The She Leads project has chalked successes in its first year of implementation, Miss Leenat Abdul-Rahman, the Executive Director of the Community Aid for Rural Development (CARD-Ghana), has said.
The successes include support for some dropped out girls to return to school and building leadership capacity of Senior High School girls, which influenced nine of the girls at Wa Senior High Technical School to contest for leadership positions out of which eight won.
The project had also exerted a significant influence in changing some gender norms at the project communities, which were Nyagli, Kperisi, Sagu, Chegli and Chansa.
Miss Abdul-Rahman said this in Wa at stakeholders She Leads project review session.
Traditional and religious leaders, representatives from the Departments of Gender and Girl-Child Education, Girls and Young Women Networks, Assembly Members and the leadership of the Upper West Regional Youth Parliament attended the meeting.
The She Leads project is a five-year project being implemented by the She Leads Consortium in six regions, including the Upper West, North East, Greater Accra, Ashanti, Western North, and Central Regions with financial support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In the Upper West Region, the Plan International Ghana, one of the consortium organisations, is leading the project implementation in partnership with CARD-Ghana.
“The project is aimed at building a social movement that will help advocate the issues affecting Girls Young Women (GYW) like negative gender norms, their participation in decision and leadership at all levels,” Miss Abdul-Rahman explained.
She also raised concerns about the attitude of some GYW sharing their nude pictures on the internet, which she said did not augur well for their development and called for concerted efforts of stakeholders to help nib the practice in the bud.
In a presentation, Miss Ernestina Biney, the She Leads Project Coordinator at CARD-Ghana, explained that the organisation had carried out several activities in the communities, including cooking, tug of war and debate competitions between the boys and girls as part of efforts to change some gender norms.
She said, as part of the success, parents had committed to include their male children in the performance of household chores while the community members had also pledged to give girls fair opportunities as their male counterparts in community activities.
“Chiefs, Imams, and political influencers pledged to support girls and young women leadership and their meaningful engagement in all community development initiatives and decisions”, Madam Biney added.
She explained that the difficulty in mobilizing the communities for the activities had been a major challenge to them and appealed for maximum cooperation of the partner communities for the success of the project.
ASP Adongo Apiiya, the Wa Municipal Crime Officer and Acting DOVSU Coordinator, Upper West Regional Police Command, urged parents to guide their wards in the use of electronic devices such as mobile phones to prevent them from sharing nude pictures on the internet.
He said it was also an offence to take nude pictures of children and share the same on the internet as well as sharing someone’s nude pictures on the internet without his or her consent, which he said could attract varying degrees of punishment.