CHILD PROTECTION SYSTEMS AND CHILD BEGGING IN WA MUNICIPALITY OF THE UPPER WEST REGION OF GHANA

FamilyKids & Teens

  • Author Alhassan Abakpon Faali
  • Published February 26, 2024
  • Word count 8,724

ABSTRACT

The Child Protection System in Ghana has been decentralized to make all services responsive and accessible at the local level and closer everyone

The existence of begging in Ghana and most especially Wa municipal is a historical phenomenon. In the past, it was interpreted in religious and geographical terms where the beggars were said to be destitute Muslims due to the poverty situation in the area. This study looks at the position of Islam on begging. It also highlights good ways of raising a child in Wa municipal and why parents send their children to beg. Interviews were used to explore the perspectives of some key in-informant include Municipal Directors of some social administration departments (Department of Children, Social Welfare, GES) regarding child begging in the municipality and data were also collected.

The study was set out to assess the child protection system and child begging in Wa Municipality of the Upper West region of Ghana. The focus was on how the phenomenon actually works in practice relative to the norms and values of the society and how this affects the lives of the children. The policy-implementation process requires transparency, ongoing monitoring and evaluation. Recommendations such as rigorous advocacy programmes on child protection systems and child begging in the Municipality. A more systematic approach to analyzing and reporting on child protection system and child begging in the Wa Municipality. Build on the sense of pride and ownership of the people to generate enthusiasm for continued quality efforts are various ways to combat the rate of begging among children in the Wa municipality.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background

The Child Protection System in Ghana has been decentralized to make all services responsive and accessible at the local level and closer everyone. While the provision of services has improved in some sectors, social services in some municipalities and district assemblies, to address different child rights and gender-based violations remain unresponsive, fragmented and uncoordinated.

The link between systems such as social protection, community development, and prevention of gender-based violence, justice for children, education and health at the district level is inadequate.

UNICEF and other development partners are focused on strengthening the child protection system. In 1990, Ghana was the first country in the world to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child and it is party to many other international instruments relating to child protection like:

• The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

• The International Labour Organization Convention No.182 on the worst forms of child labour.

Children are considered to be the custodians of tomorrow’s world. The continuous existence of tomorrow’s world is dependent on its ability to socialize its children into responsible adults. The future of any society is dependent on the quality of its children and its dedication to their protection (Fortes, 1978; Oppong, 1973; Boakye-Boaten, 2010). Thus, Kangsangbata (2008) cautions that, any nation wary of its future should take its children and their issues very seriously especially in cases where poverty and deprivation are pervasive. National policies should therefore prioritize the wellbeing of the child, their protection and development.

In view of the above, the African family traditionally puts measures in place to ensure the survival and proper socialization of children. The survival of the child is the fulfilment of the fundamental kingship, political and religious obligation of the entire community. Children were thus valuable for the entire community, which had structures and systems in place to ensure their adequate growth and wellbeing (Fortes, 1978).

Child protection and survival was not only the preserve of the family; the state also played an integral role. Past and current governments have come up with policies to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the child. There was for instance the establishment of the Department of Social Welfare in 1940, the Children’s Maintenance Act in 1965, the Maintenance of Children Decree in 1977 and the Ghana National Commission on Children in 1979. Also, the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU), 1998, was formed to address violence against women and children and to provide support for children without fathers (Mensah-Bonsu& Hammond, 1994). Recently, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection developed and launched the Child and Family Welfare Policy (CFWP) in 2015. “The policy comprises laws, programs, services and structures which sought to promote the wellbeing of the child by ensuring safety and protection from harm, achieving permanency and strengthening families to care for their children successfully” (Child and Family Welfare Policy: p. IV).

Over the years, there have been changes within the Ghanaian family which have affected the care for children. Families have now become more nucleated. This has affected the extended family system which supported communalism and reciprocity in the care for children. Most scholars have linked this change to socio-economic transformations (globalization and modernization). Many stakeholders have come to the realization of the problem of street children, but the condition is still prevalent because it has not received urgent and practical attention. Governmental policies do not amount to positive results because they are not challenged by internal or external elements. Child begging is on the rise which is a deviation from normative begging which often involves disabled persons (Kassah, 2008). Could it be that the incentives from begging have attracted children into the act? Or perhaps, the influx of migrant families from neighbouring African countries who beg using their children have attracted Ghanaian children to engage I n the act as most news outlets report? This study therefore investigates the push and pull factors associated with Child Street begging in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West region.

1.2 Problem Statement

The breakdown of family care structure and improper implementation of governmental policies for children have resulted in the lack of parental oversight for many children. As a result, there has been a rise of children who spend time on the streets, with a whole lot of them taken to begging on the streets for survival. Elsewhere, it has been found that child begging is rooted in family pressures or change in family structure, characterized by the breakdown of the extended family system and family cohesion, waywardness, lack of social conscience, social unrest and religion (Awatey 2014). Again, using children as beggars according to Owusu-Sekyere et al. (2018) has become a social and economic construction that mediates how poverty is dealt with in livelihood challenges. Children are forced to beg mostly for single parents or non-biological relatives due to poverty.

In Ghana, begging is anti-social and considered criminal offence punishable by law under the Beggars and Destitute Act 1969; Section 2. This notwithstanding, the phenomenon is ripe in most urban centers. Beggars are thus often prone to abuse; whether children or adults. Generally, children who beg are more vulnerable as compared to adults.

Children are to be nurtured; thus, they require a defined social structure which would enable them grow peacefully. The street is a place full of harshness and unpredictability. Thus most children begging on the streets are denied their basic and human right including right to education, wellbeing etc. Education helps to develop the child’s mental and physical ability, personality and talents to the finest degree and prepares him or her for an active adult life in society. Children street beggars are therefore denied this opportunity of self-development. If children miss the opportunity to develop fully as responsible adults the economy of Ghana is bound to face difficulties in some years to come since they represent the future social capital and human resource of the country. (Kangsangbata, 2008).

1.3 Research Questions

1.3.1 Main Research Question

The central question that forms the basis of this study is; Child Protection System and its implication on child begging in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West region of Ghana.

1.3.2 Specific Research Questions

  1. What are the child protection systems in Wa municipality?

  2. Are the child protection system on begging effective in the Wa Municipality?

3). what are the causes of child begging in the Wa Municipality?

  1. What are the available solutions to the causes of child begging in the Wa Municipality?

1.4 Research Objectives

1.4.1 Main Research Objective

The main objective of the study is to assess the implication of the child protection system and child begging in the Wa Municipality.

1.4. 2 Specific Research Objectives

The specific objectives are;

  1. To identify available child protection systems in Wa Municipality

  2. To assess the effectiveness of the child protection system on begging in the Wa Municipality.

  3. To identify the causes of child begging in the Wa Municipality.

  4. To identify the solutions to the causes of child begging in the Wa Municipality

1.5 Significance of the Study

The relevance of the study stems out from the fact that children are the future leaders of every society and the effectiveness of the child protection system in relation to child begging will be examined. The outcome of this assessment will provoke policy makers, government and NGOs inputs into the discussions about the need to be collectively involved in the implementation of child protection activities. Many organizations are mindful of committing resources to solving problems but careful to measure their results from time to time, and the results defect from the objective, new strategies are required. Therefore, in this study a measure of the impact of the programme for implementation will provide the needed boast for the institutions.

Again, this research will provide an external evidence base for reference by society and the academia in the child begging discourse.

1.6 Limitation of the Study

The challenges of the study was time and other logistics, delay in respondents completing questionnaires. In this regard, the study pointed out various measures to ensure that the anticipated challenges are minimized to give credibility and reliability to the results obtained.

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Introduction

This section presents an overview of the study on Child Protection System and Child Begging in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West region of Ghana. The review covers various thematic areas as elaborated below. Apart from highlighting some key results of the literature on Child Protection System and Child Begging, the discussion brings to the fore some knowledge gap.

2.2 Systems of Child Care in Ghana

Child care is very essential to the development of the child. This section looks at child care under the traditional family, child care during the phase of changes in the traditional family system and some social protection policies of the state in relation to child care.

2.2.1 The traditional Family and Child Care in Ghana

The family as society’s basic unit has undergone structural and functional modification. Thus, to understand present social conditions, Nukunya argues that there is the need to make reference to yesterday.

Most scholars have argued that, the concept of family to the African is difficult to conceptualize in precise terms. Siquana-Ndulo (1998) explains that, family in the African context does not conform to the Western understanding which refers to the conjugal pair with their offspring or adopted children; rather it is a much complex term. It is not surprising that Hume (2008:48) says that “it is difficult for the African to distinguish siblings as to the womb they came from”, because in the African parlance there is no word to connote “cousin”; cousins are siblings.

Nukunya defines the family as “a group of individuals related to one another by ties of consanguinity, marriage or adoption; the adult members of which are responsible for the upbringing of children” (2003:49). He further explains that the term family and kinship is one that could be used interchangeably. Meaning anyone part of a kin group could be classified as family which is sometimes termed as the extended family.

Child care was not the preserve of the biological parents of a child. It was done collectively by adult members of the family. Although a child’s own parents are responsible for its maintenance, they do not take as exclusive a share in its upbringing. A child grows in a household where there are many adults and older children. In the traditional Kamba of Eastern Kenya for example, children were of high value, they belonged to everyone in the community and as such were not the exclusive responsibility of the extended family but also the larger clan of the nuclear family (Mair, 2013).

Families engaged in practices of reciprocity and corporation to ensure the proper upbringing of a child. Among the Dagaaba/Wala and Ewe societies also, older members of the kin provided moral and financial contribution to the care of children. Families socialized and bore the entire costs of the upbringing of the child. This was based on the principle that adult members were responsible for molding and socializing children into a responsible adult (Nanbigne, 2004; Nukunya, 1969).

Children with deceased parents (orphans) were not left out in the fostering process. Ansah-Koi (2006) argues that, children with only one deceased parent were not classified as orphans since remarriage could occur. Although, such children could be fostered with the permission of the living parent especially in cases where the living parent does not have the needed resource for child care. Frimpong-Manso notes that the kinship foster care was based on the values of altruism, reciprocity and the fear of reprisal from deceased kinsmen. Care for children with deceased parents (orphans) was mainly as a result of the fear of the spirits of deceased parent, especially the deceased mother who watches how her child is treated and rewards with calamity foster parents who neglect their charges (Frimpong-Manso, 2014). Fostering was not only limited to orphaned children as members of the family who are rich were required to take care of children whose parents could not afford the brunt of child care.

In as much as children were very important to the traditional African family, Frimpong-Manso (2014) argues that there were cases when the rights of the child were infringed upon. This was because children were considered properties. Systems such as trokosi, female genital mutilation, and early marriages were some of the traditional practices that caused harm to the child. Suda (1997) also argues that in polygamous homes, children were likely to face abuse where there are problems of jealousy, conflict and insufficient resources.

2.2.2 Social protection policies for children in Ghana

Child care is not only the preserve of families. The state recognizes the importance of caring for children thus colonial, post-colonial, and today’s governments have set up organizations which have come up with policies and initiatives for child protection.

European missionaries were the first group to provide assistance for children instead of the extended family in Ghana under colonialism. Their activities were mainly centered on caring for children who were abandoned, orphaned, infirmed or had certain cultural inhibitions which prevented them from being raised. Their activities stretched to urban centers where the kinship system of fostering was not in existence (Hill, 1962; Frimpong-Manso, 2014).

In 1940, there was the establishment of the Department of Social Welfare (DSW). Child welfare therefore got a bit more attention. The DSW was basically established for reformatory purposes and industrial training for juvenile delinquents. This was aimed at inculcating in children the need to lead an industrious and honest life (Apt et al, 1998; Frimpong-Manso, 2014).

Although the colonial system made provision for children, Frimpong-Manso argues that their style was foreign and detrimental to the needs of the indigenous people. The system he explains was incompatible with the values, structure and concepts of child care in the traditional system as it failed to indulge the extended family system utterly disregarding its responsibilities in the care of children (Frimpong-Manso, 2014). However, what Frimpong-Manso failed to acknowledge was that, society had undergone rapid change under colonialism. People had been indoctrinated toward the western style of living and therefore the extended family system was not as strong as it was before the advent of colonialism.

After independence, developmental approaches of governments focused more on economic growth with the underlying assumption that, there would be massive elevation of persons from poverty which would trickle down to children (Baldassar et al., 2014). In as much as there was an increase, Baldassar et al. (2014) argue that the concept of child welfare development was not prominent until the realization that the quality of life of a child is equally important to the general wellbeing of a nation hence there was the need to put in place strategies for their survival. In 1961, the then Ghanaian government made available provision of funds to initiate child sensitive policies such as the Education Act which made basic education free and improved the school enrolment of children (Baldassar et al., 2014).

The introduction of Structural Adjustment Programs in Ghana during the 1980’s due to economic hardships and political instability, affected women and children most (Awumbila, 2006; Oppong, 1987). Child protection policies took a new turn. There was the adoption of the child welfare provision employed during colonial period. Residential care continued as the main form of provision for children who were in need of alternative care (Frimpong-Manso, 2014).

There was also the enactment of the Maintenance Act which was to deal with paternity and maintenance issues in 1965. The act faced challenges as there were difficulties in accessing income. The Maintenance of Children Decree was therefore passed to replace the Maintenance Act in 1979. This law was established to adjudicate on child maintenance by setting up family tribunals and by so doing made both parents liable to the maintenance of their child or children as well as registration of deaths and births (Frimpong-Manso, 2014).

Also, in 1979 the ministry of Foreign Affairs established the Ghana National Commission on Children (GNCC) to protect the welfare and development of children and also to coordinate agencies that provided child services and also to advice the government on child legislation. The GNCC was short lived as it lacked funds. It therefore became ineffective (Frimpong-Manso, 2014).

In 1990, Ghana became the maiden country globally to ratify the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The 1992 constitution therefore mandated parliament to enact child related legislation guided by the tenets of international human rights instruments. A five-year plan labelled “The Child cannot Wait” was also implemented from 1993 to 1997 to reflect on the provisions of the UNCRC to circumstances of children in Ghana. What the government did not take into consideration was implementation. Thus like the GNCC the plan was not fruitful (Frimpong-Manso, 2014).

Again, in 1998, there was the establishment of the Children’s Act which Frimpong-Manso (2014) and Laird (2002) describes as an imitation of the 1989 Children’s Act of England and Wales. Laird argues that Ghana sought to enforce a legislation of the UNCRC which was initiated and examined by the welfare and legal professionals of the British 1989 Children’s Act bringing about the resemblance between the Ghanaian Children’s Act and the British Children’s Act. He further asserts that the resemblance could also be as a result of donor agencies having influence on structuring policies they fund (Laird, 2002).

The Ghanaian Children’s Act had as its main focus to reform and consolidate the law in relation to children, to provide for the rights of the child, maintenance and adoption of the child and to regulate child labour and apprenticeship. It recognizes that children’s right to life, dignity, respect, leisure, liberty, health, education, and shelter is very paramount to the proper development of every child. The rights of parents to their child or children are also made evident. Parents have the responsibility and right, be it imposed by law or otherwise, to protect the child from neglect, discrimination, violence, abuse, and exposure to physical and moral hazards just to name a few. In all, the best interest of the child must be of paramount concern. Laird (2002) argues that although the act is a reflection of the UNCRC, it is confronted by cultural and socio-economic factors which are different from that of Britain or America. For instance, with the principle of the “best interest of a child”, Britain and America emphasize autonomy and individuality in the protection of a minor whereas Ghanaian culture stresses on communal obligation and needs.

The Children’s Act became the main law governing child welfare in Ghana. It brought into existence laws to regulate child care facilities and also paved way for other child welfare legislation such as the Juvenile Justice Act (2003) and the Human Trafficking Act (2005)

There was also the launch of the Care Reform Initiative which was a component of the national plan of action for orphaned and vulnerable children in 2006. This initiative also took up a United States approach. It was to strengthen the capacities of families through support services in order to keep children within their original families and communities (Frimpong-Manso, 2014).

In 2008, the Government of Ghana with support from the World Bank and the Department for International Development (DFID) launched the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty program (LEAP). This is a social cash transfer initiative that provides cash and health insurance to extremely poor households across the country. LEAP makes use of targeting with the help of the Ghana Living Standards Survey to draw a map in locating districts and communities to be selected as beneficiaries of the program. Indeed, targeting is good but Baldassar et al (2014) emphasize that targeting can leave out and include those who are not really in need of help. For example, the poverty map of the beneficiaries of LEAP points to rural communities, this does not mean that all persons found in urban centres are well to do yet the urban poor do not often benefit from the LEAP program. Debrah (2013) argues that, the initiative is assumed to have a trickling down effect which means that, when the financial capacity of the poor has been strengthened, the surplus would be recorded in the form of increased school enrolment among children, reduced infant mortality rate and improved nutrition and health of the child. He contends that, any poverty-reduction strategy that focuses on cash distribution to the extreme poor will not bring about change in their livelihoods because it perpetuates the problem it is designed to solve. There are social and cultural underpinnings which need to be addressed, therefore, the distribution of money is definitely not the best solution. Although LEAP may provide for a short term need, children are still dropping out of school and the poor continue to remain poor (Debrah, 2013).

Recently, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) with support from UNICEF came up with the Child and Family Welfare Policy (CFWP) in 2015. In her introductory note, Nana Oye Lithur who was the then Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, emphasized that, previous child protection policies were modeld under Anglo Saxon traditions and models. She stated that for child protection policies to work efficiently in Ghana it needs to reflect the different traditions, cultures, values and resources of beneficiaries. The CFWP was therefore formed out of the views expressed by various stake holders to have a policy system fit for Ghana in order to address issues holistically (MoGCSP, 2015).

The CFWP conceptualizes children into two (constitutional and traditional) that is, a person under the age of eighteen and also a person who is still largely dependent on an adult for the necessities of life. Mainly, the policy refers to the family and social structures mainly in the rural areas where the traditional institutions of family heads, chiefs, queen mothers and elders are still prevalent. In urban centres it looks at community structures which include the District Assembly and other state institutions to which children and families have recourse. The main rational of the policy is to provide guidance to the reform of child and family welfare programs and activities and establishes a coherent system (MoGCSP, 2015), yet it fails to recognize new forms of families which are in urban areas such as female headed households and the nuclear family.

Indeed, there are a lot of governmental policies and interventions for children yet, children still suffer inequalities and are left on their own to fend for themselves. Could it be as a result of inadequate enforcement of implementation of policies or as a result of lack of funding that these policies do not seem to work for its intended purposes?

2.4 Child Begging

The phenomenon of begging is a worldwide problem although it is much prevalent in developing countries. Begging as defined by Lynch (2005) is “the solicitation of a voluntary unilateral gift most often money in a public place”. . In England, begging is illegal and has been considered a problem since the 1980’s. Also begging in most Australian states (Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria, Northern territory and South Austria) criminal and punishable by imprisonment or a fine. The Australian Vagrancy Act 1966 provides that any person who begs or gathers alms or procures or encourages a child to beg or gather alms shall be guilty of an offence with a prescribed penalty of one-year imprisonment and a second subsequent offence of two years’ imprisonment with a fine (Lynch, 2002). In Ghana also, begging is unlawful and punishable under the 1969 National Liberation Council Decree 392 (Kassah, 2008). Sayibu (2016) argues that, the law is inadequate because it exempts persons under the age of seventeen. Meaning that it does not provide a means of preventing the involvement of children in the activity. Aside it being unlawful, the practice is regarded by many Ghanaians as stigmatizing and devaluing (Kassah, 2008). Sayibu (2016) argues that, families detest having their relations beg for alms because of the negative stigma which extends to the larger extended family. The question then is, in a society where begging is stigmatized, how did it ever change? Societal transformation, poverty and unemployment have eroded family solidarity. The poor now engage in begging at places which are not close to their families resulting in most rural to urban migrations (Sayibu, 2016).

Street begging is a social problem that has become a major source of concern. As people migrate from rural to urban places without having appropriate means of survival, they are faced with deprivation thus as a means of survival, they end up begging (Bello et al, 2012). Whilst poverty has been a major indicator of the reasons why people beg, other factors such as physical disability, mental illness, drugs, alcoholism and gambling are also important motivations for begging. There is also the belief that people who beg are those that lack skill and have limited self-esteem (Stones, 2013) In his studies on disabled beggars in Ghana, Kassah concludes that, disabled persons justify begging as work because of their conditions and the difficulties they faced in their employment, schools and society at large. Thus, begging has become a means of income supplementation which is necessary for survival (Bello et al 2012). According to Stones (2013), begging to those who engage in the practice is a more acceptable form of satisfying ones needs as compared to engaging in criminal activities such as theft, drug dealing or prostitution. Beggars feel they lack skills to do anything else aside begging. They lack self-esteem (Stones, 2013). Beggars are so comfortable to beg that they do not feel the need to work.

Begging could be constructed as a win-win situation between the alms giver and the alms receiver. The receiver gets substance and the giver gets blessings. Alms giving is also a religious practice. In Ghana, the trend of begging is changing from for instance disabled persons and adults without employment to children. A report by Seth J. Bokpe on the 6th of July 2017 on Graphic Online indicated that, children from slum communities in Accra and migrants within and outside the country had invaded the streets of Accra begging to feed themselves and their families.

Child begging can be classified under child labour. With the UNICEF categorization of street children, child beggars have been associated with the children “of” the street category. They have generally fled from home. Child beggars are children in difficulty or danger. Child begging is generally viewed as one survival tactics among many street children (Ballet et al, 2012).

The 2009 Anti-Slavery International report on Forced Child Begging suggests that children may beg as a result of being forced to do so or out of their own free will. Again, children could indulge in begging as aids to physically challenged persons especially the visually impaired. In the Dodoma Municipality in Tanzania, for instance, Seni (2017) observed that, visually impaired adult beggars are guided by young children between the ages of five and thirteen. These children could either be related to the beggars or could be neighbors to them. They assist with or without payment and their activities span throughout the day. As children are used as guides to blind beggars, it is detrimental to their survival since they are vulnerable and more so do not have access to basic education. These children according to Seni (2017) do end up as beggars in their adulthood.

2.4.1 Islamic Child Begging

Every religion in some way encourages alms giving but the magnitude varies from religion to religion. In Islam alms giving is so important that it is entrenched in the five pillars of Islam as Zakat. The objective of alms giving is to purify the soul of the Muslim from greed and from being a miser. Muslims believe that alms giving increases their wealth and value. Due to Zakat, some scholars, the media and the general public have linked begging with Islam because it encourages alms giving. Thus it is assumed that giving alms encourages begging (Victor, 2011).

Family Systems Theory

The family systems theory was developed by Murray Bowen in 1988. The theory provides a way of conceptualizing human behaviors through relationships. The theory was developed mainly for treating anxiety through family therapy (Brown, 1999; Johnson et al, 2010), yet, for the purposes of this study, the theory would be adapted in order to understand children’s choice of begging based on the kinds of family relationships they have.

Bowen sees the family as an organism having parts that are greater than the sum of its individual parts. Each part is emotionally dependent on each person. Functioning within the family is influenced by emotional interdependence which is more than one could ever imagine. The individual’s social, physical and emotional functioning is a reflection of the emotional process in the family.

Also, he argues that the actions of individuals are not solely under their control but are often rooted in learned behaviours. The individual’s functioning can therefore be understood in the context of his or her relationships. Often within the family, adult members are the most influential therefore their actions and inactions have an impact on younger members. In as much as this may be true adult members are also affected by younger members in the family system (Brown, 1999).

Rothbaum et al (2002) argue that, due to the interdependence of emotions within the family, when the family system fails, the individual, be it an adult or a child is affected. The family system is said to fail when the individual cannot relate to the emotional feedbacks of members within the family. For instance, if an individual no longer feels care and affection within his or her family, the family system has failed the individual. Persons may react differently to the failed family system. Bowen mentions that in such circumstances individuals may engage in emotional cut off; distancing themselves (Brown, 1999). Yet, his theory does not cover how people adapt in adverse situations after they distance themselves.

Over the years the traditional Ghanaian family system has evolved. Families have become more nucleated which has weakened the extended family system. There is an influx of female headed household and some families have migrated into urban areas, hence they have little or no contact with the larger extended family which has resulted in the creation of new forms of extended families (see Ardayfio-Schandorf, 1994; Nukunya, 2003). In as much as there are changes within the family structure, there are trade-offs of emotions and anxieties within these new family structures. Oppong (2004) argues that, the absence of care, which is suffered by a growing number of children as a result of the breakdown of indigenous family systems of child care endangers their humanity, human rights, physical and emotional survival. Hence, the family systems theory is relevant in understanding the forms of anxieties and emotions parents and children pass unto each other in this era of change.

2.5 Resilience Theory

The first wave of resilience in the social sciences emerged in the 1970’s. Pioneering investigators were inspired by the dramatic individual cases of resilience among individuals carrying high risk of developing problems due to trauma, poverty, parental psychopathy or hazards or risks and disasters (Masten, 2011).

Resilience has been defined in the ecological paradigm as health despite adversity. A constructionist approach to resilience is the outcome of negotiations between individuals and their environment (Ungar, 2004). It has also been defined in the field of health as a “response to intense life stressors that facilitates healthy functioning” (Ballenger-Browning & Johnson, 2010). Resilience again has been defined as the positive adaptation in situations such as violence and poverty. When a person is able to quickly adapt or adequately respond to adverse circumstances, that person is termed to have a high level of resilience (Van Brenda, 2010). For resilience to occur, Masten argues that there has to be two components; risk or threat and positive adaptation (human agency). She defines resilience as doing well despite adversity or risk (Masten, 2011). Resilience is the opposite of vulnerability. In the case of vulnerability, people are not able to respond adequately following risk, hazard or disaster.

According to Van Brenda (2010), studies on children who were born into adverse conditions have been identified to demonstrate high levels of resilience. In a study conducted in Hawai in 1955, Van Breda argues that children who were assessed to be at risk had developed into confident adults by the age of 18. A follow up research on these children in 1988 showed that almost half the sample had created successful healthy lifestyles although they were handicapped (Van Brenda, 2010).

Resilience can be measured in different contexts. The problem arises when positive outcomes are associated with resilience. Ungar argues that, the body of literature on resilience does not help in predicting whether at risk children would thrive in their development or will experience behavioral problems. He explains that, what constitutes normalcy, positive or good adaption, deviance and health may not necessarily be the same to different individuals. In his work with troubled teens, Ungar discovered that for many of the children, patterns of deviance are healthy forms of adaptation (Ungar, 2004).

2.6 Conclusion

The resilience theory is relevant in trying to solve the puzzle with regard to children’s choice of begging. Could begging be a form of positive adaption for the child and his family in situations of poverty or could it be the child’s own choice after deciding to move away from his family. The gap therefore is the dichotomy between child protection system in Ghana and child begging in the Wa Municipality which is the focus area for the researcher.

CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.1 Introduction

This research was based on case study method. The main reason for adopting a case study method was because child protection and child begging is a real life contemporary developmental issue and needs a combination of methods to investigate.

The main sources of data that were employed in the study were basically from both primary and secondary sources. The primary data was collected using interviews whiles secondary sources of data were collected from books, policy documents and quarterly and annual reports from actors in the social services industry. Interview guide were used to solicit information from key informants for this study. These key in-informant include Municipal Directors of some social administration departments (Department of Children, Social Welfare, GES).The qualitative data in the form of interviews was analyzed based on content.

CHAPTER FOUR

PRESENTATION OF DATA ANALYSIS AND FINDINGS

4.1 Introduction

This chapter presents analysis of the results and discussions based on the data collected from the field on the topic. The Socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents have also been presented. A total of 40 respondents’ views were solicited including interviews of some opinion leaders of some communities. (Busa , Kperisi, Kpongu , Boli and Charia)

4.2 Demographic Characteristics of Respondents

The demographic characteristics presents data on the sex, age, educational background and the occupation of the respondents in the Municipality. This is intended to determine how these characteristics influence the understanding, behavior and responses of the respondents on the topic under consideration. It is a well-known fact in research that these characteristics in one way or the other influences the responses from individual respondents, hence a point of consideration by the study.

4.2.1 Sex of Respondents

The views of people may vary due to their sex orientation. The views of girls may be different from the views of boys because of the differences in their gender needs. Factors that could motivate a male respondent to be marginalized may not necessarily influence a female respondent to be marginalized in her community, hence a relevant point of consideration.

Table 4.1 Sex of Respondents

SEX FREQUENCY PERCENTAGE (%)

MALE 15 38

FEMALE 25 62

TOTAL 40 100

Source: Field Survey, 2023

A total of 40 respondents were contacted and out of this, 62% were females whereas the remaining 38% constitute males. Females dominated the study because the female population of the Municipality outweighs the male population as revealed by the 2021 Population and Housing Census for the Municipality (GSS, 2021).

4.3 Assessment of the effectiveness of child protection system on begging in the Wa Municipality.

Table 4.2

RESPONSE FREQUENCY PERCENTAGE (%)

Yes 12 30

No 28 70

TOTAL 40 100

Source: Field Survey, 2023

The results of the respondents’ view about the awareness of child protection system in the Wa Municipality showed a significant percentage of 70 (n=28) of the respondents indicating unaware to any child protection system in the Municipality. The remaining 30% (n=12) of the respondents indicated full awareness of the child protection system in the Municipality. The results therefore suggest that despite the several years of implementation of the child protection system, in the Municipality, awareness creation is still on the low side.

Knowledge about the Community Child Protection Committee

Figure 4.1

Source: Field Survey, 2023

The respondents were asked about the existence of the Community Child Protection Committee in some of the communities in the Municipality, the study found out that 80% (n=32) of the respondents do not have any knowledge about the existence of the Community Child Protection Committees in some of the communities in the Municipality and the remaining 20% (n=8) of the respondents indicating awareness of the Community Child Protection Committees in some of our communities. Following the fact that child protection activities are supposed to be modelled to create protection and also must be visible to all, effective advocacy is needed.

Causes of child begging in the Wa Municipality.

Figure 4.2

Source: Field Survey, 2023

This section of the analysis examined the causes of child begging in Wa Municipality. The study found out the following as the causes of child begging; Poverty, Broken Home, Disability, Addiction, Orphan and Religion. The study therefore revealed as shown on the pie chart above. Disability takes the lead and represents 45% of the respondents, orphan is 25%, broken home is 5%, addiction is 5% and religion is 5%.

Solutions to the Causes of Child Begging in the Wa Municipality

Figure 4.3

Source: Field Survey, 2023

Child beggars seem to have loose hope, they live in town, hopeless, not connected to any social protection systems, and they are not experiencing social cohesion. Their earning is unpredictable and they live in hardship environment that is likely to subject them to rape, drug abuse, insecurity and crime. They indeed are not connected to the social capital. Hence from the study findings one can understand well the issue of street children through Manslow’s hierarchy of needs theory and social capital theory. Hence the findings of this study have conformed to the applicability of two theories in analysis of child-begging phenomenon. The suggested solutions to the causes of child begging in the Wa Municipality by the respondents included employment opportunities which take the lead ie 55%, followed by literacy which was 20%. Education was 12%, water supply was 5%, sanitation was 4% and electricity was 4%.

4.4 Discussion of Findings

The study involved the demographic characteristics of respondents with the view to understanding the different opinions expressed by different people. This presented data on the sex, age, educational background, and the occupation of respondents. The involvement of these elements is to help determine how these demographic characteristics influence the understanding of Child Protection Systems and Child Begging in Wa Municipality of the Upper West region of Ghana.

It was therefore clear that majority of the respondents were not aware of the Child Protection Systems in the country that are supposed to prevent children from begging and the dangers associated to begging.

Also, in the view of this study, the cause of child begging in the Wa Municipality include; poverty, broken home, disability, addiction, orphan and religion. The findings of the study further revealed that; the solutions to child begging in Wa Municipality included employment opportunities, literacy, education/sensitization, water supply, electricity supply and sanitation.

CHAPTER FIVE

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1 Conclusion

The study was set out to assess the child protection system and child begging in Wa Municipality of the Upper West region of Ghana. The focus was on how the phenomenon actually works in practice relative to the norms and values of the society and how this affects the lives of the children. The policy-implementation process requires transparency, ongoing monitoring and evaluation. Looking to the future, it makes sense to empower young children from disadvantaged environments because children from disadvantaged communities are more likely, when they grow older, to commit crime, become single parents and exit school prematurely. Effective child protection, early interventions from governments and institutions that alter the effects of unfavorable environments have the potential to reverse some of the harm of disadvantage and inequality caused by birth and family circumstances and yield a future high economic return that benefits society at large. Heckman & Masterov (2007) argue that ‘investing in disadvantaged young children is a rare public policy with no equity efficiency tradeoff’ (p. 3). Parental and community involvement at all levels of the policy production and implementation process is thus highly warranted.

5.2 Recommendations

With the experienced gained and in order to succeed in stopping child begging in the Wa Municipality, the researcher recommends the following to traditional rulers, policy makers and other potential researchers who might be interested in exploring on Child Protection System and Child Begging in the Wa Municipality.

  1. A rigorous advocacy programmes on child protection systems and child begging in the Municipality.

  2. A more systematic approach to analyzing and reporting on child protection system and child begging in the Wa Municipality.

  3. Build on the sense of pride and ownership of the people to generate enthusiasm for continued quality efforts.

  4. Gender-sensitive policies should be enhanced to assist those staying behind build their livelihoods and reduce vulnerability among them.

  5. Families should be encouraged to;

a. Support their children’s learning

b. Encourage their children to develop the “can do” spirit; monitors of their children’s time, behaviour and boundaries.

c. Models of lifelong learning; advocates for improved learning opportunities for their children.

d. Collaborators with teachers and other members of the community

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My name is Alhassan Abakpon Faali, i am 32 years of age from Upper West Region of Ghana, West Africa. I am an HR practitioner and earned both Degree and Masters in Human Resource Management and currently studying at the Chartered Institute of Human Resource Management and i ahve had five years working experience in the health and NGO sector

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