The Chiefs and other traditional leaders in the Agogo, Traditional area of the Asante-Akim Central District, have pledged their support to combat the rising incidence of teenage pregnancy and early marriages.
Nana Obeng Agyei Sawansan, the Mmoanikohene of the traditional area said though the role of traditional leaders in curbing the menace was paramount to achieving desired outcomes, they would need the collaboration and support of all stakeholders – parents, teachers and Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s), among others.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum on teenage pregnancy and early child marriage at Agogo, Nana Sawansan underscored the need for parents to keep eagle eyes on their children, especially teenage girls and do everything to provide all their needs.
“This is very important to protect them from falling prey to men who used money as inducements for sexual relationships, which often resulted in unwanted pregnancies”.
“Needy girls are always vulnerable”, he added and urged parents as well as teachers to join efforts in taking good care and ensuring children’s proper monitoring both at home and school for their total protection.
The forum was organised by the Sekyere East Cluster of World Vision International Ghana (WVI-G) in collaboration with the Obaapa Development Foundation aimed at soliciting the support of traditional and other opinion leaders in the local communities to address teenage pregnancy and early child marriage in the area.
Nana Sawansan said the Agogo traditional council was planning to work together with the Department of Social Welfare and the Ghana police Service to deal drastically with irresponsible men who impregnated young girls and worse of all, refused to take care of them.
Nana Afrakoma Serwaa Kusi Oboadum, Queen of the Agogo Traditional Area advised mothers not to be compelled by financial constraints to give out their children for early marriages and instead, be bold to report all cases of violence against them and their children to the Police, Department of Social Welfare and the traditional leaders, for redress.
Mr Joshua Baidoo, Southern Operations Manager of WVI-G said the focus and motivation of WVI-G in funding and supporting the initiative was to help ensure “a better balance of men and women’ in the society”.
This would help enhance enrolment, retention, basic school completion rate and a reduction of drop-out incidence, especially among teenage school girls.
Nana Adjoa Awindor, Executive Director of the Obaapa Development Foundation said her organisation’s focus was to protect and empower teenage girls to attain higher academic levels to enable them play meaningful roles in the society.
She said her organisation had targeted to send 1,000 teenage mothers back to school, adding that, so far 60 of them in the Ashanti and Volta Regions, were supported to return to school.