Madam Marian Mensah, the Director of Social Welfare and Community Development of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has urged girls to report any form of violence against them to her Department or the Police for necessary action to be taken.
She gave the advice at a mentorship programme in Accra organised by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Canadian Government.
The programme was to empower adolescent girls on Sexual Reproductive Health Right (SRHR) and Sexual/Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).
Some of the girls who attended the event were drawn from communities such as Mamprobi, Chorkor, Jamestown, Korle Gonno, and Kaneshie and were taken through topics like reproductive health, abstinence and cervical cancer.
Madam Mensah said: “We are bringing social work to your doorsteps; we will escort you to the police station to report any of violence against anybody and this is to help keep evidence so do not hesitate to report. You can also report any lady who tries to sexually harass you.”
She gave the assurance that her Department would endeavour to continue to monitor every child below the age of 18 years and to engage them so they do not become promiscuous but responsible and beneficial to society.
Madam Matilda Banfro, the Acting Greater Accra Regional Director of Gender, said; “Young people have the right to lead healthy lives, and society has the responsibility to prepare them by providing them with the education that will enable them to make healthy decisions.”
She said there was the need to reorient and educate adolescent girls on SRHR and SGBV to ensure that the girls were healthy, socially empowered and free from violence and discrimination.
“Currently women empowerment discourse has underscored the importance of Girl Child Education as a panacea to behavioural change, empower future women and promote sustainable development in the long term,” Madam Banfro said.
She said currently, there was some level of parity between boys and girls at the basic school level, adding that; “The picture, however, is not very encouraging as girls progress from basic to Senior High School and tertiary levels (Ghana’s MDG Report, 2015).”
Madam Banfro said among the factors that impede girl-child education and the realisation of their goals were teenage pregnancy, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), child marriage and the lack of comprehensive knowledge on their sexuality, reproductive health and rights.