Sixty (60) adolescent girls in Ekumfi District have received training to enable them make informed decisions about their reproductive and sexual health rights as well as acquire skills to survive in this COVID-19 era and beyond.
The Central Regional Office of the Department of Gender, of the Ministry of Gender, Social and Children Protection organised the programme with funds from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The Programme dubbed ‘hour of mentorship and empowerment’ and aimed at empowering the participants, is part of comprehensive measures and strategies to address teen pregnancy and its related issues in the beneficiary communities.
It was held on the theme ”Every girl deserves a chance. Don’t let teenage pregnancy destroy your future” and seeks to improve adolescents’ access to information on reproductive and quality gender responsive services.
Mrs. Thywil Eyra Kpe, the Regional Director of the Department of Gender, speaking at the opening session underlined the need to sensitize adolescent girls to protect their ambitions to become prominent persons in future to contribute their quota to national development.
”As adolescents, there is a need to First focus on achieving your goals and aspirations in life before anything else,” she counseled.
She said that the interaction with the girls was an opportunity for the Department of Gender to discover issues that affected adolescent studies and lives as the country battles the pandemic.
Mrs Kpe urged adolescent girls to be committed and determined in their endeavors to enable them pursue higher goals for themselves, families and society at large.
The Regional Director called on parents to properly cater for their wards, since lack of proper parental care exposed teenage girls to unnecessary peer influence and exploitation of unscrupulous men.
Mr. Theophilus Tetteh Tuwor, the Regional Director of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), drew the attention of young girls to the mandated state institutions across the District which they could report or seek redress when their rights were infringed upon in the society.
He said most adolescents were ignorant about the law and were being exploited and called for more intensive education to be carried out to ensure that they lodged complaints when their rights were abused.
Mr. Tuwor explained that when girls were empowered on their rights, they would be able to report culprits and perpetrator to the appropriate authorities for the necessary actions.
Corporal Richard Twum, a representative from the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU), briefed the girls about the laws on physical and sexual abuse and its related punishment.
He urged the girls to report culprits in their various communities making sexual advances at them for the necessary actions to be taken against them to help curtail sexual abuse in the country.
As part of efforts to support adolescent girls in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the UNFPA donated three months sanitary pads, sanitizers, nose masks, and other items to all the adolescent girls who participated in the program to help reduce teenage pregnancies.