International Needs Ghana (INGH), has scaled up efforts in their child rights interventions to empower 1,200 out- of- school girls in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) Municipality and Cape Coast Metropolis.
The 15 months project titled "Promoting Adolescent Girls' Safe Spaces” (PASS), is a partnership with UNFPA/UNICEF under the "Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage" with INGH, a Christian Development local NGO dedicated to transforming lives and changing communities, as the implementing partner.
The validated communities for the Project are Amissakyir, Amanful, Ekon, Bakaano, Abura, Apewosika, Elmina, Kissi, Agona, Komenda, Dominase, Ntranoa, and Ayensudo in the Central Region of Ghana.
The project seeks to contribute to girls fully enjoying their childhood free from risk of marriage; experience healthier, safer and more empowered life transitions and be in control of their own destiny, including making choices and decisions about their sexuality, relationship formation, marriage and child bearing.
The programme is also being implemented in 12 countries worldwide including Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.
Addressing key stakeholders to solicit their input into effective implementation of the initiative, Ms Vera Elikem Awuye, Programmes Officer INGH, expressed their readiness to reach out to marginalized children to reduce the menace of child marriage and other adolescent protection violations.
She said INGH would provide a minimum of 31 contact hours to the 1200 girls on various adolescent issues including Sexual and Gender Based Violence, Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights among others.
This will be done through regular meetings with adolescent girls, guidance and counselling, mentorship, coaching, and education to provide the platform for girls to feel confident and enjoy the freedom to express themselves without shame or fear of being intimidated.
She said when children are empowered with knowledge they are able to make more informed and positive life choices.
Mrs Thywill Eyram Ekpe, Regional Director, Department of Gender, called for all to act together to stop child marriages, sexual and gender-based violence and teenage pregnancy across the region.
She advocated for the operationalization of the domestic violence fund (DVF) to provide support for victims.
She said the issue of domestic violence was still prevalent in the country and the fund when put into effect would help provide free medical care for victims.
“The issues of domestic violence are becoming alarming and needed the urgent attention of government and stakeholders to deal with the problem,” she said.
The Regional Gender focal person said it was also important for shelter homes to be provided in all the regions to protect and provide domestic violence victims the needed support for those who may have to relocate after such cases to avoid future reocurrence.
She said women and children especially girls were being violated on daily basis, a situation she added, needed the urgent attention of government with massive infrastructural and financial commitment to remedy the situation.