• Can Children and Young People be empowered in Participatory Initiatives?: perspectives from young people’s participation in policy formulation and implementation in Ghana

      Adu-Gyamfi, Jones (2013)
      Empowering children and young people is often cited as the goal of participation. However projects that seek to empower children and young people show little attempt to define what empowerment means. There is an implied but inadequately explored conceptual link between participation and empowerment. This paper explores the link between participation and empowerment by discussing a research with 15–17 year young people involved in two participatory initiatives in Ghana. The paper discusses the various typologies of children's participation and the concept of power, and concludes that participation does not lead to empowerment. Therefore the increasing theorisation of children and young people's participation as empowerment is flawed. The paper argues that children and young people's participation should instead be conceptualised as recognition and dialogue.
    • Childhood construction and its implications for children’s participation in Ghana

      Adu-Gyamfi, Jones (2014)
      In 2012 Steven Mintz argued that the history of childhood matters, since it has context-specific implications. This paper outlines the historical construction of childhood, in general, and specifically in Ghana, and presents how childhood construction impacts on children’s participation in Ghana. The paper argues that the cultural value underpinning childhood construction in the Ghanaian context - i.e. unidirectional respect from children and young people to adults at all times - has implications for children’s participation, as it limits children and young people’s willingness to participate in decision-making forums. The paper concludes that by such cultural ideology any participatory effort that includes children, young people and adults together may be counterproductive and thus likely to fail.
    • Convergence and Divergence between the UN Convention on the Rights of the Children and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

      Adu-Gyamfi, Jones; Keating, F. (2013)
      There have been many praises as well as criticisms against both the UN Convention on the rights of the child and the African Charter on the rights and welfare of the child. However, many writers are of the view that the African charter was an unnecessary duplication of the convention. This paper outlines some of the differences and similarities between the UN convention on the rights of the child, and the African children’s charter. The paper traces the development of children’s right treaties internationally and on the African continent, and argues that the adoption of the African children’s charter is in tandem with the United Nation’s call for regional arrangements for the protection and promotion of human rights, therefore not an unnecessary duplication of the UN convention.
    • Ethical challenges in cross-cultural field research: a comparative study of UK and Ghana

      Adu-Gyamfi, Jones (2015)
      Research ethics review by ethics committees has grown in importance since the end of the Nuremberg trials in 1949. However, ethics committees have come under increasing criticisms either for been ‘toothless or too fierce’ (Fistein & Quilligan, 2012:224). This paper presents a personal account of my experience in obtaining ethical approval for my PhD study from a UK university and the ethical dilemmas encountered in the fieldwork in Ghana. In this paper I question whether strict adherence to ethical guidelines developed from western perspectives is useful in conducting research in non-western societies. As more academics are increasingly been mandated to undertake international research, the paper argues for more flexibility in the ethical approval process to accommodate cultural differences.
    • Ghana’s child panels: effective child protection and juvenile justice system or superfluous creation?

      Adu-Gyamfi, Jones (2019-12)
      In accordance with the United Nations’ requirements for dealing with juvenile offenders, Ghana’s Children Act 1998 mandated local authorities to establish child panels to mediate minor offences committed by children. However, to date there has not been any research that has examined the functioning and effectiveness of the child panels. This research examined the operationalisation and effectiveness of child panels in Ghana. The study involved the use of semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with panel members of four local authorities. Findings showed that the child panels are not functioning effectively in Ghana. The relevance of the child panels has been questioned since it was found to be duplicating the roles of some other child welfare agencies. This article discusses the challenges impeding the effectiveness of the child panels and outlines recommendations to improve their effectiveness.
    • Truck pushers in Ghana: social misfits or urban transporters?

      Osei, E.A.; Adu-Gyamfi, Jones (2014)
      Literature on truck pushers stereotype these boys as social misfits, criminals and nuisance to society; often regarded as creating streetism. Much consideration has not been given to their contribution to the economy as well as what motivates these boys to go into truck pushing. This chapter outlines research with 30 (20 current and 10 former) truck pushers, 5 customers who patronised the services of the truck pushers were interviewed for their views on the services of the truck pushers. Finally, 5 kayayei (female head porters) at the market were interviewed to find out if the presence of kayayei in the market has affected the business of the truck pushers. The study found that the services provided by truck pushers especially to petty traders and other shoppers were indispensable because they provide cheap, readily available and customised service. Due to poor urban planning and deplorable road networks in Ghana, many areas are not accessible by motorised transport, hand pushed trucks have become the most useful and efficient means of transporting goods from the markets to bus terminals and on some occasions to customers’ homes and shops. The chapter argues that non-motorised transport to the informal sector cannot be overemphasised; therefore truck pushers should be seen as bridging a gap in urban transportation, instead of the social misfit label attached to them.
    • Young people’s motivation for civic engagement in Ghana

      Adu-Gyamfi, Jones (2014)
      It is argued that “individuals do not automatically become free and responsible citizens but must be educated for citizenship” (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, 2003, cited in Leisha, 2012:55). Hence adults’ promotion of young people’s civic engagement is intended to educate young people to become active citizens. This assumes a deficit, or lack of caring by young people about issues in their country or community. However, young people’s sense of belonging and motivations to participate in civic activities are different from that of adults. This paper discusses research with young people involved in two participatory initiatives in Ghana, to examine their motivations for engaging in the projects. The study found that in addition to demonstrating that they are active citizens by engaging in the projects, the young people were also motivated by other self-interest reasons. There was however a marked gender difference in their reasons for participating in the projects. It was observed that the motivations given by the young people reflected gender stereotype of masculinity and femininity. The paper concludes that by understanding what motivates young people to engage in civic activities and other decision-making forums, participatory opportunities that emphasise young people’s interests and motivations could be created in order to sustain their participation.
    • Young people’s participation in the formulation and implementation of Ghana’s youth policy

      Adu-Gyamfi, Jones (2014)
      The African Youth Charter requires African countries to formulate and adopt an integrated national youth policy to address youth concerns. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Children’s Charter also confer on children and young people the right to participate in matters that concern them. Therefore in the formulation and adoption of national youth policies the perspectives of young people need to be incorporated. This research examined how young people participated as strategic stakeholders in the formulation of Ghana’s youth policy. The paper presents a step-by-step analysis of the strategies used to involve young people in the formulation of the national youth policy of Ghana. Findings show that although young people had limited opportunities to participate in the formulation of the youth policy, they have been excluded from the implementation process. The paper concludes that the limited opportunities given to young people to participate in the formulation of the youth policy signifies a gradual drift towards youth engagement in the formulation of public policies in Ghana.