Playful awareness-raising: mock court drama in Pakyi
A Child Protection Club (CPC) on first mention, may seem like any other school club to you. But upon a second look, you realize these are children who have taken it upon themselves to be pacesetters. The members of these clubs are anti-child labour ambassadors in their own right. The main idea behind the CPC’s strategy is to ensure that children have a better understanding of child labour and child protection as well as the responsibilities they have in their homes. The clubs serve as mediums for awareness creation. With the training they receive through ICI, they engage in awareness creation and community sensitization exercises using forms especially accessible to children: drama, poems, debates and songs.
“Your Honour, according to the Ghana Labour Law, no employer is allowed to engage children in exploitative labour which deprives them of their education, healthcare and development. In this case, I therefore plead this Honourable Court to apply the necessary sanctions to serve as a deterrent to all others who engage in such activities.”
These were the words of one of the girls who played the part of the state prosecutor in a drama by members of the Child Protection Club (CPC) in the Pakyi D/A Junior High School. Pakyi is a community located in the Atwima Mponua district of the Asante region. As part of the club’s activities for the term, they decided to carry out this play to raise awareness on the legal and social consequences of child labour. It coincided with the community’s participation in the media visit towards the World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL) media outreach. The play showed the consequences of engaging children in hazardous child labour and its legal repercussions. This play was written and directed by the Coordinator of the club who doubles as the headmaster of the school and also a member of the Community Child Protection Committee in Pakyi.
You could see the pride on the faces of parents as they watched their children act out the mock court. According to Lydia Akwuoko, the mother of the Defence Lawyer, she left the food she was selling to come and watch her daughter act. After the play, she had this to say:
“I was very happy when I saw my daughter playing the part of a Defense Lawyer in the play. I have actually decided that I will do all I can to educate her so she can be a lawyer in future. I was so proud of how she spoke.”
She also added
“The play has brought home to me the need to support my children to become better people in future and not to allow them to engage in any form of child labour. I must do the hard work to take care of them because they are my responsibility.”