Accra, Aug 12, GNA – Plan Ghana on Tuesday urged the Ghana Education Service (GES) to vigorously tackle the issue of adolescent sexual reproductive health, in order to address and reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancy and unprepared motherhoods.
Mr Raphael Bokumah, Plan Ghana Programme Manager in-charge of Operations said education is a fundamental human right and the most effective way to alleviate poverty, declaring that ‘It is therefore, very unfortunate that teenage girls miss out educating and empowering themselves due to unplanned pregnancies and subsequently, unprepared motherhoods’.
He said Plan Ghana would continue to collaborate with strategic partners to devise innovative programmes and interventions such as girls’ camp to build the capacity of girls and equip them with the necessary education they need to ensure that they do not become victims of unprepared motherhoods.
Mr Bokumah said this at the opening of a nine-day girls’ camp at Achimota, Accra, on the theme: ‘Aspiring to Inspire: Minimizing Unprepared Motherhood’.
The Camp, which is under the sponsorship of the Dutch Government, is being organized by the Girls Education Unit of the GES, with funding from the Plan Ghana’s Girl Power Programme.
It is being attended by 100 basic school girls drawn from the East Akyem Municipality in the Eastern Region, and is the fifth in a series of seven girls’ camp scheduled to be undertaken this year by Plan Ghana.
The participants would be trained in adolescence reproductive health issues, gender, information and communications technology, and would embark on visits to places of educational interest.
Mr Bokumah observed that so far, 700 girls from the Eastern, Ashanti and Upper West Regions have directly benefited from their girls’ camps this year.
He explained that the camp is a unique opportunity which brings together girls from rural and deprived communities/schools to instil such important qualities as assertiveness, discipline, hard work and team work among other values in them.
He said the camp is also targeted at increasing and rejuvenating the interest and passion of girl campers in education, by exposing the participants to various role models.
Mr Bokumah said the camp also hopes to inspire them to pursue the attainment of academic excellence and to reach for greater heights.
He said the ultimate goal for strategically organizing this girls’ camp is to improve retention and completion rates of girls in Plan’s areas of operations.
‘An educated girl is less likely to marry as a teenager, less likely to become a victim of gender based violence, has a high earning potential, enjoys good health and is more likely to become productive to her country and community at large,’ he stated.
‘These reasons make it imperative for development partners to ensure that our girls do not drop out of school due to unprepared motherhoods.’
He noted that teenage pregnancy and childbearing are linked to a host of other critical social issues such as poverty, health and education
The Programme Manager in charge of Operations said adolescent girls suffer more medical problems than adult women because of their age, emotional state, economic status and social environment.
Mr Bokumah warned that pregnancies are risky for adolescent girls because their bodies have not fully matured and prepared for motherhood.
He further urged them to inspire their colleagues to complete their education and not to drop out of school due to unprepared motherhoods.
Mr Stephen Adu, Director for Basic Education advised teachers to inspire students to take their education serious, stating that ‘we don’t want you to become mothers at the wrong time’.
Mrs Edith Kyeremanteng, Achimota Basic School Head Teacher counseled the participants to remember that the investments being made on them are intended to provide the leverage they need to reach their ultimate potential.
Ms Esther Antwi, a participant said she was hopeful that at the end of the camp, she would be able to choose a career.
Plan Ghana, a child centred non-governmental organization, which has been working in Ghana since 1992, helps poor children to access their rights to health, education, food security and protection.
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