The ECOWAS Commission is committed to ensuring the brightest future for Community children through the implementation of various child protection, education and development programmes, ECOWAS Commission President Kadré Ouédraogo said in Akosombo, Ghana, Tuesday.
Speaking during an interactive session with students and management staff of the Akosombo International School during a visit to the institution, on the sidelines of the Mali After-Action Review experts' meeting being held in the town in Ghana's Eastern Region, the ECOWAS chief informed the students that the priorities of the Commission included protection of child rights.
'It is our duty and obligation to provide our children with quality education, training and to protect them from child labour, child abuse, early marriage and discrimination against the girl child, child trafficking, use in conflicts and other practices harmful to child development,' the President said while answering a question from one of the students.
The President went down memory lane on his involvement in regional integration under the auspices of ECOWAS and took the students through the history, mission and objectives of ECOWAS, especially its irreversible commitment to economic development and promotion of peace and stability in the region, as well as the priorities of the Commission's management under his leadership.
He paid tribute to Ghana's Independence leader Kwameh Nkrumah for the great idea behind the development of Akosombo, including the Volta Dam which generates hydro-electricity for Ghana and some neighbouring States.
President Ouédraogo told the students that as Community citizens and future leaders, they were entitled to all rights under the ECOWAS instruments including free movement and the right to basic education.
He therefore enjoined them to cultivate the spirit of unity and integration, to build on the strength of diversity and aspire to excellence as productive and worthy Community citizens.
Welcoming the President and his delegation, the School's General Manager, Mr. Arnold Seshie, said the school shared ECOWAS' ideals as espoused in its core values of excellence, hard work, empathy, discipline, integrity and honesty.
He informed the visitors that the school celebrates the ECOWAS Day annually and promotes regional integration through its activities, including exchange programmes with institutions of ECOWAS member states.
The Akosombo International School, some 100km North-east of Accra, the nation's capital, has a proven tradition of academic excellence and character development.
PANA quotes the ECOWAS Commission as saying in a statement Wednesday that the school was set up in September 1962, originally to provide education at kindergarten and primary levels for children of workers (mostly expatriates) involved with the construction of the Akosombo Dam.
The school presently runs courses from the kindergarten to Senior Secondary level, with a student population of 1,500 from eight ECOWAS member states - Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo and host Ghana.