Some chiefs from six districts of the Upper East Region have pledged their commitment to the fight against teenage pregnancies and child marriages in their various communities.
The chiefs took the resolution after Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana (YHFG), a youth-focused Non-Governmental Organization launched the “Safe and Protective Environment for Adolescent Development” (SPREAD) project, which covers their communities.
Under the project funded by UNICEF, YHFG seeks to build the capacities of adolescents and communities (including their structures and duty bearers) to create an enabling environment that supports child protection, prevents early and forced child marriages and teenage pregnancies as well as prevents and responds to sexual and gender-based violence.
The project is being implemented in 30 communities in six districts namely Builsa South, Bongo, Talensi, Bawku West, Kassena Nankana West and Nabdam.
At the Talensi district launch of the SPREAD project, chiefs of the five communities within that area that will benefit from the project pledged their firm commitment to ensure that the project succeeds, to help end teenage pregnancies and child marriages and also promote girl child education.
The chief of the Datoko community, Naba Nubil Peeliga Kusua-Yebig charged parents to desist from marrying off their daughters too early, just for the purpose of collecting a bride price, as that was not the solution to poverty.
He said; “Educating the Girl Child should be a non-negotiable matter and anything contrary would not be condoned in our community”.
Adding his voice, chief of the Yazure community, Nazie Bakenie said keeping both boys and girls in school is important for community development.
“Let’s embrace this (SPREAD) project and save our children’s future” he urged the community people.
Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana had early on, trained and equipped 60 selected adolescents as Youth Ambassadors to help in the implementation of the SPREAD Project.
The launch of the SPREAD project was therefore used as a platform, to further introduce the youth ambassadors to the communities and seek their support.
The Project Officer at YHFG, Albert Apotele Nyaaba urged community leaders to work together to prevent teenage pregnancies and end child marriages, as these were detrimental to the growth and development of girls.
“Parents need to get closer to their children and give them basic reproductive health education. This is the best way to prevent irresponsible men who would want to take advantage of their ignorance to abuse them.
“Let the children feel safe discussing issues with you and report sexual abuse cases to the DOVVSU and Social Welfare for action,” he added.