She Leads the Social Movement, a group of girls and young women from women-led and child rights organisations calling for mechanisms to protect children in the digital space.
The movement forms part of the “She Leads” initiative, a five-year strategic partnership between the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), Plan International Netherlands, Defence for Children International/ ECPAT Netherlands, and Terre Des Hommes Netherlands with sponsorship from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
As part of activities marking the International Day of the African Child, the Movement issued a communique after participating in the Day of the African Child online event dubbed, “The African Child in a Digital Era.”
The event which was organised by Defence for Children International Africa and DCI-ECPAT, sought to safeguard children including girls and young women in the digital environment.
The communique called on the Ministry of Education to include in the educational curriculum safeguarding protocols for the safe use of the Internet in schools and workplaces to reduce cyberbullying of children and young women in the digital environment.
It further urged the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and the Ghana Police Service to create toll-free national emergency numbers that are always available for reporting online violations.
“The government should ratify the optional protocol on the sale of children, child pornography and child prostitution to protect children from online exploitation, harm and exposure to inappropriate contents,” part of the communique read.
It also urged the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to intensify awareness creation and educational programmes that promote children (girls) and young women’s rights and increase legal literacy and rights of girls and young women to peaceful association and assembly in the digital space.
The Ghana Education Service must ensure caregivers and teachers are sufficiently equipped with the requisite knowledge and information to assist children in safely navigating the internet, according to the communique.
“We believe that protecting children in the digital environment will reduce online violence and exploitation, safeguard girls’ and young women’s activism in the digital environment and amplify the voices and agency of girls and young women in the decision-making process for both online and offline,” the communique concluded.