Two Damongo based senior high schools, Damongo senior high school (DASS) and Ndewura Jakpa senior high school (NDESCO) currently have 18 school girls each with pregnancies and nursing babies related issues.
Pastor Akuka Samuel, the West Gonja municipal Public Relations Officer for the Ghana Education Service (GES) disclosed this during the closing ceremony of World Vision Ghana’s girls soccer clinic at the Damongo astro turf pitch on Friday, 26th August, 2022.
The girls soccer clinic was staged to help increase the advocacy on “end child marriage now” campaign.
Pastor Samuel represented the municipal Ghana education service director (Ake Furguson) and also chaired the program.
Pastor Samuel lamented on the alarming rising figures of teenage pregnancies the municipality is faced with, saying there are currently a number of pregnant girls and nursing mothers in the two (2) senior high schools within Damongo township.
“Currently five (5) pregnant school girls and 13 nursing mothers are schooling at Ndewura Jakpa senior high school whilst seven (7) pregnant school girls and 11 nursing mothers are at Damongo senior high school. This takes the total figure to 36.
Pastor Samuel said these students go back to the classroom through “the back to school campaign” started by Ghana education service. The Back to school campaign program is geared towards getting pregnant school girls back to the classroom to help them continue with their education.
The back to school campaign got support from UNICEF – Ghana, GEU is leading on a complementary intervention involving three other quarters; G&C, SPED & SHEP.
Pastor Samuel explained that although GES aren’t happy about seeing school girls becoming pregnant but the campaign has so far helped a good number of teenage girls to get back to school.
Pastor Samuel challenged the school girls to remain discipline and do not to allow any man truncate their forward match to tertiary institution and assured that the Ghana education service will work hand in hand with stakeholders to make sure child marriage is stopped in the area.
Pastor Samuel further stated the number of pregnancies recorded in the upper primary to senior high school levels from 2014-2015.
Around the period, 1,562 primary school girls got pregnant, junior high school had 4,607 pregnancies and senior high school 674 ( a total of 6,843 girls across the country).
2018-2019 season saw primary school recorded 1,024 girls got pregnant, junior high schools had 4,836 girls pregnant and senior high school, 1,433.
Total of 7,293 pregnant girls across the country.
The same period saw the then northern region recording 137 primary school girls pregnant, junior high schools 338 and senior high schools 120
He therefore called on all stakeholders to join the campaign to end child marriage now in order to save girls and to enable them achieve higher their educational levels. Child Marriage should not be a barrier to girls education.
Pastor Samuel expressed gratitude to World Vision Ghana and acknowledged the collaborative works between Ghana education service and world Vision Ghana, saying the contributions of world vision in the educational sector are immeasurable. And called for more partnership between the two institutions to help improve education in the area.
The regional operations manager of World Vision Ghana, Barbara Asare Yaboah, who also lead the advocacy on “end child marriage now”, called on school children, most especially the females in the West Gonja municipality to, discipline themselves in order to go far in their educational careers.
Barbra Asare Yeboah added that the advocacy on ending child marriage now, violence and abuses again women should be embraced by all to help build a better future for the nation.
The soccer girls clinic was held under the theme “Ending child violence and promoting holistic transformation of children through soccer clinic”
The program which was climaxed with a final game between Kurabaso and Larabanga recorded huge spectatorship with Kurabaso girls emerging winners through penalty shootout after the game ended goalless.
Barbara Yeboah, cautioned players, school children and spectators not to see the football games as just fun but rather be ambassadors of ending child marriage and that the girls have no excuse to drop out of school.
“As we are playing, it is not just for fun, we know why we are here, to end child marriage, teenage pregnancies and all forms of violence against girls.
Girls are capable of becoming future leaders in societies and the country at large.
Girls are also capable of becoming nurses, teachers, lawyers, pilots, bankers, among others.
All of you here and those out there have no excuses to drop out of school, no excuse to get pregnant, no excuse to be given out for marriage, you are all now ambassadors for ending child marriage and teenage pregnancies in the country, so you have no excuse to drop out of school”.
Mr. Felix Apeti, the cluster programs manager for World Vision Ghana said the essence of the program is to team up together as players, stakeholders to work together in ending child marriage in the municipality, Savannah region and Ghana as a whole. He added that the main aim of the soccer clinic is to work together to end all forms of violence against girls and boys in our communities, schools, and homes.
He also, appealed to everyone to stop all forms of violence and abuses against girls and boys in our communities.
Felix Apeti called on everyone to spread the message across various homes, market places schools, religious worship centers and work places.
Madam Alijata Haruna from the Gender Desk office of the West Gonja municipality, thanked World Vision Ghana for organizing such an educative advocacy to stop child marriage.
Alijatu Haruna stated that child marriage is a great menace in the West Gonja municipality hence the need for such programs to end child marriage now.
Teenage pregnancies in 2018-2019 season was very high when they were writing their B.E.C.E. One could clearly see students were pregnant, which was a worry to us all.
Child marriage is a formal marriage or informal union of children before age 18 years. It is considered a violation of human rights and a harmful traditional practice affecting more girls than boys, leading to numerous negative health and developmental consequences and limiting girls’ economic and individual empowerment.
In response to this situation, fighting child marriage has become a core development and human rights issue.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian, advocacy and development organization dedicated to working to transform the lives of children, families and communities worldwide so that they can reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.