The Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana (YHFG), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), has begun the implementation of the “Youth4Change Project” in five communities in the Nabdam District of the Upper East Region.
The one-year project, to halt child marriages with funding support from the Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator, is being implemented in the Dasabligo, Natigodi, Kongo, Pelungu and Sakoti communities in the District.
Mrs Abigail Adumolga Tiwol, the Project Supervisor, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency during a community sensitization durbar, said the project aptly titled: “Youth4Change” was because the youth would be used to bring about change.
“There are two basic things that we are undertaking in this project and they are on child marriage and adolescent sexual and reproductive health. If you look at the statistics on child marriage issues, the Upper East is leading with 28 per cent”, she said.
She described the statistics as worrying because the entire country recorded 19 per cent of child marriages.
Mrs Tiwol said figures available to the YHFG from the Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Education Service, indicates that the rate of teenage pregnancy and school dropout in the Nabdam District was too high and this prompted the implementation of the project in the five selected communities.
She said they would use community-based ambassadors or peer educators to educate members of the communities and stakeholders on the consequences of child marriage.
“Many parents still engage in the practice of giving out their teenage girls for marriage because they do not know the consequences involved in the act and the YHFG intends to educate parents and stakeholders on the dangers of child marriages.
Mrs Tiwol said due to the rate of school dropouts, coupled with teenage pregnancies, the project would ensure comprehensive sex education to the youth to minimize the practice.
The YHFG, as part of the sensitization programme, organized friendly soccer games, egg and sack race and hepatitis B screening exercise for members of the communities.
Naba Yarium Namoog, the chief of Kotintaabig, thanked the NGO for the initiative and urged the communities to desist from the practice of child marriage and channel their energies into educating the girl child.