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Plan International host forum to address societal obstacles to girls’ education

Plan International Ghana
Plan International Ghana

Plan international, a non-governmental organisation, in collaboration with the Akuapem North Municipal Assembly, has held its second phase of the Peer Educators Stakeholders Forum at Akropong in the Eastern Region to address social challenges impeding the education of girls.

The project, dubbed: “Be Smart, Learn and Stay Protected,” seeks to address issues around Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and gender inequalities in targeted communities to help adolescent girls to learn and protect themselves from SGBV.

It is further designed to create a forum for children to share their peculiar challenges as a result of unsafe practices in their communities and to give them a voice to overcome the challenges, which prevent them from completing their education.

It is funded by Beiersdorf and Nevia, the manufacturer of Nevia products.

Mr Mahmoud E.K. Nantomah, the Project Coordinator, in a welcoming address said Plan International had been in the Eastern Region for 20 years and had rolled out several social intervention initiatives, particularly tailored to addressing social challenges preventing girls from achieving their dreams.

“Plan International strives to achieve a significant and lasting impact on the lives of children and young people and secures equality for girls,” he said.

He cited the NGO’s partnership with the Akuapem North Assembly to roll out a programme to ensure that children who dropped out of school because of the COVID-19 had the opportunity to return to school.

He said the organisation stood for a just world where girls were empowered to achieve their full potential.

“Be Smart, Learn and Stay Protected” Phase ‘2’ is a build-on of Phase ‘1’ for another two years in 20 communities in both the Oti and Eastern Regions in three districts of the two regions,” he said.

Mr Nantomah mentioned communities such as Mangoase, Kwamoso, Aboabo, Timber Nkwanta, and Okorase in the Akuapem Municipality that are to benefit from the project.

The project was born out of the COVID-19 lockdown with its attendant challenges as a result of which some girls dropped out of school and some became pregnant, while others took on vocational and apprenticeship jobs.

This led to the intervention by Plan International, in collaboration with Beiersdorf, to empower the girls through the training of Community Based Child Protection Committees (CBCPC) to address the challenges.

The Peer Educators mentioned some of the challenges militating against adolescents’ education as teenage pregnancy, abuse, substance abuse, student absenteeism, and lack of parental care.

Mrs Angela Nagartey, the Akuapem North Municipal Head of Social Welfare and Community Development, said the Assembly was redoubling efforts to gazette its bye-laws, which would pave the way for the challenges to be tackled extensively.

She urged teachers and parents not to hesitate to report such cases to her outfit, being the first point of call, for the necessary action to be taken.

Mr Bless Kofi Vieku, the Project Manager, said it was the practice that children in the communities did not have a voice but through the programme, children were able to articulate their grievances and the odds against them at the community level.

The CBCPCs and Champions of Change at the community level helped to identify and address issues of child protection and discouraged gender inequalities through series of advocacy, he said.

Mr Samuel Adjinbaruk, a Deputy Director, Akuapem North Municipal Assembly, commended Plan International for the instrumental role it continued to play in improving the lot of adolescent girls in the area.

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