Plan Ghana, an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) will in the next two years award 1,500 scholarship to brilliant but needy students at the various levels of education.
Girls will constitute 60 per cent of the beneficiaries, with an overall goal to equip, enable and empower them to acquire assets, skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in life.
Mr Prem Shukla, Country Director of Plan Ghana made the announcement at the weekend, during the launch of the NGOs annual State of the World’s Girls report 2013 in Accra.
He said the report was the official record of Plan’s flagship programme: “Because I Am a Girl Campaign,” in all of Plan International’s offices across the world.
The theme for this year’s report is: “In double jeopardy, adolescent girls and disasters.”
Mr Shukla said Plan International noticed that girls are at a big disadvantage simply because of their gender, while adolescent girls are at a double disadvantage during disasters.
He said the report indicated that girls have particular needs for protection, healthcare and education which are not being met, or even recognised by governments and humanitarian agencies.
“Girls are more likely to be pulled out of school during emergencies and least likely to return after. Girls are given less food when it is scarce and are more vulnerable to violence, rape and HIV infection.
“Disasters and emergencies also increase the likelihood that they will be forced into early childhood marriage, domestic work, or transactional sex as coping strategies.
“Disasters therefore reinforce harmful traditional practices and adolescent girls are more likely to be the victims,” Mr Shukla stated.
He said the NGO’s core work is keeping children safe in all circumstances and raising awareness of their rights.
He said as part of the campaign, Plan is committed to promote girl-friendly initiatives to improve upon their situation, not leaving out the boys to ensure gender equality.
The guest speaker at the programme was the First Lady; Mrs Lordina Mahama, who stressed the need for equal opportunities for both girls and boys at all, levels of human endeavour.