WOMEC launches project to help adolescent girls deal with abuses
Women, Media and Change (WOMEC), a non-governmental organisation that helps in shaping the lives of women in the society launched a gender-transformative programme in Kpone Katamanso Municipality in the Greater Accra Region, last week.
Abuses, including sexual harassment from stepfathers and older boys and domestic violence are some of the challenges adolescent girls have to contend with in Kpone-Katamanso.
According Ms. Dulcie Delali Attipoe, Projects Coordinator of WOMEC, a situational analysis report based on a study conducted through focus group discussions among residents in the area found that, some teachers in the municipality were sexually involved with female students.
She said the limited knowledge on sexual and reproductive health issues among adolescent girls were other pressing issues hampering the well-being and progress of girls in the community.
Ms. Attipoe revealed these findings during the launch of a Gender Transformative Programming (GTP) Turning Point Project, which sought to empower adolescent girls and a limited number of boys with knowledge in gender issues and other life skills in selected schools in the Kpone Katamanso municipality.
She said the project would run until 2022 and Women, Media and Change (WOMEC) implementing it. Global Affairs Canada and Plan International under the Women’s Voice and Leadership (WVL) Ghana Project is funding it.
During the presentation, data showed that teenage pregnancy and school dropout rates were very high among teenagers and adolescent girls in the area.
Dr. Charity Binka, Executive Director of WOMEC reiterated that, the Turning Point project would use innovative approaches to strengthen 14 gender clubs in the schools to empower the teenage girls in the formative years to make informed choices about their lives.
She indicated that, the project would also sensitise selected senior secondary school students, especially boys to become gender champions so they could positively influence their peers to become gender sensitive.
The Executive Secretary pleaded for strong collaboration with stakeholders to help empower adolescent girls in order to turn their lives around for a brighter future.
Dr. Esther Danquah, Director of the Municipal Health Directorate, launched the project, under the theme, “building the capacity of the girl-child for national development,” during an interface meeting, which was attended by teachers, health workers and officials from the Ghana Health Service and Ghana Education Service.
Findings from the report showed that adolescents abused contraceptives and, therefore, recommended that education on sexual and reproductive health must be intensified.
In addition, parents should to establish a strong relationship or bond with their children to know what goes on in their lives.
The report again showed that the COVID-19 had made the situation of gender disparity worse as the rate of teenage pregnancy had increased due to the pandemic and brought all forms of hardship with the rate of crime increasing in the community.
Mrs. Millicent Caesar, Deputy Director at the Education Directorate urged the teachers to support the project to ensure a paradigm shift in the lives of women and to enable them to get their voices heard.
By Alfred Nii Arday Ankrah