IC4C Youth Groups Holds Stakeholder Engagement On SRH Education In Wa

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Ic C Youth Groups
Ic C Youth Groups

The Informed Choices for Change (IC4C) Youth Groups, a coalition of youth networks in the Upper West Region under the aegis of Noorsac, has held a multi-stakeholder engagement on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education in Wa, the Upper West Regional capital, over the weekend.

The IC4C Youth Groups formed part of Noorsac’s strategic approach towards engendering youth voices for policy influencing and advocacy and in particular, advocacy for SRH education under the project “Informed Choices for Change (IC4C).”

Noorsac is a gender-based advocacy organization working to promote women’s participation in governance, reproductive health activities, social inclusion, and peace and security.

The engagement dubbed “Youth-a-Talk”, among other things, sought to illicit diverse stakeholder perspectives towards advocating for the smooth implementation of Reproductive Health Education (RHE) guidelines in the country.

Mr. Abdul-Mumin Abubakari, the IC4C Project Manager, said the project was present in Northern Ghana and in its fourth phase with a focus on calling on stakeholders to fast-track the processes leading to the implementation of the RHE guidelines.

He said the IC4C youth groups’ strategy was to give young people a voice in seeking the status and implementation of the guidelines that had been drafted and were said to have been undergoing review.

“There’s a consensus that reproductive health education is very important and Ghana, as a country, has been trying for some time now to implement in schools RHE programs. Now, some guidelines were developed around that to guide the implementation process, but there’s been a loud silence on the guidelines.

“As an organization [Noorsac], we feel it’s important that young people speak for themselves and make inquiries as to why there’s a silence on the RHE guidelines and also push stakeholders to implement the guidelines,” he said.

He indicated that the implementation of the guidelines was necessary to promote young people’s access to accurate reproductive health (RH) information and rights.

Mr James Baba Anabiga, the Speaker of the Upper West Regional Youth Parliament, one of the IC4C member youth groups, said the project was in line with efforts to contribute to access to RH information and services by adolescents to help reduce the incidences of teenage pregnancies and its attendant effects.

He noted that the lack of access to accurate RH information and services by young people was detrimental to their well-being and their ability to make informed decisions.

He cited the instances of young girls trading sex for sanitary goods and some substituting “polythene” bags for condoms as some of the ill-informed choices that were found in some parts of the region.

“It’s because we are not educating them rightly; so if we educate them rightly about sex, we believe strongly that this issue would not be a challenge to us.

“And that’s the fact that if we do not educate them rightly, they will educate themselves wrongly or wrong people will educate them wrongly and we are the same people who will suffer it,” he said.

Sharing excerpts of the RHE, Mr. Mulumba Songsore, Executive Director of Necessary Aid Alliance, an IC4C member organization, said the RHE concept and its guidelines were borne out of the mixed reactions that met the proposed introduction of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in Ghanaian basic schools.

He, therefore, called on the stakeholders at the forum to carefully interrogate the concept and provide thoughtful perspectives for the comprehensive and inclusive implementation of the RHE guidelines.

The participants at the forum engaged in focused group discussions and shared insights into the concept that the IC4C team was going to collaborate in issuing a position paper for engaging stakeholders.

Participants at the forum were drawn from the Ghana Education Service, Ghana Health Services, civil society organizations (CSOs), traditional authorities, disability federations, and youth groups within the Upper West Region.

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