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Ghana News

Empowering Adolescents in Vakpo Senior High School to Address Sexual and Reproductive Health Issues

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Vakpo Senior High School in the North Dayi District of the Volta Region, Ghana, has been the recipient of the Department of Gender’s adolescent empowerment programme called “Campus conversation”. The programme aims to encourage open discussions among adolescents on issues that impact their growth and development, particularly those related to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Sexual and Gender-based Violence. With a target to curb teenage pregnancy and gender-based violence by 2030, the Volta Regional Director for the Department of Gender, Thywill Eyra Kpe, believes that initiatives like “Camp Convo” will help to create awareness among students and support them in making informed decisions.

Last year, the United Nations Population Fund’s Seven Country programme launched “Camp Convo” which sensitised almost 1000 students to issues such as adolescent sexual and reproductive health, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, and sexual and gender-based violence. Students were given the opportunity to share their experiences on these topics, and the hope is that the programme will expose them to reproductive health rights and other critical issues.

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According to Kpe, it can be challenging for parents to engage in sexual and reproductive health conversations with adolescents. Consequently, “Camp Convo” seeks to create an open and safe environment where students can discuss their concerns and access support when needed. The North Dayi District Public Health Nurse District Health Directorate, Hilda Kotoh, has called on parents, traditional authorities, and individuals to create an enabling environment for young people, which will discourage them from engaging in early sex.

The Assistant Headmaster of Vakpo Senior High School, Julius Yaw Anthony, is hopeful that the programme will complement management’s efforts to eliminate social vices such as drug use on campus. In addition, the Assistant Girls Prefect of the school, Lawrencia Kyere, advises her peers to confide in trustworthy individuals on such matters and abstain from premarital sex to avoid jeopardising their future.

In partnership with the Ghana Education Service, DOVVSU of the Ghana Police Service, Ghana Health Service, NACOC, and funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the “Camp Convo” programme is making a difference in the lives of these young students. For the most part, it is creating awareness, providing a safe space to discuss important issues and encouraging adolescents to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.

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