People's Postcode Lottery has today announced an award of £200,000 from players to AfriKids to help end child marriage and promote child rights in Northern Ghana.
AfriKids works to alleviate poverty and child suffering in Northern Ghana in partnership with governments and local communities. For over ten years, the charity has been working with vulnerable children and families in Ghana's Upper East Region. In this area, four in five people live in poverty. AfriKids provides life-changing programmes in education, healthcare and child protection.
This year, AfriKids were crowned International Charity of the Year for their achievements, which include eradicating the Spirit Child Phenomenon - the killing of children believed to be evil spirits – in seven communities and getting thousands of children off the streets or out of dangerous work and into school.
Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People's Postcode Lottery, said, "For the last 10 years AfriKids has been providing incredibly important programmes to children and families in Ghana. We are delighted that as a result of funding from players of People's Postcode Lottery, this fantastic charity will be able to launch a major new project to further promote children's rights in northern Ghana."
AfriKids' success is driven by a team of 150 staff in Ghana - all local people who grew up in the communities they now serve and many of them ex-child miners or street children themselves. Today they are highly qualified social workers and development experts who spend their days counselling children, responding to abuse, supporting families to better care for their children and running a range of social enterprises, including a primary hospital that treats more than 65,000 cases per year.
By investing in this local team, AfriKids is working towards complete local sustainability – being able to operate without the need for AfriKids UK. By doing this, they are demonstrating how aid can work in Africa and creating a model for sustainable development which can be replicated worldwide. They are already advisors and strategic partners to the Government of Ghana and organisations including UNICEF and the International Labour Organisation.
Through their extensive work, AfriKids has decided to focus on early and forced marriage and harmful traditional beliefs and practices like female genital mutilation as issues that affect the health and futures of girls across rural Northern Ghana. The support from players of People's Postcode Lottery will help launch a major new project to address this, providing sex education, child marriage interventions, youth clubs with family planning services and community education on the rights of young people.
AfriKids CEO Amy Parker said, "Lack of education, opportunity and the pressure to marry young and produce children is holding girls back in Ghana's Upper East Region and putting them at great risk. This is a place where half of all girls are married before 18 and a woman dies for every 125 babies born, so big change is needed and fast. The support from players of People's Postcode Lottery will enable us to act now, putting an end to child marriage in the poorest communities while supporting them to create better futures for everyone in ways that will continue for generations without the need for ongoing handouts.”