Beneficiary communities of the Legacy Project on Girl’s Empowerment (LPGE) in the Upper West Region have recounted the impact of the project on the education and development of adolescent girls in their communities.
They said, through the project, the rate of teenage pregnancy and child marriage and the attendant school dropout of schoolgirls had been reduced to the barest minimum, and in some communities, the menace had ended.
Naa Abdulai Danwaa, the chief of the Nakore community in the Wa Municipality, made this known during a stakeholders’ engagement meeting in Wa.
The Centre for the Promotion of Democratic Governance (CENPRODEG) organised the meeting to create a platform for the stakeholders of the beneficiary communities to review the project implementation to enable them to ascertain the successes and challenges of the project after a year of its implementation.
CENPRODEG is implementing the two-year LPGE project in 20 rural communities in the region with funding support from Defence for Children International.
The project is aimed to empower the girl child and reduce teenage pregnancy, child marriage, and school dropout in the region.
As part of the project implementation, CENPRODEG had, among other things, assisted the communities to constitute community child protection committees to help curb the menace of teenage pregnancy and child marriages.
Naa Danwaa said, “We have formed committees and we have a time that every child must be indoors. The committee members go out in the night and any child outside at that time is punished severely.”
“Because of this we don’t see teenage pregnancy and child marriages in our community again, ”he added.
He explained that they had also banned all kinds of entertainment in the community since they were breeding grounds for the young people to engage in illicit behaviours such as fornication.
Pognaa Amamata Mumuni, the Queenmother of Duori, a suburb of Wa, urged the members of the committees to take their work very seriously due to the results the communities were reaping from that initiative.
She also appealed to the community members to always take interest in the activities of Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) in their communities as those NGOs were there to help in the community’s development.
Pognaa Mumuni, who had played an active role in the project implementation, accused parents, especially mothers, of influencing their girl children to engage in “boyfriend-girlfriend” relationships due to the petty monetary benefits they received from the men.
She encouraged the communities to expose perpetrators of teenage pregnancy and child marriage for them to face the full rigors of the law.
Madam Edith Naaza, the Project Coordinator of CENPRODEG, indicated that they had been providing skills training in soap making for the women in the project communities to enable them to have alternative sources of income to cater properly for their children.
She urged parents to intermittently motivate the girls in schools such as regular visits to the school and providing their basic needs to enable them stay in school.
Traditional leaders, Assembly Members, and members of the Community Child protection committees of the Nakore, Kadoli, Kpongu, and Dignafuro communities attended the meeting.