YHFG Launches Youth4Change Project To Tackle Child, Forced Marriages In Nabdam
A new project dubbed” Youth4Change Project “, aimed at empowering out-of-school young people with the needed information and skills to enable them make informed decisions to help address early unintended Pregnancies and Child/Forced Marriages had been launched at the Kongo community in the Nabdam District of the Upper East Region.
The Project which is being implemented by the Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana (YHFG), an NGO, is receiving funding support from the Goal Keeper Accelerator Fund.
Launching the one- year project on Saturday, the Acting Executive Director of Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana (YHFG), an NGO, Ms Priscilla Nyaaba, disclosed that demographic and health survey shows that 16 percent of girls aged between 15 and 19 years in Ghana had begun having children.
The Acting Executive Director who stated that the Upper East Region was not exempted from the phenomenon, said Nabdam District was one of the hardest hit when it comes to teenage pregnancies, child/forced marriages with scores of the girls mostly between 14 and 15 years becoming pregnant and dropping out of school and living with men as husbands.
The Acting Executive Director expressed worry that many teenagers who become pregnant are often given out by their parents in marriage to men and boys who impregnate them.
Ms Nyaaba stressed that the 1992 constitution frowns on given out a girl under the age of 18 for marriage and also attributed the cause of the phenomenon partly to the limited sexual and reproductive health education and low girls empowerment.
She stated that as part of efforts to help complement government’s efforts at addressing the problem, her outfit with funding from the Goal Keeper Accelerator Fund decided to launch Youth4Change Project in the District.
She indicated that the Youth4Change Project would augment the Ending of the Early Child Marriage Initiative introduced by the Government and called on called development partners such as Civil Society Organizations, Media, Children, and Traditional and Religious bodies to join the forces in eliminating the canker.
She added that the Youth4Change Project which is being piloted at the Dasabligo, Kongo, Nangodi, Pelingu and Sakoti communities in the District could be scaled up depending on how stakeholders supported in the implementation of the project.
The District of Education, Mr Timothy Y. Naasal, in a speech read on his behalf by the Assistant Director of Education in charge of Supervision, Mr Franncis Sapaat, expressed worry about the spate of teenage pregnancies and child marriages in the area.
He expressed optimism that with the intervention of the YHFG and other partners including Afrikids Ghana, the problem could be reduced drastically in the near future and reiterated the need for parents and other stakeholders to support fight the canker.
The Station of Officer of Police, in charge of the District, Inspector Christopher Kwarteng, called on children not to hesitate to report cases of child and forced marriages and sexual abuses to the police for the necessary action to be taken against the perpetrators.
The District Chief Executive for the area, Mrs Agnes Anamoo, lauded the NGO and the funding agency for complementing government’s efforts at tackling the problem in the District
The launching which brought together young people from the implementing communities also attracted stakeholders including traditional authorities, Assembly members, District Directors of Education and Health, the Department of Social Welfare, the Police and the Media and was used to outdoor the youth groups from the beneficiary communities.
The Youth groups who have been trained by the project are expected to become ambassadors in their respective communities and educating and sensitizing the community members particularly the youth and parents to desist from engaging acts that could lead to teenage pregnancies and early /forced marriages.