SIC+ programme: Ghana - Child Online Africa
About the organisation
Child Online Africa (COA) is a child-focused research and advocacy non-governmental organisation that campaigns for/with children and young people and their families to influence policies and change practices that affect child welfare in Ghana and across Africa. We build partnerships with organisations and individuals to promote online safety by employing rights and e-advocacy approaches to achieve sustainable outcomes.
We are pacesetters in Ghana as well as other African countries where we operate on issues of online literacy and safety, menstrual hygiene management and the general well-being of children and young people. The above activities we believe will endorse child online safety locally, and foster an Africa fit for children.
Our safety and well-being campaign in all 10 regions of Ghana and now 16 regions is an effort Child Online Africa has achieved over the years and, in 2019, initiated Africa-wide awareness raising which is aimed at promoting better internet issues across the continent while making sure that the issues are addressed in a contextualised manner. Child Online Africa is currently working closely with the ITU regional Office in Africa and Africa Telecommunications Union to sustain the rallying call to all countries.
Child Online Africa does not currently have a helpline in place. There was a unique number allocated by one of the mobile network operators in the past, but it was difficult to have counsellors on a voluntary basis to staff the line in order to render the needed service. The other challenge was the fact that, at the time, Ghana as a country did not have an established line and still there is none to help in this regard. Now there is an IWF (IInternet Watch Foundation) line set up.
The Ministry of Communication and Digitalization has now established a hotline which is located at the National Cybersecurity Authority. They receive incidence reports and occasionally offer advisory services when the need arises.
To some extent, there has been youth participation even though not well targeted at all youth but more so targeted at girls due to the Girls In ICT initiative which is being heralded by the Minister for Communications and Digitalization. A deliberate effort at ALL young people for impact will be helpful.