Saturday, April 19, 2008

Coalition monitors implementation of DV Bill

Coalition monitors implementation of DV Bill

Daily Graphic, Saturday, April 19, 2008, Page 17 (Women’s World)

Rebecca Quaicoe Duho

After making contributions successfully agitating for five years for the passage of the Domestic Violence Law (DV Law), gender activists in the country have not relented their efforts to ensure peace in the domestic setting. The activists who formed the DV Coalition, constitute a pressure group still monitoring the implementation procedures of the law and are calling for a speedy implementation of a National Plan of Action (NPA) to make the law effective.

The DV Law which was passed by parliament in February last year after a lot of consultations and education had been done by both government and gender activists, offers protection to people in the domestic setting.

The law, among other things, provides for setting up of a management board to see to its enforcement, calls for the establishment of a fund for victims of domestic violence and the provision of temporal shelters for them.

After the passage of the law which makes the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs the implementing ministry, a series of consultations had been organized by the ministry which brought on board members of the DV Coalition and other stakeholders, including the police. The consultative meetings were aimed at drafting a plan of action and that was finalized during the last meeting held earlier this year.

To ensure that provisions made in the law are implemented, members of the DV Coalition on Thursday organised a luncheon where they invited the Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs, Hajia Alima Mahama and some officials from her ministry to brief them on the progress so far made with the drafting of the NPA for the implementation of the DV Law.

The luncheon was sponsored by the Ark Foundation, a member of the DV Coalition and the National Advocacy Project (NAP), a project put together by the Ark Foundation aimed at bringing together relevant stakeholders in the government and non-governmental agencies for the provision of a holistic and effective response to violence against women and children and domestic violence in general.

The meeting was attended by the minister and her Chief Director, Mr. Valentine Kuuzumi, the acting Director of the Department of Women, Mrs. Francesca Phobee-Hayford, Mrs. Marian Tackie, a Chief Director of the ministry and Mr. Emmson Daniel Kattah, Director of Policy, Plan, Monitoring and Evaluation. They were quizzed by members of the coalition on how far the ministry had initiated a plan of action and the establishment of a management board as prescribed by the law.

They also wanted to know how much money had been allocated into the implementation of the DV Law by the ministry as well as how much donor support the ministry had received with regard to the implementation of the DV Law. The Chief Director introduced the action Executive Co-ordinator of the DV Secretariat, Ms Christina Ankamah, who has been appointed by the ministry to oversee the management of the DV Secretariat.

Touching on some of the issues raised by members of the coalition, the Chief Director assured the coalition the management board had been formed and assured them that they were awaiting the President’s nomination to serve on the board for it to be inaugurated.

On the issue of funds, Mrs. Phobee-Hayford said an amount of GH¢ 1.7 m has been earmarked for the implementation of some provisions of the DV Law this year, saying that the ministry has allotted an amount of GH¢ 1,226,00 to the secretariat while the Netherlands Embassy has pledge a three year fund of 1.2 million Euros to support the law.

She said the ministry was still in the process of mobilizing funds and that the United Nations Development fund (UNDP) and the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) were also getting on board. She said for this year, the ministry has drawn up 50 activities that would be undertaken with regard to the implementation of the DV Law.

The Minister said the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have been sensitised to the issue of gender budgeting and that the ministry would ensure that MDAs adhered to the directive which she said had been adopted as a national policy.

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