NANA HEMAA Adjoa Awindor, Executive Director of Obaapa Development Foundation (ODF), has observed that teenage pregnancy is rising and contributing to early child marriage in the Ashanti Region recently.
She noted that most girls pushed into early marriage are people who have had premature pregnancy or premature childbirth.
“We don’t see that as early child marriage but it is happening in the Ashanti Region. Many people feel that it is only in the northern part or Upper East or West where people are pushed into early child marriage. It is very prevalent in the Ashanti Region, so we have to talk about it,” she said.
Nana Hemaa Awindor, who was speaking at a training programme organised for queen mothers and chiefs at Ejisu recently, claimed that most parents encourage their children to go into early marriage out of frustration.
According to her, one of the best ways to discourage the practice is to educate the queens so they can pass the information on to mothers in their communities when they have the opportunity to address them.
Dr. Doris M. Aglobitse, the head of Gender Unit at United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), on her part, discussed four key issues and strategies dubbed ‘Cube Convos’ with the participants.
The first issue she discussed was assertiveness, explaining that when a girl is assertive, she sticks to whatever decisions she makes and she is able to boldly refuse sexual advances made by men.
She also spoke about menstrual hygiene, stressing that when a young girl is empowered to have an idea of what menstruation is, she is ready for it.
Teenage pregnancy was another issue Dr. Doris M. Aglobitse raised, which she said has increased tremendously, pointing out that “it is something that is of concern to us as CSO, NGO, mothers, and community leaders.”
The final point she discussed was gender-based violence issues, which she described as criminally-inclined and, therefore, needed to be brought to the law courts and not at the palaces.
The training was organised by ODF in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as part of the Day of the Girl Child, which was celebrated worldwide on October 11.