Ghana’s Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MOGCSP) the Department of Social Welfare in collaboration with the Catholic Relief Service (CRA) have marked the 2021 edition of the International Day of the Family.
The event is celebrated annually to acknowledge the importance of the family system.
The event which took place in Accra on Friday May 14 was on the theme: “Maintaining Our Roots: Strengthening Families in a Changing World”.
Acting Director of the Department of Social Welfare, MOGCSP, Rev. Comfort Asare, speaking on behalf of the Minister of Gender, Sarah Adwoa Sarfo, indicated that the success of countries has largely depended on responsible families.
According to Rev. Comfort Asare, the family is the most important human institution due to its basic and natural unit of society, hence new technologies, demographic shifts, rapid urbanisation, climate, and migration trends have dramatically shaped the world and challenge family cohesion.
“Covid-19 pandemic came with an extensive technological advancement but not without challenges especially for families. Challenges facing families, especially with low-income families are becoming more complex with megatrends including new technologies, demographic shifts, rapid urbanisation, climate change, and migration trends have dramatically shaped the world and affected family cohesion”.
She said there is the need for a new strategy aimed at improving family cohesion and strengthening their protection roles in line with the legal framework to address such trends.
“The Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection cannot achieve its mandate without the support of families. The Government is working hard to find a solution to it. Last year we took 175 children off the street and we are still working to ensure all stakeholders take up their responsibilities to remove over 4000 children found on the streets”.
She seized the opportunity to appeal to all parents to keep close bonds with their children and guide them against the megatrends that have made some children vulnerable to predators.
Touching on the impacts new technologies had on families, Mr Daniel Mumuni, Country Director of CRS said, despite the multiple benefits of new technologies in our daily lives, our inability to manage the complexities at the family level is putting strain on both parents and children, with the potential of changing the nature of families.
Mr. Daniel Mumuni disclosed that more than 70% of households reported that their children were experiencing negative emotions during the height of the pandemic in a UNICEF recent report.
Technology can highlight economic disparities due to the cost of computers, phones, tablets etc. Families who could afford them were able to potentially keep their children in school, but likely saw the impacts of cyberbullying and marginalisation while those who couldn’t afford felt the impacts of the isolation, meaning poverty can be a driver of family separation, he explained.
He added that we must learn to adapt to these trends to maintain the well-being of the families.
“In Ghana, we have always been well aware of our roots. Our customs and traditions are centred on the family unit, meaning nuclear, extended and communal. However, we must work collaboratively to see how we can confront these issues both as families and as Ghanaians”, he said.
He noted that Catholic Relief Services (CRS) will continue to partner with key stakeholders to transform the structural challenge that prevents family and social cohesion to create a better society for all.