Adolescent mothers, pregnant girls receive education on Sexual and Gender-based Violence

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Ho Social Gender Department
Ho Social Gender Department
Spining

The Volta Regional Department of Gender has held an advocacy meeting with adolescent mothers and pregnant girls from seven communities in the Afadzato South District of the Volta region.

The meeting on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health, Sexual and Gender-based Violence and Child Marriage formed part of the Global Programme to end child marriage under the UNFPA Seven Country Programme that saw participants trained with UNFPA Child Marriage tool kits.

Mrs Thywill Eyra Kpe, the Volta Regional Director of the Department of Gender, noted that child marriage, a human rights abuse, was quite high in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Programme was a collective effort to reduce the menace.

She added that in Ghana, child marriage had declined to 19 per cent in 2018 from 27 per cent in 2011.

The Volta region has also seen some decrease to 24 per cent from 29.3 per cent within the same period according to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2018.

Mrs Kpe noted that teenage pregnancy had been identified as both a cause and effect of child marriage with a serious implication on the country’s population dynamics, adding that the region was also facing issues of teenage pregnancies with over 6,000 cases recorded in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

“Under the UNFPA Seven Country Program, we are targeting these young people to help reduce teenage pregnancies. Our goal is to leave no one behind, so we have programmes that are targeting different categories of stakeholders.”

Mrs Kpe said while adolescent girls would wish to pursue their dreams, childbirth as a result of teenage pregnancy was a challenge as most of them did not know how to pursue their aims nor have the parental support to do so.

She said the UNFPA CP7 Programme was also engaging other target groups such as parents, youth groups, faith-based organisations and ‘okada riders’ who some girls identified as key contributors to teenage pregnancies.

Mrs Kpe expressed the hope that the work with the young people and other target groups would go a long way to help reduce the canker and achieve Gender Equality for the development of the country.

She urged the participants to become ambassadors and use their experiences to avoid falling victim to pregnancy again and educate others on the implications of early pregnancy and marriage.

Mr Lover Dzramado, the District Guidance and Counselling Coordinator of the GES, Afadzato South, noted that 112 pregnancies were recorded from Basic and Senior High Schools in the District from 2018/19 to 2021.

He said 36 of the students benefitted from the re-entry policy in the District at the Basic level and nine at the second-cycle level within the period.

Mr Dzramado said the creation of a safe environment for girls, building girls’ self-esteem and confidence, provision of information on sources of support services, age-appropriate Guidance and Counselling Services for all levels were some responses to address the issue of pregnancy and schooling.

He said girls who failed to report to schools when placed, girls who did not return promptly after childbirth, the attitude of the public against young mothers, low level of commitment of parents and guardians were some challenges facing the re-entry policy.

Mr Dzramado said the way forward was to continue to support regional, district and community level engagements with other stakeholders, community sensitisation and media support for the dissemination process.

Some participants said they would act as ambassadors to educate other young girls in their various communities on what they learnt, adding that the workshop was very beneficial and had helped them a lot.

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