The Department of Gender of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has engaged watchdog committees at Mafi-Dadoboe in the Volta Region to address sexual, gender-based violence and adolescent pregnancy.
It was also aimed at promoting gender equality and empowerment of women and girls in the communities.
Members of the voluntary watchdog committees at Mafi-Wute, Mafi-Dadoboe and Mafi-Tsawla, all in the Central Tongu District, were taken through defilement, rape, psychological and physical violence, and incest among other key issues.
Mrs Thywill Eyra Kpe, the Volta Regional Director of the Department of Gender, said: “These issues retard development and our personal growth.”
She took participants through some emerging trends of addressing domestic, sexual and gender-based violence within the various communities and charged them to educate the people with the knowledge acquired.
Mrs Kpe said domestic violence put undue financial pressure on victims and their families as well as affecting the future of the girl-child, adding that such issues should never be handled by the traditional ruler.
“Report any act of domestic violence, especially defilement and rape, to the police and the appropriate government agencies so they could handle it in a manner that would be corrected since they are punishable by the laws of Ghana,” she said.
Mrs Kpe appealed to them to rise up to the fight against abuse of women and girls, which undermined their human development goals and fundamental rights.
Togbe Akliku Ahorney II, the Dufia of Dadoboe, presiding, entreated participants to develop strategies to aid in the elimination of domestic violence and commended the Department of Gender and UNFPA for the initiative.
Madam Agnes Nyarko, the Acting Central Tongu Public Health Nurse, said three adolescent girls had fallen victims to teenage pregnancy in Dadoboe alone.
She said about 20.3 per cent of teenage pregnancy cases were recorded for the first quarter of 2021, compared to 17.2 per cent within the same period last year.
“We also recorded a total number of 225 safe abortions in the District during last year,” she said.
Mr Hoya Raphael, the Leader of Mafi-Tsawla Seven-member committee, speaking to the GNA, expressed satisfaction about the programme and pledged, on behalf of his colleagues, to support the programme’s implementation in the communities.
Mrs Eva Agbenyega, leader of Mafi-Dadoboe watchdog committee, said the workshop would empower them to achieve positive results.
The sensitisation was held under the auspices of the Volta Regional Coordinating Council as part of efforts to implement the Seventh Country Programme of the UNFPA, which focuses on addressing gender equality, adolescent sexual and reproductive health rights, sexual and Gender-Based Violence, and the rights of women and girls.
The watchdog committees, which were established in 2019 at Mafi Dadoboe and six other satellite communities, form part of the UNFPAs implementation agenda.
Committee members were presented with wellington boots, mosquito repellent and torch lights to help in carrying out their activities.