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14.12.2005 Regional News

Government urged to adopt teenagers training programme

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Ho, Dec. 14, GNA - The Evangelical Presbyterian (EP) Church, Ghana has appealed to the Government to adopt and include the Church's novelty programme that trained teenage mothers and school dropouts in employable skills into the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS). Miss Alice Ayebei, Programme Officer of the EP Church Activity Centre, made the appeal at the centre's seventh Graduation Day at Ho on Wednesday. The theme for the Day was "Defend the Poor and Fatherless, Do Justice to the Afflicted and Needy." The Centre established in 1998 by Mrs. Brigitte Hoffman, a German national in collaboration with the Church, has trained 148 women in sewing, cookery, beads making, knitting, handicraft and business management.

Miss Ayebei said the Centre had good infrastructure, human resources, and capable managerial staff but lacked adequate funds to train and support the trainees. She said the centre spent three million cedis to train each person in terms of feeding, training materials and logistics. Miss Ayebei said the EP Church and partners from Germany were the sole financiers of the programme, which takes six months for each batch. She said teenage pregnancy and school dropouts were social problems that needed to be addressed to reduce their effects on poverty, disease and social vices among the people.

Right Reverend Dr. Livingstone Buama, Moderator of the Church said the Church believed that "people need a second chance" and therefore, urged the 20 teenage mothers under training to use the little they had to start some business. Dr Richmond Nfodwo National Coordinator of the Development Office of the Church and Board Chairman of the Centre said efforts were being made to transform the Centre into a fully-fledged vocational institute. Mrs. Vida Dzobo, Proprietor of Dora Memorial School Complex expressed regret about the trend among trainees to use all their resources on frivolous parties during passing out ceremonies and be left with nothing to start trades they had learnt.