Volta Regional Stakeholder Consultation on National Policy on Religion held


Stakeholders from diverse backgrounds in the Volta region have expressed the need to accommodate the rich diversity of religious beliefs in the proposed National Policy on Religion.

At the Volta regional edition of the nationwide regional stakeholder engagements on the policy, representatives from various religious, cultural, and community groups in the region emphasised the need for mutual understanding and respect among different faiths in the country. 

The Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs has two major policy reforms under consideration. These are the Review of the Chieftaincy Act, 2002 (Act 759) and the development of National Policy on Religion, the very reason for the regional stakeholder consultations. 

The legal framework for the proposed religious policy is underpinned by Article 21(1)(c) of the 1992 Constitution, which states that “All persons shall have the right to freedom to practice any religion and to manifest such practice”. 

The aim of the National Policy on Religion is to foster an inclusive and tolerant religious environment, promote social cohesion and peaceful coexistence across the religious diversity in the country. 

The Volta Regional Coordinating Director, Mr Augustus Awity, said religion is a two-edged sword to build up and destroy. He was hopeful that the consultation will serve as a focal point through which synergies among stakeholders will be harnessed in the formulation of the policy for national development.

“I am happy Government has come out with a policy on religion so that it will provide a focal point of inclusiveness of the people and it is also easy when religious leaders want to kick against your policy; they can easily do that on the pulpit, in the various Mosques and the various Voodoos and shrines across the country,” Mr. Awity said.

The Officer in Charge of Programme Support for Gender and Human rights at the United Nations population fund, Abigail Edem Hunu, underscored the power of religion in socio-cultural change and noted that UNFPA recognises the importance of understanding and respecting religious and cultural diversity. ” Cultural and religious practice plays a crucial role in shaping attitudes and behaviours related to reproductive health, family planning and gender issues,” she said.

“We need religious leaders and institutions play crucial role in shaping community attitudes.UNFPA recognises the importance of engaging with religious leaders to promote dialogue and understanding. In some cases religious teachings may align with the principles of human rights, social justice and the wellbeing of individuals and families,” Miss Hunu added.

The Paramount Chief of Akoefe Traditional Area, Togbe Drake Tsigbe, said the proposed policy aims to address challenges related to religious intolerance and promote unity among Ghanaians in all spheres of religious practice. He added that the consultations are crucial in the development of a cohesive and inclusive policy to promote religious harmony, diversity and tolerance in the country.

According to him, the outcomes of the regional engagements will be crucial in shaping the final draft of the national policy on religion. “It will also provide a framework for the protection and promotion of the rights freedoms of all religious groups that will also be in the prevention and resolution of conflicts that may arise from religious differences,” Togbe noted.

Participants engaged in constructive conversations, emphasising the need for mutual understanding and respect among different faiths.