AfriKids - Ghana - 2018-19
Ending harmful spirit child practices that lead to child rights violations
A prosperous and thriving world without poverty, where the rights of every child are valued, protected and met by all.
Years: 2018, 2019
AfriKids has a specific focus on child protection, education and healthcare in northern Ghana. The majority of their work takes place in the Upper East Region, where 62% of the population live in poverty and access to quality education and healthcare is limited.
The spirit child phenomenon is a belief that some children are sub-human and sent by ancestors to bring bad luck to the family. If a mother dies in childbirth, or if the child has a health condition or disability, the child may be labelled as a spirit child. If there is misfortune in the family or community, such as the death of livestock, a lack of rains or poor harvest, a family may believe that a spirit child has caused this bad luck. These circumstances are just some of the triggers that lead a family or community to suspect a child, at which point, he or she may be at risk of abuse, neglect, or infanticide.
The primary goal of this project is to end harmful spirit child practices that lead to child rights violations in 38 communities in Northern Ghana. Every children should enjoy their right to education, healthcare and protection.
Over the next three years AfriKids will be working in 38 communities in Bongo and Bolgatanga, in the Upper East Region of Ghana, to improve the child rights environment. Through advocacy, community education, direct support for at risk children and their families they will work to end harmful spirit child practices so that every child can fully participate in society. In 2007 the Angus Child Rights Centre was established with the ALMT’s support which became a hub for the spirit child project and now also operates as a rehabilitation and physiotherapy centre for children with conditions like Cerebral Palsy. Previously children with Cerebral Palsy were thought to be spirit children but AfriKids have been able to change this and have already successfully eradicated the belief in 18 communities. Through this project AfriKids will establish four centres in Bongo so families no longer have to do the eight hour round trip from Bongo to the Angus Child Rights Centre. They will also work with 20 schools and Ghana Education Service to screen children for medical conditions and to raise awareness about disabilities among children and staff. Working with every level of society, including traditional leaders, and families and communities the aim is to bring about sustainable change.