Tuesday, 22 June 2010 16:40

GHANA: Children Demand Child-Friendly Budget


Ghanaian children have called on African leaders to allocate a sizeable percentage of their budgets to the development of children, arguing that investing in children today will yield immense benefits for posterity.

They also demand of governments and parents to put them first in their development plans because they are the future leaders.

The children made these requests at a press conference jointly organized by the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MOWAC) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) last Wednesday in Accra in commemoration of the African Union (AU) Day of the Child.

This year's anniversary was under the theme "Planning and Budgeting for Children: Our Collective Responsibility". June 16 is observed as AU Day of the Child. It brings to limelight issues affecting the development and wellbeing of the African child as well as draws attention to the present conditions of African children.

Master Frank Appiah, a form two pupil of Osu Salem Junior High School (JHS), who read the statement on behalf of the children of Ghana, recalled that at the 1990 world leaders summit on children, a promise was made to the children that an appreciable budgetary allocation would be devoted to children's development.

"As we celebrate this day we draw the attention of world leaders. We learnt that planning and budgeting involve choices with our limited resources. It is therefore important for us to put our needs in order of importance, so that we tackle the most important ones first. The question then is, are we on top of government and our parent's list? This question is best answered by how our governments and families plan their budgets," he pointed out.

According to him, they have learnt about many things including why they do not get all the monies they are supposed to, and gender budgeting, which they consider as very important when budgeting for a larger group of people. He said they are equally happy to know about how governments prioritizes health, education and agriculture in their budgets.

"Not all children in Ghana get the opportunity to be educated. Even as we speak ,some are on the street through no fault of theirs.How are we budgeting and planning for these ones, even for our friends in school who face problems, what are we putting aside to make their lives comfortable," he bemoaned.

On her part, Ms. Roxanne Tsegah, a JHS one pupil of May's Educational Centre in Accra, commended the government for School Feeding Programme, but said like Oliver Twist they always wanted some more for the enhancement of their development.

"When we receive priority it will reflect in our lives in the future. In short we are asking for child friendly budgets. We've mentioned governments and families but budgeting every where is important and therefore we urge our communities also not to forget us when budgeting," she advised.

She believed that all that they have learnt would place them in a better position to be responsible adults in future to manage the country's resources better than ever expected," she concluded.

Source: Public Agenda (Accra, Ghana)

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