PA durbar on gender-based violence and sexual harassment was held for 200 school children at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre (KAIPTC) last Friday in Accra.
The durbar, organised by the Women Peace and Security Institute (WPSI) of KAIPTC and partnered by the Gender and Communication Unit of GIZ Ghana and the Women in Peacekeeping Network (WIPNET) programme of the West Africa Network for Peacekeeping (WANEP) to mark this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD).
It was aimed at sensitising the youth to gender-based violence and empowering them to be advocates against it in their communities.
This year’s IWD celebration is on the theme, “Balance for better”.
The children, drawn from 10 junior and senior high schools within the Accra and Tema metropolis, were educated on topics such as dealing with teenage emotions, identification of risks and concerns about gender-based violence, dangers of gender-based violence to the community and country, and being an advocate against gender-based violence.
The Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Mrs Barbara Asher Ayisi, said gender-based violence was still prevalent in the country, noting that it was common in the rural areas, and that most cases were not reported for fear of stigmatisation.
She said education remained the only tool to which gender-based violence could be fought and change the lives of citizens to help them live productive lives.
According to Mrs Ayisi, the data on education trends suggested that there was parity in enrolment of boys and girls at the lower primary level, but said “at each transitional stage of the educational ladder, more girls drop out than boys.”
She indicated that if the trend was not arrested, there would be dire implications for the educational system and for the national development agenda.
“Education is empowering, and we must do all we can in this country to deliver quality outcomes that will create awareness, particularly among young people to advocate against gender-based violence,” she stated.
She called on other stakeholders such as religious bodies, traditional leaders, and the family network to join in the fight against gender-based violence.
The Executive Director of WANEP, Dr Chukwuemeka B. Eze, said acts such as rape, sexual slavery, trafficking, forced impregnation, forced abortion, forced prostitution, indecent assault, inappropriate medical examinations and sexual harassment were some of the violence against humankind.
She said survivors of these acts face psychological and medical challenges, adding that shame, fear of ostracisation, isolation and cultural norms compound the effects of gender-based violence for such victims
Dr Eze called for a collective will at curbing the menace and urged the participants to be advocates against gender-based violence in their communities.
BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU