In less than a year following their launch, members of ActionAid’s Community-Based Anti-violence Team (COMBAT) in Kpogadzi, a community in the Volta Region of Ghana, have made progress in promoting the rights of women and children in the community as well as assisting to promote community peace and respect for rights through their mediation skills.
Secretary of the team, George Attah Kpobi, 33 years, talked about the work of COMBAT in the community,
“The community has faith in us because of the work we are doing. We have tackled several human rights issues that were mainly focused on advocating against domestic violence and settling petty disputes. We also dealt with and handled a child kidnapping case, the child in question is now back home with her parents.”
Vida Dzamesi, 24, is also a member of COMBAT in Kpogadz,
“Initially, we were unaware of some of the social protection services government provides such as the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DoVVSU) of the Ghana Police and the Department of Social Welfare. However, after our training sessions with the Ghana Police Service and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), we understood how these services worked and also learnt how to promote the rights of women and children, and men too, using these structures”
Vida, along with her team members, are the new faces of rights promotion in their communities. Working with the Police, they are fighting for the protection of the rights and dignity of everyone in the community, including themselves.
“I was maltreated by an employer and did not know how to address this abuse but now that I am knowledgeable on decent work and human rights, I am able to stand up for myself. Through my own personal experiences, I have the skills to intervene and offer advice to people on decent work and hold employers accountable in this community.”
For Vida Dzamesi, being a member of COMBAT and seeing the difference they are bringing to their community brings her joy and accomplishment.
“It is empowering fighting for the rights of others and knowing that people trust your judgement”
Editor’s Note: The Community-Based Anti-violence Team (COMBAT) are a group of rights-minded and development-oriented men and women who have undergone extensive training and sensitisation by Ghana's Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DoVVSU). These advocates pursue the realization of human rights in their various communities by campaigning against child marriage, domestic violence, Female Genital Mutilation, and other rights abuses. They are the eyes and ears of DoVVSU and the Ghana Police Service in their communities, providing crucial information and evidence on human rights abuses.