A programme to build and strengthen the capacity of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) to effectively engage with parliamentarians to respond better to the needs of adolescent girls and young women from underserved communities has ended in Accra.
The CSOs were equipped with lobbying skills and how to develop engagement strategies regarding three key issues, which are harmful cultural practices, Sexual and Gender Based Violence and unintended pregnancies.
The training was organised by the Ghana Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Alliance for Young People (Gh-Alliance) as part of the Power to You(th) programme designed to include more adolescent girls and young women from underserved communities in decision-making at all levels.
Power to Youth programme
The five-year programme (2021-2025) is being implemented by consortium partners in Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Senegal, and Uganda, with technical support from a global consortium comprising of Amref Flying Doctors, Rutgers and Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke) and with financial support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In Ghana, Power to You(th) is implemented by a consortium led by Ghana SRHR Alliance for Young People (Gh-Alliance), Youth Advocates Ghana (YAG), Songtaba and Nothern Sector Action on Awareness Centre (NORSAAC).
In a statement at the training, the Executive Secretary and Programme Manager of the SRHR GH- Alliance, Ms. Dorcas Manortey said within the Power to You(th) consortium, the GH-Alliance is responsible for the implementation of ‘Pathway II’, a project which is to strengthen CSOs, harness government institutions, and amplify young people’s voices to claim, protect and expand civic space.
Ms Manortey noted that Ghana had many policies and legal provisions that are meant to secure and protect the rights and dignity of people, especially the most vulnerable which include young people, adolescents, young women, and girls including persons living with disabilities, persons living with HIV, and key populations.
“However, despite the number of interventions, there remain a gap in the push and efforts towards the implementation of these policies to enhance human dignity. Hence, an increasing incidence of domestic violence, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), unplanned pregnancies, and other harmful practices perpetrated against the most vulnerable”, stated.
Ms. Manortey indicated that the GH-Alliance deemed it necessary to train and build the capacity of the CSOs on effective engagement with parliamentarians to influence policy and achieve the needed results as parliamentarians had great influence which could be harnessed to positively affect policy and change in the country.
Private members Bill
A consultant from the Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica), Mr. Gilbert Borketey Boyefio, who facilitated the training, urged the CSOs to take advantage of the to get the country to pass laws that will promoted the sexual and reproductive rights of adolescent girls and women.
He stressed that the Private Members Bill was a major channel through which CSOs can get the issues they advocate for passed into law, and educated them on the processes to use to take advantage of the Bill.