The Department of Gender under the auspices of the Volta Regional Co-ordinating Council (VRCC) with funding support from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) organized a one-day training programme for selected staff of the Volta Regional Coordinating Council on the topic “Protection from Sexual Exploitation, Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment”. The training was held on Wednesday, 26th April 2023 at the Volta Regional Co-ordinating Council Conference Hall in Ho.

The training was to educate the members of staff on issues relating to Sexual Exploitation, Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment at the work place. It was also to equip the members of staff with knowledge on United Nations Protocol on Allegations of sexual Exploitation and Abuse involving Implementing Partners (IP) of UNFPA Programmes, and Local Government Service (LGS) Policy on Sexual Abuse and its Related Issues.

The Acting Regional Co-ordinating Director, Mr. Augustus K. Awity, opened the training and expressed joy about the training. He commended the Department of Gender and UNFPA for organising the training as he expressed the confidence that the training will furnish staff with some ethical knowledge at the workplace.

There were presentations from various facilitators which included the Regional Director of Gender Department, Mrs. Thywill Eyra Kpe; the UNFPA Focal Person at the VRCC, Ms. Victoria Fato;  and a Human Resource Manager at the VRCC, Mr. Raymond Honugah.

Mrs. Kpe presented on Sexual Exploitation, Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment at the workplace with respect to the Labour Act 2003 Act 651, the Criminal Offenses Act 1960 ACT 29 and the Domestic Violence Act 2007 ACT 732 of Ghana and how to deal with those harassments and abuses. She intimated that UNFPA has zero tolerance for all forms of sexual wrongdoing, whether perpetrated against a recipient of assistance or coworker. She stressed that Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Sexual Harassment violate Human Rights and are a betrayal of the core values of the United Nations.

She stated that the VRCC as an IP is mandated to uphold the core values in its interactions with indigenes and other institutions.

Ms. Fato, on her part, made a presentation on the United Nations Protocol on Allegations of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Involving Implementing Partners. She stated that Partners are required to ensure that professional investigations of allegations of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) involving their personnel are carried out without delay and with due attention to the safety and wellbeing of all persons involved.

Furthermore, she stated that Partners are required to disclose any past SEA allegations involving their members of staff and evidence of corrective measures as well as the necessary actions taken.

The final presentation was made by the Human Resource Officer, Mr. Honugah on the Local Government Service Policy Statement on issues of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. He noted that it is the policy of the LGS that all workers are responsible for ensuring the work place is free from sexual harassment. He was equivocal that the LGS strongly disapproves inappropriate sexual behaviors at workplaces.

He therefore read out the objective of the Policy which included educating the Staff of the LGS of the existence of the policy, emphasizing the importance of the Policy and drawing attention to all its implementation.

The training was interactive and educative. All questions from participants were answered by the facilitators.

At the end of the training, the Acting Regional Co-ordinating Director expressed appreciation to UNFPA and the facilitators for the knowledge shared. He stated the training would be impactful. He advised participants to be disciplined and watch out for any temptation that could lead to Sexual Exploitation and its related issues.