Sixty-four community members in the Ga South Municipal Assembly have undergone a Community Based Anti-Violence Team(COMBAT) training with a charge on them to fight gender-based violence in their various communities.
The members being men and women would be working with Actionaid Ghana (AAG), and would be supported by the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice(CHRAJ) as well as District Assemblies to take the lead in fighting violence in their communities.
Madam She-vera Anzagira, the Programme Manager for AAG, inaugurating the COMBAT Ambassadors who would be responsible for ending violence meted against girls and women also charged them to protect all girls.
“You are not showing our girls only the institutions to report crimes and abuses to but these girls are reporting to you for you to take up the challenge.
“Now you are gender, Ghana Education Service and DOVSU representatives in your communities so when issues come to you, you will have to intervene and link victims up with the institutions for them to come in and address,” she said.
Madam Anzagira explained that, the initiative was part of AAG’s activities towards ending gender-based violence.
“COMBAT is introduced as an alternative to fighting gender-based violence in communities and to promote women and children’s rights by building the capacities of local institutions to champion and address gender-based violence.
On the composition of the team, the Programme Manager of AAG told the Ghana News Agency that, each COMBAT team was usually made up of seven members comprising of at least two women, with the chief of the community being an ex-officio member.
She said the essence of the composition was to ensure that COMBAT is seen as another parallel body formed in the community to usurp the authority of other institutions like the chief, unit committee or schools.
“However, participation in COMBAT is purely on a voluntary basis.
“With the exception of the chief, each community has seven member-team, consisting of people chosen from the community,” she said.
She said COMBAT was practiced in many communities across all AAG’s six regional programmes.
Madam Anzagira cautioned the COMBAT Ambassadors not to act as police men and women, pose as lawyers or judges, detain or maltreat suspects, accept bribes or other inducements, mount road blocks, barriers or create speed ramps, interfere in people’s private or domestic matters unnecessarily and commit any act of domestic violence.
Nana Ama Gorman, the Assistant Director of the Ga South Municipal Assembly, advised the trainees to project girls in their communities especially when the youth were being exposed to sex very early as a result of technology.
“Talk about sex with our girls, you to work with and for them to know and understand the subject and the dangers they come with because our children are being victimised a lot,” she said.
Ms Naa Yarley Cudjoe, the Project Officer for AAG, urged the COMBAT Ambassadors to be professionals, trustworthy and work with their mandates in the various communities.
She said there would be quarterly review sessions for members in their various communities.
Mr Morrison Borkor, the Course Representative, thanked AAG for the opportunity and education and appealed to his colleagues to comply with the rules and regulations of the group.
He assured AAG of the group’s preparedness to work extensively for the goals of COMBAT to be met.
He, therefore, called on the Municipal Chief a Executive of Ga South Municipal Assembly to occasionally have a refresher programme as these for community members and COMBAT members.
The COMBAT Ambassadors were trained in domestic violence laws, interstate succession law, rights and other related security related procedures.
Certificates were presented to members after the four-day training.
Among the communities whose representative were trained were Kyekewere, Okaijaman, Kofi Donkor, Ashweniagmor and Akweman.
The others were Honise, Hobor, Nsuobri number one, Mmaaphehia and Bebianiha all from the Ga South Municipality.