Dr Amanda Odoi of the Centre for Gender Research Advocacy and Documentation (CEGRAD), of the University of Cape Coast has asked parents and guardians to develop the confidence to discuss sexual reproductive health issues with their children so that youngsters would know their responsibilities.
She said if parents and guardians acquired a good knowledge of issues about sexuality and how to communicate such information to adolescents, it would guide the youth to make the right decisions on their sexual health.
Dr Odoi was speaking at an advocacy meeting with religious leaders at Apam in the Central Region about how to reduce child marriages, teenage pregnancy and gender-based violence.
The programme, which was organised by the Central Regional Department of Gender with support from the United Nations Fund on Population Activities was to urge religious leaders to appreciate issues facing adolescents on sexuality and guide them in taking good decisions.
She said it was essential that both parents and guardians learnt more about sexuality themselves so that they could confidently educate their children.
This, she noted, would save the youth from seeking answers to questions bothering them on sexual health and reproduction from their friends.
Participants called for skills training for women, especially to help empower them financially.
A Director at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Rev. Dr Comfort Asare, advised religious leaders not to settle cases of abuse at home but to report such cases to the appropriate institutions for redress.
The Central Regional Director of the Department of Gender, Mrs Thywill Kpe, said there was the need for stakeholders to join in the fight to end child marriages, teenage pregnancy and sexual and gender-based violence.
She indicated that children were currently being exposed to rape and pornography through negative peer pressure and social media and called for effective communication and education to prevent adolescents from falling victim to sexual abuse.
Mrs Kpe also asked religious leaders to support the education against forced and early marriages adding that a lot of young talents were going waste due to that.