Big Give Impact Report for Ghana

The situation

Street children in Ghana as elsewhere do not have access to their rights.


They suffer multiple trauma and abuse, generally at the hands of the adults upon whom they should rely. There are tens of thousands of street-connected children in Ghana. Unusually, over 70% of them are girls. All of the street-connected young people report similar issues of stigma and abuse, vulnerability and a lack of access to services. The presence of such a large proportion of girls on the streets gives added urgency to this situation.

In 2020, as we have reported elsewhere, these young people suffered the additional burden of the Covid pandemic.

The results

  • 956 street-connected children in Kumasi, including 347 boys and 609 girls, receiving the support of a trained trustworthy adult Street Workers
  • 746 street-connected children in Kumasi, Accra and Tamale receiving emergency relief during the height of the Covid crisis. This included dry food, hot meals, water buckets, face masks and/or soap/sanitiser
  • Additional funding was secured for Covid responses for Kumasi and Accra. Some funds from the £12,000 budget were directed to emergency responses in Tamale
  • 14 Street Workers in Tamale were trained in StreetInvest’s recognised ‘Introduction to Street Work’ course
  • MFCS, through the training of volunteers, were able to increase their reach across the city. The Kumasi network’s advocacy and Covid responses were delivered in an area where last estimates indicated there are 7,831 street-connected children.
  • The network in Ghana has increased from 11 organisations to 26 across Kumasi, Tamale and Accra

 

Watch Ghana TV video 

Hear from Tijani Mahmoud, Programme Manager of MFCS, Kumasi, Ghana

A CASE STUDY

David and Patience (not real names) from Mohammed Habib Ali Gali, Street Worker, MFCS, Kumasi, May 2020

“To make ends meet, David, who is 12 and from Niger, works as a beggar on the street with his other siblings including his sister Patience, who is 11. His ability to convince passengers and passers-by that he needs something to eat etermines what he can make in a day. The situation is not stable and he has to choose among different areas in the city to attract the attention of sympathisers. He sometimes has to change spots throughout the day. He has been coping with the situation on the streets because he understands the dynamics of human feeling and how beggar children are seen on the street. He sometimes spends the whole day without getting anything and, as he said, ‘I just borrow from my friend and pay back following day if I get something. It is very sad to be a beggar. I do not want it but there is almost nothing else that you can do.’ He said that he would like to go back to school. He went to school when he was in Niger and he wishes to go back to his home town.

 

They do not have much interaction with people around them as most people on the street hardly take notice of them. Begging by children looks strange to the majority of people around but for them that’s almost the only way they can find something to eat. Unlike other children, the street connected children felt very much rejected on the street because other people see them differently and not like they see their own children.  Relationship building with the street connected children is one significant aspect of our work. We build relationship with every child we come into contact with on the street. It helps to understand these children, how they cope on the streets and explore opportunities for them to build their future.

 

Our relationship with David has improved despite several restrictions with the Covid-19. He tells us how much he appreciates the Covid-19 prevention education we always hold with them on the streets, saying that nobody comes around to educate them on how to stay safe as we do with them. We keep closer to them thus we create enough time to share with them and speak in their language which always makes them happy. We share much of our presence on the street with David’s sister Patience. She has expressed her appreciation and takes much interest in our conversation. It is rare to be trusted in these COVID-19 times when street connected children begin to understand COVID.

 

There is a lot of fear of contracting the virus. She seems not to trust most of the people on the street. She also appreciates the education on COVID-19 and the face masks we given them.”