It was a moment of excitement when the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Goodwill Ambassador, Catarina Furtado, took to the floor to dance with a gathering of commercial head porters popularly known as ‘kayayei’ at an Accra market.
The Goodwill Ambassador, who is a Spanish actress and television presenter, had accompanied the UNFPA Executive Director, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, to acquaint herself with the activities of the UNFPA-sponsored Guidance for Gender-Based Violence Response Centre located at the Mallam Attah Market in Accra.
Addressing the gathering after the dance, Dr Osotimehin, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General, appealed to the commercial head porters to take advantage of the services being provided at the Centre to reshape their future for the better.
The Gender-Based Violence Centre is a joint initiative of the UNFPA and the MOCSOP. It is intended to increase survivor-safety and perpetrator-accountability by coordinating and linking core services including immediate healthcare, access to police and legal services, and cultural and age counselling.
While congratulating market women for their immense contribution towards the provision of basic needs of life such as foodstuffs, among other necessities, the UNFPA boss also called for the introduction of interventions which would enhance their operations and service delivery while ensuring their safety.
He assured that the UNFPA will continue to support the ministry to expand the Gender-Based Violence Centre project in the coming years.
While expressing her appreciation to the UNFPA Executive Director and Goodwill Ambassador for their visit, Nana Oye Lithur also mentioned that the ministry has established one other centre at Agbogbloshie, Accra, with a third one soon to be opened in Kumasi.
The minister further mentioned that staff of the Centre are on secondment from the Police Service, Ghana Education Service, Ghana Health Service and other related institutions.
She added that paralegals have also been trained to assist clients who visit the Centre for services.
The staff provide essential doorstep services for a number of abuses which include sexual and physical assault, psychological abuse, forced marriage and genital mutilation.
By Solomon Ofori