Mr James Twene, the Upper East Regional Director of the Department of Gender has called on men and boys to support efforts being made to end the menace of teenage pregnancy and child marriage.
Mr Twene said teenage pregnancies and child marriages continued to be the bane in Ghana’s development drive and said men and boys had critical roles to play to end the canker.
The Regional Director made the call at separate functions in Bawku West, Nabdam, and Talensi Districts, at a refresher training programmes for men and boys as part of the implementation of the five-year United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) adolescent and reproductive health and rights project.
The project carried out in collaboration with the government of Ghana and funded by Global Affairs Canada is being implemented by the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council.
The training sought to build the capacity of the participants to protect, prevent, and respond to issues of child marriages, teenage pregnancies and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), and other harmful cultural practices
Mr Twene said research had shown that men and boys who were usually trained on SGBV issues did not often engage in violence, particularly domestic violence.
“By leaving men, boys, and parents out of child marriage and SGBV issues, it will be very difficult to address the problem in our communities. Therefore, the commitment in engaging men and boys is in line with the Beijing Platform for Action (1995) which affirmed women’s concerns could only be addressed in partnership with men”, he stressed.
He explained that the programme was also targeted at addressing the Sustainable Development Goals particularly goals four and five which call for access to quality education by all, and the ending of all forms of discrimination, violence against women and girls, harmful practices among others.
The project is being implemented in 36 communities in six districts in the region and it is aimed at empowering the beneficiary communities and stakeholders to become abreast with gender and reproductive health issues, the impact of child marriage and teenage pregnancy, and how to end it.
Mrs Georgina Aberese-Ako, the Acting Upper East Regional Director of the Department of Children, who took the participants through some of the SGBV issues, entreated parents to provide for the needs of their daughters and to be responsible towards them.
She said that would prevent the girls from giving themselves to men in exchange for their basic needs.
Ms Sedonia Adabugah, the Talensi District Adolescent Coordinator of the Ghana Health Service, lamented the upsurge of teenage pregnancy and child marriage in the region and urged all stakeholders to support fight the trend.
The men and boys clubs which were assisted to draw their action plans pledged to fight hard to help confront the challenges by holding sensitization programmes at public places including churches, mosques and ensuring that adolescent health corners were provided at the appropriate places.