UN, Partners Assess Girls Empowerment Programmes In Central Region

By Jonathan Donkor

A delegation from two United Nations (UN) organisations and their partners are in the Central Region to assess the progress of a joint adolescent girls empowerment programme ongoing in the region to reduce teenage pregnancy and its related issues.

The UN Population Fund (UNPFA) and UN International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are implementing the programme dubbed the ‘Empowering Adolescent Girls through Improved Access to Comprehensive Sexual Education (CSE) and Rights-Based Quality Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) Services in Ghana’, with support from Canada Global Affairs.

The three-year programme, started last year and running in 36 districts in eight regions, is expected to improve access of adolescent girls to youth-friendly and gender-sensitive CSEs and SRH services including family planning and methods of birth control, and create the enabling environment for them to exert their rights.

Targeting adolescent girls in and out of school, including head potters (kayayei) and teenage mothers, the programme is to support government’s efforts to further strengthen gender equality and improve the wellbeing of adolescent girls.

The three-day tour of the region, started yesterday and led by the Joint Programme Steering Committee’s (JPSC), is to observe the progress of the programme implementation, target groups and beneficiaries, solidify the partnership with all stakeholders and raise awareness on key issues affecting adolescent girls in the region.

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Areas being visited include Ekumfi District and Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem (KEEA) Municipality.

The delegation includes representatives of UNICEF and UNPFA, Canada Global Affairs, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana.

 During a courtesy call on the Central Regional Minister, Mr Kwamena Duncan, in Cape Coast, Mr Niyi Ojuolape, UNPFA Country Representative said the agency attached seriousness to the programme because girls needed such support to guide and help them become a fully fledged adult in the future

He said sexual issues, teenage pregnancy, child marriage and gender based violence should no longer become a taboo for discussion, but critical issues that should be tackled to safeguard the future of the girls.

UNICEF Country Representative, Ms Anne-Claire Dufay, said there was the need for men and boys to also learn about their responsibilities to avoid teenage pregnancy and play those roles in protecting the adolescent girl.

The Director of Cooperation at the Canadian Embassy, Mr Christian Tandif, said the support was in line with the country’s priority on the empowerment of women, based on the key role they play in nation-building.

He said Canada would continue to lend its support to ensure that adolescents were in a better place to achieve their aspirations.

Mr Duncan, on his part, commended the partners for the programme, which he said was a comprehensive approach to addressing the issue of sexual health.

He called for more stakeholder collaboration to support females, as it would inure to the benefit of the entire country and ensure that no one was left behind in development.

Source: Ghanaian Times

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