39 students pregnant in Wa East

Thirty-nine basic school girls have been impregnated in the Wa East District of the Upper West Region in the first half of this year, as against 28 within the same period last year.

Mr. Evans Kpebah, Wa East District Director of Education, disclosed this during the “Let Girls Learn; End Child Marriage Campaign,” launched at Funsi, by Community Development Alliance (CDA-Ghana), with Funding from STAR Ghana, under the Gender and Social Inclusion programme window.

Addressing the stakeholders’ forum, Mr Kpebah noted that child marriage and teenage pregnancy were the biggest drawbacks to girls’ education in the district.

He  mentioned that Gurumbelle; a farming community in the district accounted for nine out of the 39 pregnant school girls within the first half of the year.

Mr. Kpebah   lamented the lack of support from relevant stakeholders, to ensure that perpetrators were punished; saying this was the major cause of the rising numbers in teenage pregnancies and child marriage in the area.

Mr. Issifu Salifu Kanton, Executive Director of CDA-Ghana, said until the many obstacles affecting girls’ education were consciously addressed, girl-child education would continue to lag behind.

He said education performance in the Upper West Region was generally poor, but that of the girl child was even worse.

Mr Kanton indicated that the campaign aimed at achieving child marriage free communities, where girls living in rural communities would have equal rights and opportunities to education, health and development.

He said society would become a better place if girls were protected against child marriage and teenage pregnancy, and also empowered to become responsible citizens.

Madam Mercy Dakogri, the Gender and Social Protection Officer for CDA-Ghana,  who gave the overview of the project, said it was an initiative which sought to influence change in the socio-cultural and religious norms that prevented the elimination of child marriage, whiles advancing the education of girls and young women in the region.
She said the project would increase preventive action among families, traditional authorities and religious leaders towards the abolition of child marriage.

Madam Dakogri said that the project would collaborate with District Assemblies, Ghana Education Service and chiefs and queen mothers, to ensure the adaption of gender equalities, norms, and the abandonment of child marriage.

“The project will further promote “The Youth Models of Change (YoMC) concept, which will inspire girls and young women to drive change in social, cultural and religious norms by working through existing structures,” she added.

Madam Dakogri said the overall goal of the project was to end the practice of child marriage while enabling girls to pursue their educational and vocational aspirations.

A total of 10 communities are to benefit from the implementation of the project in the district. – GNA

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