By: Ewoenam Kpodo | Voltaonlinegh |
The Volta Regional Director, Department of Gender, Lena Alai has called for concerted efforts by key stakeholders especially parents and guardians to help empower girl children in the region to guarantee the future of the region and the country at large in terms of human resource.
Madam Alai bemoaned Volta Region currently recording first position in teenage pregnancy prevalence in the country as “a very bad story” which needed to be addressed through empowering the girls with the right information to ensure they make the right choices.
She warned that if nothing was done to mitigate the increasing rate of teenage girls becoming pregnant, “at the end of it, the poverty cycle gets intensified” and the region would ultimately suffer “because these children coming from dysfunctional families will grow up in some ways and cannot develop completely to contribute to the development of the society.”
Madam Alai said even if the girls would not further their education, they should learn skills to be self-reliant.
“There are skills these girls can learn so that they can fend for themselves. We know that some of these girls who became pregnant needed little little things like pad for example and that’s how come they had fallen victims to boys and/or men.”
The Director was speaking on the sidelines of a 2-day Girls’ Camp for out of school adolescents held on July 30 and 31 at Ave Dakpa Senior High School in the Akatsi North District of the Volta Region.
The camp organised by the Department of Gender under the auspices of the Volta Regional Coordinating Council formed part of its implementation of the 7th Country programme of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to educate girls on their reproductive rights to empower them make the right choices for a brighter future.
The mentoring camp which had about 60 adolescent girls, teenage mothers and pregnant teenagers drawn from Ho, Agotime-Ziope and Akatsi North districts, saw various activities and presentations on sexually transmitted infections (STIs), sexual and gender-based violence in schools and community, meeting with role models, open forum, introduction to vocational skills, film shows among others.
Project Officer at Savana Signatures, a non-government organisation, Richard Bonny who was the resource person educated the campers on how to take proper care of themselves and shun promiscuity to pursue their education/vocation to the highest level devoid of any obstruction.
Mr. Bonny insisted that those sexually active girls who would at all cost indulge in sexual activities use condoms to prevent them from becoming pregnant and contracting STIs but added that the best way was to stay away from sex.
He introduced the girls to SHE+, a mobile platform created by Savana Signatures to provide opportunity for young people in Ghana to access private and confidential Sexual Reproductive and Health Rights information and services through direct interaction with health professionals.
Akatsi North District Girl Child Education Officer, Augustina Aku Modzakah called for self control among teenage girls saying, without it, girls could sleep with anything as they climbed ladders in life which they would later suffer for.
Madam Modzakah observed that though there were numerous factors contributing to teenage pregnancy including broken homes, poverty and lack of parental control, girls needed self control to surmount such challenges else the future would be bleak as there would not only be broken homes but “scattered and flying homes.”
She disclosed that there were school-based facilitators in the schools taking girls through money-generating activities in order to support themselves financially “so that those of them who follow men just because of pad, those issues can also be things of the past,” to ensure Akatsi North did not remain on top of the district teenage pregnancy league in the region.
She appealed to teachers and peers of pregnant teenagers to make the school environment friendly for them so they could remain in school saying, some of these pregnancies were by accident while advising pregnant girls to overlook their current situation, regain their confidence and resolve to make their dreams come true.