The Voices of Youth Coalition (VYC), a group of young advocates in Wa, has initiated a campaign for the re-enrollment of girls who dropped out of school over pregnancy and were willing to continue with their education after child birth.
The group said teenage pregnancy and child birth should not be an impediment to the education of any girl and called for support for victims of teenage pregnancy for them to return to school after child birth.
Miss Rahinatu Haruna, the President of the VYC, speaking at a stakeholder’s engagement in Wa, noted that some victims of teenage pregnancy who dropped out of school were willing to return to school but were discouraged by fear of mockery and discrimination against them by their peers and teachers.
The engagement was to present a research finding on the school dropout rate among school children in the Wa Municipality dubbed: “Re-enrollment of Teenage Mothers Post COVID- 19”.
That formed part of the Youth on Board (YoB) project, implemented by the VYC, an initiative of the Youth Opportunities and Transformation in Africa (YOTA), in partnership with 100% For The Children with funding from CISU.
The research sampled 35 basic schools out of 81 schools in the Wa Municipality, as well as conducted desk reviews in some departments including the Wa Municipal Health Directorate.
It revealed that between May and August 2021, 39 females dropped out of school in the Wa Municipality, while the entire year 2021 had the highest number of recorded post-covid-19 school dropout cases, with a total of 623 against 578 in 2020, and 539 in 2022.
Miss Haruna, therefore, said targeted interventions and strategies, and strong stakeholder collaboration could address the issue of teenage pregnancy in Ghana as it was affecting girl child education in the country.
Mr Sumaila Chakurah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Noni Hub, said there was the need for appropriate infrastructure, and facilities in schools to create conducive environment for the pregnant girls or teen mother to stay in school.
“If we want teen mothers to go back to school then we have to reassess the infrastructure that we have available, like desks and whether those infrastructure are conducive for teen mothers.”
He also called for intervention for economic empowerment for parents to enable them provide for the basic needs of their girl children to help curb the menace of teenage pregnancy.
Naa Sidik Osman of the Waala Traditional Council, said issues of teenage pregnancy were of great concern to the traditional leaders and that measures had been instituted to help reduce it.
He said for instance that the Duori Chief had directed that people who sold food, especially Indomie Noodles, at night must close by 2300 hours as those activities encouraged girls to engage in illicit activities that led to pregnancy.