PROVISION OF SOCIAL PROTECTION SUPPORT TO RESIDENTS OF ALLEGED WITCH CAMPS

In fulfilment of the pledge made to offer special support to inmates of alleged witch camps in the Northern and North East Regions during her assessment visit of the camps back in August 2020, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Cynthia Mamle Morrison together with some key staff have embarked on a two-day working visit to the alleged witch camps.

The two-day working visit is being held from Thursday,19th to Friday, 20th November, 2020 at the Gambaga, Gnani, Kukuo, Kpatinga and Leli Dabaari camps.

Addressing inmates of the Gambaga witches camp, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Cynthia Mamle Morrison said government has put in place several measures to support all Ghanaians especially the poor and the vulnerable in the wake of the Corona virus pandemic. This she said includes the provision of free water and electricity, provision of nutritious hot meal for Ghanaians during the partial lockdown, free health care and the provision of hot meals for BECE and JHS 2 candidates.

Hon. Cynthia Mamle Morrison added that government is committed to ensuring that the welfare of all Ghanaians are catered for and that no one is left behind in the national growth and development agenda.

She disclosed that inmates of the alleged witches camps prefer to live in the camps due to reintegration challenges which includes rejection, stigmatization and re-accusation.

To holistically address the phenomenon of witchcraft accusations and violence against alleged witches and wizards and the continuous existence of camps, the Minister announced the use of the short, medium and long term approach.

“In the medium term, inmates will be linked to social protection interventions such as LEAP and NHIS, access to water and sanitation will be improved.” She said.

For the long term, the Minister said steps will be taken to disband the camps and reintegrate the alleged witches into their various communities.

The Minister also announced that, in line with government’s drive to improve the living conditions of all Ghanaians especially the extremely poor and vulnerable, a scope of the Ghana Productive Safety Net Project (GPSNP) has been restructured. The restructuring according to her ensures the provision of emergency cash transfers to extremely poor and vulnerable persons as well as households who are not on any social protection programmes but are hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coordinator of the Go-Home Project at the Gambaga witch camp, Mr Sampson Laar thanked the Minister for the support.

He made a passionate appeal to the minister to help provide a vehicle for the camp to aid in their movement.

Mr. Sampson Laar also said the vehicle when provided will help in transporting sick inmates to the hospital.

Deputy North East Regional Minister, Hon. Tahiru Tia Ahmed thanked the Ministry for their support to inmates of the Gambaga witch camp.

The Minister donated items such as mattresses, bags of rice, tubers of yam, bags of rice and maize, bags of beans, pieces clothes, cartons of tomatoes, gallons of cooking oil, nose masks, hand sanitizers and veronica buckets to inmates of the Gambaga camp.

Items donated at the Gambaga camp will be replicated in all the camps.

Present were the Chief Director, Dr. Afisah Zakariah, Social Protection Director, Dr. Rita Owusu-Amankwah, National Coordinator of GNHR, Dr. Prosper Laari, Head of Human Trafficking Secretariat, Madam Abena Annobea Asare, Head of LEAP, Mr Myles Ongoh and the Head of LEAP payment Mr. Richard Azina Nartey.

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