The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has organized a day’s workshop for adolescents in the Ningo-Prampram District to enable them to champion reproductive health rights and fight gender-based violence in their communities.
The mentoring programme for some selected schools in the District, which brought together 71 participants, was held in collaboration with the Ningo-Prampram District Assembly (NIPDA) with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Canadian government.
Madam Matilda Banfro, Acting Greater Accra Regional Director, Department of Gender, in an address, said the programme was to reorient and educate the young girls on their sexual reproductive health right, sexual and gender-based violence.
Madam Banfro said the exercise was also to help curb teenage pregnancy, early childhood and forced marriages and vulnerability to sexual-based violence.
It will also provide the necessary tools for adolescents to know their rights and make informed decisions.
She said years of the patriarchal system had left damaging effects on the world as it had deprived the rights of some girls and women in the development agenda, which had resulted in some women being counted among the most marginalized and vulnerable groups.
She said unleashing the potentials in the girl child was an effective pathway to addressing poverty, improving areas of education and health as well as making society more inclusive and reducing gender-based violence in the society.
Madam Juliana Abbey-Quaye, Eastern Regional Director of Department, speaking on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, said Ghana was a deeply gendered society where the socio-culture norms governed attitudes, behaviours, practices and expectations which resulted in gender inequality.
She said gender-based violence was any act perpetrated against the will of a person because of their sex and gender, adding that such violence could be sexual, physical, emotional, economic and harmful traditional practices.
Madam Abbey-Quaye, therefore, encouraged the adolescents to report to the police and other stakeholders issues relating to gender and sexual violence as there were existing laws to deal with perpetrators.
Madam Gifty Ansah, the District Health Director of Ningo-Prampram District, who did a presentation on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights and STIs, said adolescence was a transitional stage from childhood to adulthood.
She said information and education about Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services were essential for the adolescents to be able to free themselves from discrimination, coercion and violence in one’s sexual decision and sexual life.
She said if the adolescents were well informed, they could demand equality and mutual respect in sexual relationships.
Madam Zubaida Damago, Gender Desk Officer at NIPDA, on her part, entreated the girls to strive to achieve distinctions in their academic journey to become well-equipped people for the benefit of society.
Madam Damago, who also doubled as the Development Planning Officer of NIPDA, reminded the adolescents’ girls that they were the future leaders of the country.
Other officials from the Ghana Education Service, Ghana Health Service and other stakeholders urged the participants to abstain from sexual activities as it had consequences on their academic performances.