The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Youth Authority (NYA), Mr Emmanuel Asigri, has called on civil society groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to support efforts at equipping the youth with appropriate knowledge and tools on the positive use of social media.
According to him, notwithstanding “the numerous reports on the abuse of social media by young people, there are positive things it can be used to do, including educating the youth to lead responsible lives”.
Mr Asigri was addressing a day's orientation workshop in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, on how to use social media to promote comprehensive sexuality education.
The workshop was attended by 48 adolescents drawn from six selected districts of the region, namely Talensi, Bongo, Nabdam, Bawku West, Builsa South and Kassena Nankana West.
It was jointly organised by the NYA, the Regional Coordinating Council and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), on the theme “Building youth capacity in Sexual Reproductive Health Rights campaign, through the use of Social Media".
Mr Asigri said realising the important use of social media, the NYA in 2018 built the capacities of about 2,400 young people in the country on online digital marketing and entrepreneurship.
He further explained that each trainee was given a tablet as a start-up tool and as a result, some young people had set up their own businesses, particularly in food processing and fashion designing among others.
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“The knowledge you will gain through social media today will make access to information faster for you so that you can interact with a diversity of people, learn and share experiences, obtain feedback and improve on yourselves,” the CEO observed.
Mr Asigri intimated that “to build an inclusive society, we must pay attention to the role and impact of social media and how young people use the various social media platforms such as Facebook,Twitter,YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram in their everyday lives".
He pointed out that the more constraints young people faced in accessing information, the more they risked being exposed to alternative ways of accessing information from peers and other sources.
The Upper East Regional Director of the NYA, Mr Ziblim Abubakari Shaibu said, participants were drawn from existing youth groups coordinated by the NYA and the Ghana Health Service in the six beneficiary districts.
He announced that other key activities that had been approved for funding by the UNFPA for this year included an advocacy dialogue on the Sexual Reproductive Health Rights for 150 partners in the beneficiary districts and strengthening existing in-school and out-of-school clubs through quizzes to cover over 200 adolescents.
The Executive Director of Rural Initiatives for Self-Empowerment (RISE-Ghana), Mr Awal Ahmed Kariyama, took the participants through the use of social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and others, for peer education, to support Comprehensive Sexuality Education.
He told them that there were many benefits with the use of social media and urged them to hook onto the various platforms, for good reasons.
A Health Promotion Officer at the Upper East Regional Office of the Ghana Health Service, Mr Mohammed Kpedau, enlightened the participants on teenage pregnancy and its effects, parent and teen communication about sexual and reproductive health, correct use of condoms, contraceptives and healthy dating lives.