Ghana, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), have celebrated the positive outcomes of the 5.2 million dollar Better Life for Girls (BLG) programme.
A statement issued by UNICEF copied to the Ghana News Agency said the BLG programme, a partnership between the Government of Ghana, UNICEF and KOICA, had ended with a call to sustain and scale up interventions for adolescent girls in Ghana.
This, it said would contribute to continued progress towards the country’s attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals and the implementation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child.
It noted that the partners reviewed progress and celebrated the results achieved under the BLG in Ghana programme.
It said the partners also shared best practices, lessons learnt and the significant potential to sustain and scale up the interventions.
The statement said the event also provided a platform to adolescent girls and young people to share their perspectives on the impact of the various integrated activities across all sectors, including health and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, education, protection and empowerment.
Mr Moon Heon Kong, the Country Director of KOICA, expressed his gratitude to the Government of Ghana and to UNICEF for the success of the BLG project and outlined the achievements in the recent years.
“KOICA Ghana has consistently demonstrated support to strengthening Ghana’s education sector by expanding opportunities for improved basic and tertiary education as well as technical and vocational education and training along with support to policy development and advocacy for increased national ownership,” he said.
“Beyond the BLG project, KOICA is supporting the education sector with the provision of a new grant in collaboration with Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service, for the ‘Promotion of Girls’ Competency in Mathematics and Science with Gender-Responsive Pedagogy’ project, which aims to improve the academic performance and transition rates of girls in selected districts within the Central and Eastern regions.
“The project will start in the latter quarters of this year 2021 and will address improvement in math and science education and mentorship for Junior High School Girls in Ghana’s public schools.”
Madam Anne-Claire Dufay, the UNICEF Representative in Ghana, congratulated and thanked the Government of Ghana and KOICA for this strategic partnership, which has been making a real difference in the lives of thousands of adolescent girls in Ghana.
“The Better Life for Girls programme has enabled many vulnerable adolescent girls to stay in school through targeted interventions, including facilitating the re-entry to school of young mothers after childbirth,” she said.
“Together, we have also empowered adolescent girls through vocational, entrepreneurial and life skills training as a measure to combat child marriage.
“As the UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore said, “Adolescent girls are a tremendous engine of progress. They drive economies. They transform communities. And they lead change around the world. But only if we give them that chance.”
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister of Education, said: “It is interesting to note that with the advent of the free Senior High School, parents don’t have to make a choice between sending the boy to school instead of the girl.”
He noted that consequently, the gross enrolment ratio for girls at the secondary level has grown during the last four years.
“The best Senior High School based on the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) is a girls’ school. We know that as we support girls, they will achieve, and they will make the country proud. They will also lay a strong foundation for us to realize the nexus between education and socio-economic transformation,” he said.
“We will do everything possible to ensure that education plays its rightful role in the socio-economic transformation process, especially when it comes to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)– we want to make sure we grow these numbers and as we grow them we are not going to leave the girls behind,” the Minister added.
The BLG programme has demonstrated strong results which have the potential to be scaled nationwide.
The Government of Ghana, UNICEF and KOICA will continue in their efforts to support and empower adolescent girls to reach their highest potential.
The implementation of $5.2 million BLG project was funded by the KOICA Ghana Office and in partnership with the UNICEF Ghana with the aim to equip adolescent girls in Ghana with knowledge, skills and an enabling environment to make informed decisions.
The BLG Project which commenced in May 2017 till March 2021 primarily targeted girls in the Northern, Savannah, North-East, Oti and Volta Regions to increase their access to learning and skills development opportunities.
It further ensured that communities and institutions discussed pressing issues related to adolescent girls, including child marriage, teenage pregnancy and gender-based violence.