Teenage mothers – biggest threat to development – CDA
Mr Salifu Issifu Kanton, Executive Director of Community Development Alliance (CDA) has stated that the ever increasing numbers of teenage mothers in communities was the biggest threat to the development of girls in particular and the society at large.
Mr Kanton who stated this during a seminar to mark the International Day of the Girl Child in Wa hinted that statistics available at health facilities in the Upper West Region indicated that teenage pregnancies were competing seriously with that of married women.
The Executive Director of CDA expressed worry at how some parents shirked their responsibilities and easily find convenience in tagging the girl child as bad and never listened to advice.
He said most pregnant teenagers were victims of lack of parental control, adding that irresponsible parenting helped in pushing teenagers into the hands of irresponsible men to destroy.
Mr Kanton therefore appealed to all stakeholders especially parents to rise up to their roles and ensure that they provided all the essential needs of their girls to enable them to complete school and become responsible adults.
He said it was necessary because in the Upper West Region alone, it was estimated that over 2,000 Senior High School (SHS) girls were either advised to withdraw from school due to pregnancy dropped out by themselves.
He said should the trend continue, the Free SHS would be meaningless, noting that the International Day of the Girl Child campaign therefore seeks to call on parents and government to pay attention to the needs of the girls in order to secure their future.
Madam Charity Batuure, Acting Upper West Regional Director of the Department of Gender said girls’ enrolment in school at the lower primary was very encouraging and sometimes even better than boys according to statistics.
She said before they reach the Junior High School (JHS), a good percentage of them dropped out of school due to pregnancy or as a result of the refusal of their parents to prioritize their education.
Madam Batuure advised the girls to also prioritise their education over the little gifts from men who lure them into having sex with them, saying those little gifts were not even enough to cater for their present needs let alone their future.
Madam Nafisa Yahaya, a Programme Officer at the Department of Community Development in the Upper West Region noted that women population was greater than men in Ghana but were under represented at all levels of decision making in society.
She attributed that to the low level of education among women and advised young girls to take their education serious to help reverse the trend.
Madam Matilda Chireh, a Programme Officer at the Department of Children in the Upper West Region advised parents to be patient with their adolescent girls, adding that lack of patients would lead them into taken hasty decisions that would end up destroying the future of their girls.
The seminar which includes; individual counseling sessions for participants was organised by CDA with support from STAR Ghana and “Girls not Brides” Global Partnership Programme against child marriage.
It brought together 62 participants across Wa Municipal comprising teenage mothers, pregnant teenagers and out of school teenagers to discuss their challenges and the way forward.