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Ghana News

Advocacy for Access to Decent Work and Social Protection Schemes: A Call to Action for Journalists

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Journalists have been called upon to promote inclusive development by intensifying conversations and advocacy around issues of access to decent work principles and social protection schemes. This call was made by Esther Ohenewaa Brown, the Communications Manager of ActionAid Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation. She urged journalists to mainstream such issues into their work and engage stakeholders, especially duty bearers, to account for the implementation of their programmes.

Ms Brown emphasized the need for vulnerable groups, particularly rural smallholder farmers, to have access to decent work and social protection schemes to help strengthen their livelihoods and rights and help them to live dignified lives. The Communication Manager made this call on the sidelines of a two-day media training workshop on decent work principles and social protection schemes held in Bolgatanga, organised by ActionAid Ghana as part of the implementation of the Northern Ghana Integrated Project and funded by the European Union.

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The training aimed to equip journalists with knowledge and skills to raise awareness and advocate for the expansion of social protection schemes such as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), the National Health Insurance Scheme and School Feeding Programme among others, to cover more rural communities. It was also aimed at building the capacity of journalists to influence government policies on decent work at the local assembly and national level, to develop a clear roadmap for the enforcement of decent work principles in the agriculture sector.

Ms Brown lamented that many smallholder farmers, particularly women, did not have decent work, and those engaged by agribusinesses did not have contracts and any level of social security. She observed that the COVID-19 pandemic had further accelerated the vulnerability of people, especially smallholder farmers, compelling them to accept jobs without any security, and underscored the need to address the challenges they faced to ensure decency at work.

For the most part, some of the existing social protection schemes such as the LEAP, NHIS, school feeding programme and access to financing for women among others were not benefiting the vulnerable in some cases but rather those who were politically connected. Ms Brown called for the institutions mandated to deliver these public services to do the targeting right and not give it to people who are not supposed to receive it.

In conclusion, Dr Eliasu Mumuni, the Vice Dean, Faculty of Communication and Media Studies at the University for Development Studies, noted that smallholder farmers, particularly women, contributed significantly to the economy but faced numerous challenges.

He said it was imperative for journalists to appreciate those challenges and prioritise them in their work to ensure that issues affecting vulnerable communities were addressed for sustainable development. The Upper East Regional Manager of ActionAid Ghana reiterated the commitment of the organisation to contribute to developing rural communities and urged the media to support their efforts.

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