Members of the Challenging Heights Advisory Board present, members of Challenging Heights Management Board present, staff of Challenging Heights, invited NGOs and CSOs, traditional and religious leaders present, invited stakeholders from selected district assemblies, invited media houses, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.


It is indeed an honour to be here with you today for the inauguration of Challenging Heights’ Northern Ghana Programs Office, in Tamale.


Challenging Heights was officially founded in the year 2005 by James Kofi Annan, a former victim of trafficking and child labour on the Lake Volta. Over the years, the initial community-based movement has evolved to become a leader among child rights organizations in Ghana and beyond. Challenging Heights combats child labour, child trafficking, and modern slavery by rescuing, rehabilitating and reintegrating child victims, advocating children’s rights in fishing communities and supporting families struggling with poverty so that they are not led to participate in the vicious forms of child labour and trafficking. Our mission is to prevent child trafficking, reduce child slavery and promote children’s rights.


Over the last 19 years, we have rescued over 2000 children from slavery and have rehabilitated, reintegrated and monitored over 1,000 children with their families in their communities in several parts of Ghana. The organization offer complementary programs in livelihoods and skills training focused on empowering women and young people economically, to achieve financial independence to fight poverty, a root cause of modern slavery. Over 5000 women and youth from various parts of Ghana have benefited from our youth and women's economic empowerment programs including vocational skills training, business support, cash transfer support etc.  We operate a Mother and Child Center that provides shelter to mostly young women who are single mothers and affected by trafficking, forced labour, forced and early marriages, and sexual and gender-based violence. While at the center, they are provided with vocational skills training to empower them in future.


In 2021, Challenging Heights, in collaboration with Anti-Slavery International and the International Institute for Environment and Development conducted research on the impact of climate change on migration and modern slavery. The research dubbed: “Climate-induced migration and modern slavery – A tool kit for policymakers” had findings indicating that:

  • Climate change and climate-induced migration heighten existing vulnerabilities of slavery;
  • Climate-induced displacements are becoming unavoidable;
  • Climate change policies increasingly recognise climate-induced migration and displacement as an issue.

Drawing from the findings and recommendations of this research, Challenging Heights has proceeded to commission a research dubbed “the #BlueGreen Project”. The #BlueGreen Project is a national research project that is being piloted in the coastal and middle zones of Ghana with the potential to scale to the Northern zone. The project seeks to tackle issues of environmental and sea pollution, environmental destruction, deforestation, mining etc., in selected communities in Ghana. The #BlueGreen project looks at the protection, preservation, and restoration of both aquatic/water (Blue) and land environment (Green), and preventing their destruction by meaningfully probing and analyzing the key issues, strategizing and engaging all stakeholders to implement interventions that will mitigate the impact of identified challenges. Through this research, we hope to be well-informed and better placed to design strategic interventions to mitigate the challenges identified.   We are therefore calling on sister NGOs and CSOs in the Northern Sector to partner with us in the implementation of the #BlueGreen Project in Northern Ghana.


In 2023, the organization received support from its partner, Kerk in Actie, to conduct a feasibility study on child trafficking and child labour in Northern Ghana. An action research was commissioned with the selection of an external consultant, to explore key issues of child trafficking, child labour and its worst forms, child domestic servitude and other related issues that affect children. The action research confirmed the existence of these and other issues affecting children in Northern Ghana. The research recommended among others, the scaling of Challenging Heights programs to the northern sector. Subsequently, the Central Gonja District was selected as our first project district, while plans are being made to enter other districts within the northern sector in 2024. So far, we have successfully conducted the following activities since we started operating:

  • Conducted action research on child labour and child trafficking prevention in Northern Ghana
  • Disseminated results of the action on child labour and child trafficking prevention in Northern Ghana
  • Conducted community durbars to sensitize and educate people on child labour and child trafficking
  • Formed Community Child Protection Committee (CCPC) and Child Rights Clubs
  • Supported our partner, Kerk in Actie, to shoot a documentary in the Central Gonja District
  • Conducted radio sensitization and discussions in collaboration with the DWS Officers
  • Identified and trained vulnerable women on child labour and trafficking prevention, and financial literacy

The opening of this office therefore marks a significant milestone in the work of Challenging Heights as we seek to bring closer, our efforts to protecting children from trafficking, child labour and its worst forms, to districts and communities in Northern Ghana. This office will consolidate our presence in the Northern Sector and facilitate the implementation of key project activities aimed at improving the lives and welfare of children, vulnerable women and youth. The Northern Programs Office will also support our current efforts of charting new frontiers in the areas of climate change, environmental protection, WASH, agric and food security.


We are inviting other NGOs in Northern Ghana to partner with us in the implementation projects in the areas of children, women, youth, environment, and climate change in Northern Ghana. It is only through synergy that the impact of interventions of NGOs on beneficiaries in the area can be maximized. I hope that you will welcome us to work together to better the lot of children in Ghana in general and Northern Ghana in particular. We have planned to observe this year’s World’s Day Against Child Labour and World’s Day Against Trafficking, with activities in the Northern Ghana Programs Office in Tamale and the Central Gonja District. I want to urge all of you to join us when the time comes.


I am grateful for your presence today as we inaugurate this office. I am equally grateful to Kerk in Actie and all our partners, for supporting the establishment of Challenging Heights’ Northern Ghana Programs Office. I also thank all the stakeholders who have supported us so far in our activities in the Northern Sector. I know we will continue to work together in harmony in the years ahead to improve the lives of vulnerable children, women and youth in Northern Ghana. We will continue to be inspired by the organization’s motor “To whom much is given, much is expected”.


God bless you all!

Thank you,

Enock Dery Pufaa

(Programs Director)

For: Cynthia Adjoa Annan

Ag. President