention from commuters. The float was accompanied by a wonderful brass band group.
The float started at 9:00 am. Apart from Vebego Foundation and SamenWerk Foundation students from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) also took part in this exercise and all participants helped with the organisation of the children for the float. Two representatives each from the Child Trafficking Unit and Social Welfare of Kumasi honoured the occasion with their presence to demonstrate their support for children in street situation. Over 500 children in street situation in Kumasi as well as girls enrolled at the Vocational Training Centre joined the staff and volunteers of SCP for the float. During the float, children spoke up to the general public with the use of placards. The placards had inscriptions like “Street Children have Identity”; “Value Street Children”; “Care for Street Children”; “Street Children have a Right”; “Stop Ignoring Us”, etc.
The representatives from the Child Trafficking Unit gave a speech on the “Right of the Child” to the public as the float continued. There were media men from five media houses covering the entire programme. After a long and tiring walk through the designated streets of Kumasi, all participants of the float returned to the premises of the Project. The children who participated in the float were treated to food and drinks to help replenish their lost energy.
Description of time investment
Preparation: 15 days by staff member and one volunteer.
Actual action: one day by all staff and volunteers of SCP (about 25 people).
ACCOUNT OF THE CELEBRATION OF INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR STREET CHILDREN 12 APRIL 2016
Scripts and tools used
Banners were used on social media to create awareness