Dr. Wilfred Ochan, the Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has affirmed the organisation’s unwavering commitment to supporting the Ministry of Religion and Chieftaincy Affairs in executing its mandate concerning the policy on religion.
This collaborative effort is aimed at contributing to the socio-economic development of the country through a comprehensive approach to religious affairs.
Speaking during a press conference on the proposed national policy on religion at Accra, Dr. Ochan highlighted the pivotal role of the Chieftaincy Ministry in shaping and implementing policies related to religious practices.
He assured continuous support from UNFPA to ensure the successful execution of the Ministry’s mandate, emphasizing the significance of their joint efforts in fostering positive societal development.
The UNFPA Country Representative underscored the global influence of religious leaders as key figures providing guidance, direction, and inspiration to people worldwide.
Role of religious leaders
He emphasised the significant role played by religious leaders, especially in unfamiliar areas. He noted that their unique ability to instil confidence and ease among their followers.
The UNFPA Country Representative highlighted that religious leaders are perceived to possess charisma and leadership qualities, making them instrumental in guiding individuals through uncharted paths.
He emphasised the widespread belief that these leaders play a crucial role in providing social support, particularly for adolescents facing the challenges of everyday life.
He added that religious leaders are central in mobilising the population to fight against gender-based violence and child marriage and ensure that young people are supported and protected.
Notably, the representative pointed out that Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) share distinctive relationships with young adolescents and teenagers in societies across the globe. He said the impact of these relationships is evident, reflecting the profound influence that religious leaders and FBOs exert on the youth.
He said religious leaders are also competent in mobilising communities to fight against social vices and all forms of violence and provided support to children and youth. He said religious bodies were helpful in shaping attitudes and bridging the gap between race, class, and ethnicity.
Dr Ochan, therefore, indicated that it was worth having a national framework to guide their activities through a broader spectrum of consultations.
He urged all stakeholders to participate fully in the formulation and development of the policy. He stressed that the inclusive approach seeks to incorporate diverse perspectives, with the overarching goal of promoting peace, harmony, and prosperity for the nation’s development.