The Voices of Youth Coalition (VYC), a group of young advocates in Wa, has launched a campaign to encourage the re-enrollment of girls who dropped out of school due to pregnancy. The VYC believes that teenage pregnancy and childbirth should not hinder a girl’s education, and is calling for support for these victims to continue their education after giving birth.
At a stakeholder’s engagement in Wa, Miss Rahinatu Haruna, President of the VYC, noted that some girls who dropped out of school due to pregnancy are willing to return to school but are afraid of being mocked and discriminated against by their peers and teachers. She emphasized the need for targeted interventions, strategies, and strong stakeholder collaboration to address the issue of teenage pregnancy in Ghana and the impact it has on girls’ education.
The YoB project, implemented by the VYC in partnership with 100% For The Children and funded by CISU, presented research findings on the school dropout rate among school children in the Wa Municipality. The study sampled 35 basic schools out of 81 schools in the Wa Municipality, as well as conducted desk reviews in some departments including the Wa Municipal Health Directorate.
The research revealed that between May and August 2021, 39 females dropped out of school in the Wa Municipality, while the entire year 2021 had the highest number of recorded post-covid-19 school dropout cases, with a total of 623 against 578 in 2020, and 539 in 2022.
To address this issue, Mr. Sumaila Chakurah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Noni Hub, highlighted the need for appropriate infrastructure and facilities in schools to create a conducive environment for pregnant girls or teen mothers to stay in school. He emphasized the importance of reassessing the infrastructure available, like desks, and ensuring that they are conducive for teen mothers.
In addition, he called for economic empowerment for parents to enable them to provide for the basic needs of their girl children, helping to curb the menace of teenage pregnancy. Naa Sidik Osman of the Waala Traditional Council noted that teenage pregnancy is of great concern to traditional leaders, and measures have been instituted to help reduce it. For instance, the Duori Chief has directed that people who sell food, especially Indomie Noodles, at night must close by 2300 hours, as these activities encourage girls to engage in illicit activities that lead to pregnancy.
For the most part, the campaign by the VYC for the re-enrollment of teenage mothers in Wa seeks to address the issue of teenage pregnancy, which is a major barrier to girls’ education in Ghana. It calls for targeted interventions, strategies, and stakeholder collaboration to provide a conducive environment for pregnant girls and teen mothers to stay in school. It also highlights the need for economic empowerment of parents to provide for the basic needs of their girl children, which will help to reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancy.