Enforce laws to protect adolescent girls – Gov’t urged

Adolescent Girls

Stakeholders at a dialogue session on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), unintended pregnancies and harmful practices have called on law enforcement agencies to protect the rights of adolescent girls and young women against such negative practices.
They demanded that besides the enforcement of laws, the government should operationalise the domestic violence fund to offer support to survivors of SGBV and other harmful practices.
They urged parents to pay close attention to their children, especially the girls, and provide their needs to prevent them from acts that would lead to unintended pregnancies.
The dialogue session, held in Tamale, was attended by representatives of state institutions, traditional authorities, civil society organisations (CSOs), youth groups and the media from the Northern Region.
It created the platform for participants to share their activities aimed at finding a lasting solution to SGBV, unintended pregnancies and harmful practices.
It was organised by Norsaac, a human rights community engagement, and policy influencing organisation, as part of its Power to Youth (PtY) project.
The PtY project is being implemented by a consortium of CSOs (Youth Advocates Ghana, Ghana SRH Alliance and Songtaba) led by Norsaac, with funding support from Rutgers.
The project supports girls and young women from remote or marginalised communities in the Northern, Savannah, North East and Upper East Regions to make informed choices, enjoy their sexuality and be free from harmful practices in a gender-equitable society.
Madam Bushira Alhassan, the Acting Northern Regional Director of the Department of Gender, speaking during the session, said the Department had been engaging traditional and religious leaders as well as community members on the effects of SGBV, and harmful practices on the lives of adolescent girls and young women.
She said the Department directly engaged young people in the communities and held mentoring sessions for them on the issues, including teenage pregnancies and responsible lifestyles.
She urged all stakeholders to rededicate themselves to protecting the interest of adolescent girls and young women to ensure that they grew up in a free environment where their voices would be heard.
Sagnarigu Zagban Naa Mahama Alanse Bukari, a sub-chief from Sagnarigu Traditional Area, said issues of SGBV, teenage pregnancies and harmful practices featured prominently in the bi-weekly meetings of the traditional authorities at Sagnarigu to discuss matters affecting the area.
He said it was important for parents to provide for the needs and wants of their children, especially their adolescent girls, to enable them to remain in school.
Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu, the Northern Regional Minister, who was represented during the event, urged the youth to desist from drug abuse and other vices to safeguard their future.
Blessilla Na-afoe Kandoh, the Youth Advocacy and Campaigns Coordinator at Norsaac, expressed the need for the various stakeholders to do more to find lasting solution to issues of SGBV, unintended pregnancies and harmful practices in the communities.

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