Ghana urged to pay greater attention to the holistic development

Social Development Adolescents

Spining

Mentors at this year’s Adolescent Mentorship and Empowerment Camp for girls in Ho have emphasised the need for the country to pay greater attention to the holistic development and wellbeing of adolescents.

They said dreams were hatched, pursued and achieved or terminated within adolescents’ period and the values, actions and priorities adolescents set within this period largely shaped their future life.

The mentors drawn from various fields including law, health and police, journalism and chieftaincy institution, therefore, underscored the need for conscious efforts and measures to protect and guide adolescents to achieve their goals.

They said sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), child marriage and adolescent pregnancy were major threats to the educational and career progress of adolescents and, therefore, called for drastic and pragmatic mechanisms to curb the situation.

Ms Paulina Nneka Adoba, a Public Health Nurse at the Ho Municipal Health Directorate, implored the participants to identify their talents, work to develop them and avoid engaging in activities that could jeopardise their lives and retard their development.

Superintendent of Police, Mrs Effia Tenge, Director of Public Affairs, Volta Regional Police Command, cautioned the participants to avoid sharing their nude photos with their male friends as such photos could be used to blackmail them.

The Mentorship and Empowerment Camp was organised by the Volta Regional Directorate of the Department of Gender under the auspices of the Volta Regional Coordinating Council (VRCC) as part of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Seventh Country Programme.

A total of 60 girls from six districts, Central Tongu, Afadjato South, Akatsi North, South Dayi and North Dayi benefited from the programme and were taken through topics such as capacity development, gender equality, child marriage, SGBV and advocacy skills.

Mrs Thywill Eyra Kpe, Regional Director, Department Gender, said the programme aimed at empowering the young girls to become advocates and mentors for their peers on issues of sexual and reproductive health rights, sexual and gender-based violence and child marriage.

She said adolescents loved to talk to their peers on the said issues rather than to talk to adults who were informed, thus the training to equip them with rightful information and strategically position them in their various schools to serve as peer educators and advocates.

The Director said since the inception of the Camp in 2019, about 400 adolescents had been mentored and over 10,000 girls empowered on sexual and reproductive health rights, child marriage, sexual and gender-based violence, personal and career development, assertiveness and advocacy skills.

Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, the Volta Regional Minister, in a speech read on his behalf, also underscored the need for greater focus on the development of adolescents by addressing the daunting challenges that confronted them.

He expressed his profound appreciation to UNFPA for their continuous support to the Volta Regional Coordinating Council and its Sub-Implementing Partners over the years in addressing issues of teenage pregnancy, child marriage and gender-based violence.

Touching on the theme: “Rekindling the fight against adolescent pregnancy and SGBV: Girls, take action now!” The Minister urged the participants to be focused and committed to their goals in life and to desist from activities that would distract them from attaining greater heights.

Dr Letsa charged them to be good ambassadors of positive change wherever they found themselves, including their schools, homes, places of worship and communities.

Some participants who spoke to the Ghana News Agency described the training as helpful and promised to put the knowledge they had acquired to good use to benefit them and others.

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