Pastors, Imams and traditional leaders in a group photograph after the forum
The Light Foundation, an Islamic Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) has held a one-day forum of Imams and Pastors on Child Protection and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), last Tuesday.
The forum, held at the Swiss Spirit Alisa Hotel in Accra, comes under the Zongo and Muslim Communities support for Communication for Development initiative (ZOS-C4D Project) and forms part of efforts to use imams and pastors as agents of promoting good sanitary and hygiene practices, preventing open defecation, constructing latrines across communities and child protection.
In his opening remarks, Sheikh Abubakari Ali Napari, founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Light Foundation stated that the forum has over the years, worked in close partnership with leaders from various religious backgrounds in the areas of health, water and sanitation and child marriage and protection.
He said through initiatives such as sermons, radio programs and effective house monitoring, the foundation has been able to promote campaigns such as abolishing of open defecation, construction of latrines in homes, girl-child education, among others.
Speaking on behalf of the National Peace Council (NPC), acting executive secretary, George Amoo, iterated the NPC’s preparedness to partner any organization or group working towards the peace and development of the country.
“Peace and development are two things that go together. We cannot separate them from each other.
“If we develop the schools, the hospitals and the roads and there is no peace; teachers will leave the schools, nurses will leave the hospitals and the road users will leave the roads,” he said.
Sheikh Armiyawo Shaibu, spokesperson for the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Nuhu Sharubutu, in his address also stressed the need for interdenominational collaboration towards the national good.
Citing Quran 16:8, the Islamic scholar noted that the Holy Quran advises Muslims to “collaborate, partner and corporate” with people to work for the good of mankind.
Matters of health, sanitation and hygiene, he added, are essential for the well being of people.
He urged Ghanaians to make conscientious efforts towards ensuring proper sanitation in the country.
“God has given us dignity and that dignity has to be protected. Let us cooperate with God and man to ensure that, there is good health for all,” he urged.
Emmanuel Nyarko-Tetteh, Child Protection Specialist at UNICEF said studies have revealed that 250,000 children fail to reach their full potential due to child abuse, and failure on the part of parents to nurture their children.
He thus urged parents not to use force in admonishing children.
By Nii Adjei Mensahfio