Members of a Community Monitoring Team (CMT) constituted by Crime Check Foundation (CCF) for the Suame Municipal have educated refuse dump site managers on how arrests, fines, and imprisonment of homeless and poor persons deepen poverty.
This was when the CMT visited the ‘sanitation workers’ at the main refuse dump site in Suame New Zongo within the Suame Municipality of the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
The visit formed part of CCF’s monitoring exercise in Ejisu, Asokore Mampong, Kwadaso, and Suame in the Ashanti Region as part of the implementation of the OSIWA funded Decriminalizing Vagrancy Laws and Advocacy project in Ghana.
Engaging the ‘sanitation workers’ at the refuse site, the Project Manager for the CCF-OSIWA project, Cosmos Akorli briefed them on the objective of the project to increase knowledge of the laws for the homeless and other poor persons who are often arrested, fined, or imprisoned under local government bye-laws.
He stressed that, while CCF does not encourage citizens to deliberately violate the law, it is important to recognize that arrests, fines, and imprisonment of the homeless and poor persons deepen poverty.
“The livelihood of the individual, family, community and even at the national level is worsened. That is why we are working with Justice Sector Institutions, OSIWA, and citizens in ensuring that poor, homeless, and ignorant persons do not end up in prisons,” he explained.
Members of the team, Mary Obiri Yeboah and Kofi Tuffour took turns to entreat the ‘workers’ to stay away from trouble. They also encouraged them to report issues affecting them to CCF for action.
The leader of the ‘sanitation workers’, Alhassan Zoechingo, thanked CCF and OSIWA for the initiative, stating, the track record of CCF gave them the confidence to be part of the project.
About the CCF-OSIWA Project:
CCF is a crime prevention and human rights advocacy organization in Ghana. The Decriminalizing Vagrancy Laws and Advocacy project is funded by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). The project seeks to create an enabling environment for vagrants (the homeless and other poor and voiceless persons) to know, claim and exercise their rights to end criminalization of vagrancy or homelessness in Ghana.
Established in 2000, the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) is a grant-making and advocacy organization focused on equality, justice, democratic governance, human rights, and knowledge generation. It is part of the global network of Open Society Foundations spread across 37 countries around the world.
By: Rudolph Nandi