30.03.2005 Regional News

NYC urged to liaise with assemblies to sustain AYA Project

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Koforidua, March 30, GNA - The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Yaw Barimah, has called on the National Youth Council (NYC) to liaise with District Assemblies and other organizations to raise resources to sustain the African Youth Alliance (AYA)/NYC Challenge Cup Project. He also suggested that the project, which was based in only three districts in the region, would be extended to the rest of the districts in the region especially, Fanteakwa, Manya Krobo and Yilo Krobo districts, which have high HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) rates.

Mr Barimah made the call at a ceremony to mark the formal end of the NYC/AYA Challenge Cup Project in the Eastern Region at Kukurantumi on Tuesday.

The three-year programme was based in Akuapem North, Kwahu South and East Akim.

The project is a programme in which the NYC, with financial support from the AYA, used football to promote adolescent sexual reproductive health to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and STI in three districts in Eastern Region and three districts also in Ashanti Region. The East Akim District Chief Executive, Mr Emmanuel Victor Asihene, on behalf his colleague, pledged that the assemblies were prepared to raise resources to sustain the NYC/AYA project.

He regretted that often, after such projects were handed over to the citizens of the country, they were allowed to collapse through negligence and inaction.

In a speech read on behalf of the AYA Country Co-ordinator, Dr. Robert Mensah, he observed that research had shown that comprehensive, efficient and effective adolescent reproductive health programmes help avert wasting the lives of young people that occurred through early marriages, early childbearing and irresponsible sexual behaviour.

He said other studies conducted in some parts of the country indicated that investing in adolescent sexual and reproductive health leads to positive results including creating conducive and healthy environment for young people to learn about their sexuality and that of the opposite sex.

Dr Mensah said such programmes also helped reduce adolescent sexual and reproductive problems like unwanted pregnancies, prevention of STIs including HIV/AIDS among young people.

He called for the lessons learnt and experience gained from the project districts to be replicated in other districts so that young people all over Ghana would benefit from such unique experience. The Project Manager, Mr Archibold Donkoh, said the project was able to train and deploy 60 peer providers and 60 non-traditional condom distributors at soccer matches and in the communities. He said the project was able to reach over 500,000 people with youth friendly reproductive health services as against the project target of 240,000.

Mr Donkoh said the project was also able to distribute 245,000 pieces of condoms in the six project districts in Eastern and Ashanti regions, where the project was implemented.

He said the project was also able to motivate 227 young people to go for voluntary counselling and testing for HIV/AIDS instead of 200. The National Youth Co-ordinator, Mr Joe Mantey called on the youth to take advantage of the various interventions, which government is putting up to help in the skill training and equipment of the youth. He said during the second quarter of the year, the NYC would be providing skill training for 300 street youths and female porters in the Greater Accra Region and assured that the exercise would soon be extended to other regions later.

Prizes were presented to some members of the peer condom distributors and the East Akim District team that won the final Challenge Cup of the football tournament. March 30, 05

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