Bolgatanga, May 25, GNA – Social Justice Institutions in charge of ensuring protection of adolescent and young people have been called upon to step up education and support to dissuade them from engaging in sexual activities.
Mr Malcom Ewoenam Bedzrah, the Bolgatanga Municipal Court Judge, made the call in a presentation on ‘laws on specific sexual offences’ at a two day workshop organized by the Ghana Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), a non -governmental organization promoting reproductive health of women and young people.
The workshop was organised in partnership with the Ghana Sexual Reproductive Health Rights, SRHR- Alliance for young people involved in a project named ‘Get -Up-Speak-Up’ (GUSU).
Mr Bedzrah said though there were many laws for protection of adolescent and young people, the institutions spearheading their interest fell short of knowledge of the laws and rights of the young people.
He said increasing juvenile cases such as rape, defilement and abortions among others were being shielded by families and communities and the situation was made worst due to ignorance of the laws.
Mr Felix Dordaa, the Project Officer of the Presbyterian Health Service -North, whose organization is partnering GUSU, admitted in an interview that despite various health corners that provided such services, information and advice for adolescents to seek services such as contraceptive services among others, were few and if there were, and it was difficult for young people to freely go and ask for them.
He enumerated challenges such as attitude of health personnel at clinics, lack of friendly services, inadequate services and some cultural and religious barriers that hinder young people from taking decisions on reproductive health.
He said GUSU also sought to create a supportive environment for the youth to access services and to give voice to the vulnerable who may not have the capacity to demand for sexual health and also encourage increased utilization of public health services.
Mr Theophilus Ayugane, of the Nertherlands Embassy, who gave an overview of the Adolescent Youth Policy of Ghana, urged the Government to provide funding for the successful implementation of the project.
Ms Ira Heathcote-Fumador, the Northern Regional Project Coordinator of HFFG, said her organization provided interventions for youth between 10 and 24 years through participatory approaches to educate and improve their social and economic lives.
She said due to the high illiteracy rate in communities, many had no knowledge of their rights and GUSU was working with its partners and peer educators in communities using local resources to reach the people with information.
She said the workshop would help the institutions in charge to know more about challenges of adolescent youth and laws that protect them.
Also in attendance at the workshop were representations from the Department of Social welfare, Ghana Health Service, NCCE and DOVVSU. GNA
By Fatima Anafu-Astanga, GNA