The Chief of Staff at the Office of the President, Mrs. Frema Osei Opare, has observed that enhancing social inclusion in all facets of society remained cardinal to ensuring sustainable development.
According to her, getting all stakeholders on board to contribute towards issues relating to social development was a testament that social development, particularly the drive towards achieving a gender-just society with adequate protection for all vulnerable persons, remained a shared goal and a national priority.
The Chief of Staff made these comments at the maiden Summit of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), in Accra.
Speaking on the theme for the summit; ' Promoting Social Inclusion: Leave no one behind', she said that required the effort of stakeholders and also by instituting the requisite institutional and policy framework towards monitoring and tracking progress and deficiencies to ensure that no one was left behind.
Mrs. Opare indicated that the government had adopted a broad and holistic approach through special initiatives coordinated at the level of the presidency, aimed at ensuring that the households were empowered to stay afloat of any form of vulnerability in the first instance.
She commended the ministry for starting the direct community engagement as this was where the impact of the programmes was felt and the issues could be identified and fitted into the plans of the ministry to enable them to be abreast with issues from the beneficiaries.
The Chief of Staff further commended the ministry for expanding the School Feeding Programme and the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) as it had employed more women.
For her part, the Minister for Gender Children and Social Protection, Mrs. Cynthia Mamle Morrison, emphasized that the protection and promotion of the rights of people was an utmost priority of any government that wants to achieve an all-inclusive society and social protection.
"With the appropriate strategies and interventions, such persons can be found a force to reckon with and it was for this reason that the nation's development agenda would not leave the vulnerable by the wayside," she added.
Mrs. Morrison stated that the ministry had over the years, developed many policies, strategies and plans to support the implementation of social intervention programmes in Ghana and key among them were the social protection policy, national gender policy, national school feeding policy, disability act, a five year strategic plan to address teenage pregnancy and a national framework on ending child marriage.
She noted that her outfit was facilitating measures to reduce the administrative cost of the school feeding programme to the barest minimum and stimulate local agricultural growth by improving strategies to facilitate caterers to buy and use local grown foodstuff from local farmers.
To ensure citizens have unfitted access to the social protection services and interventions, Mrs. Morrison stated that a single-window cash management system, helpline of hope had been established within her ministry to receive complains through a toll-free number (0800-800-800, 0800-900-900) and text messages on a shortcode - 8020.
The Chairman for the select Committee on Gender, Children and Social Protection, Dr. Kojo Appiah-Kubi, said that issues of social protection and its related interventions were very essential to national development and the parliament of Ghana was working to get the aged bill, Affirmative action bill and the Children amendment bill passed into law.
He called on the government to allocate more budgets to the sector to enable it to work well and expand its activities more widely.
Giving the objective of the program, the Chief Director for MoGCSP, Dr Afisa Zakariah, said the summit, which was the first of its kind, was to take stock and review the activities of the ministry's performance for the year 2018 and come out with measures that would make them more accessible to all vulnerable.