Madam Charity Batuure, the Upper West Regional Director of the Department of Gender, has advised survivors of teenage pregnancy not to give up on education as it will guarantee their personal development.
She urged pregnant schoolchildren and teenage mothers to take advantage of the current Ghana Education Service (GES) regulations allowing teenage mothers and pregnant schoolchildren to remain in school.
Madam Batuure said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Wa during the launch of a project aimed at getting out-of-school girls enrolled in school.
The three-year project (2022-2025), dubbed “Let Girls Learn: End Child Marriage”, is expected to benefit about 500 out-of-school girls in 30 communities in the Wa East, Wa West, and Sissala West Districts in the Upper West Region.
It would support the beneficiaries interested in returning to school with the needed materials and coordination to go back to school.
“This is not the end of the world. Your ability to rise and overcome these challenges sets the pace for you to be able to achieve your life potential to any level.
“We have teen mothers that have been able to overcome and go back to school” Madam Batuure observed.
She stressed the need for stakeholders to build synergies to remove all barriers hindering girls’ education in the region and the country at large including children and forced marriages.
The Director, therefore, cautioned the public, especially parents, against the act of giving out their girl children for marriage as they could be prosecuted when apprehended.
“If you give your child out for marriage it is against the laws of Ghana and you are a good candidate for the cells and you can go in for even 25 years”, she indicated.
Madam Batuure explained that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had compounded the already existing barriers to girls’ education, which included lack of prioritization of girl child education and uneven distribution of domestic chores between boys and girls.
On his part, Mr Salifu Issifu Kanton, the Executive Director of CDA, observed that girls’ access to quality basic education was the only true panacea to the endemic poverty level in the Upper West region.
He cited recent data from the Ghana Statistical Service, which indicated that over 244,731 Ghanaian girls of school-going age were out of school as well as a baseline survey conducted by the CDA in 12 communities in the region also showed that about 300 girls were not in school.
The CDA Director also indicated that stigmatization of girls who, for some reason, were either pregnant or had given birth while in school and the general unfriendly school environment was preventing them from staying in school.
“We are also working with the local and school authorities to ensure the school environments are safe and attractive to our girls.
Not only that, but we want to eliminate the barrier of child marriage, the barrier of our children becoming mothers to pave way for girls to have access to education,” he explained.