The Central Regional Department of Gender on Wednesday organised a community documentary road show in Elmina to educate guardians, parents and community members on the implications of adolescent pregnancy and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
It was organised in collaboration with the Central Regional Coordinating Council (CRCC) and funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) – UNICEF’s joint Adolescent Girls Programme.
Mrs Thywill Eyra Kpe, Regional Director of the Department of Gender, said SGBV and adolescent pregnancy were serious social issues impeding the health, education, social and economic development of both adolescent girls and their families.
She said although there has been a gradual decline in adolescent pregnancy from 14.8 percent in 2014 and 2015 to 13.2 percent in 2018, more young girls continue to get pregnant in the Region.
She said women and girls were confronted with issues of SGBV in the region, worrying among them were defilement, rape, sexual harassment, assault, abduction and non-maintenance.
Mrs Kpe said there is the need to scale up efforts to address such problems in order to safeguard the future and rights of women and girls as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goal Five (SDG 5) was to which empower all women and girls by 2030.
She said the Department has adopted the evening community road shows as a way of engendering behavioural change among parents and adolescents to help reduce the prevalence of SGBV and teenage pregnancies in their communities.
D/CPL Richard Boadi-Twum, an official from the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service in Cape Coast, took participants through child marriage, sexual offenses and their related punishments.
He said a person who engages in domestic violence committed an offence that could attract not less than 25 years imprisonment under DOVVSU Act.
He said the continuous increase in the cases of child abuse, defilement and non-maintenance as well as rape in the Region was disturbing.
“Unemployment should not be an excuse to shirk one’s parental responsibility, failure to properly cater for children jeopardizes their future, once you have given birth, you need to take care of that child” he said.
He expressed the commitment of DOVVSU to partner the various agencies to educate the public on the effects of SGBV and called on the parents and guardians to play their respective roles.
Mr Frederick Nartey, Assistant Registrar of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) at Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA), urged parents to discuss sex-related issues with their children especially, girls before puberty.
He said irresponsible parenting was a major contributory factor that led teenagers to engage in pre-marital relationships which often led to pregnancies.
“Parents must, therefore, take full responsibility in the upbringing of their children”, he said.