Mentorship summit held for 70 adolescents in Central Region
Seventy adolescent boys and girls have attended an annual Regional Mentorship and Adolescents Empowerment Summit in the Central Region to curb teenage pregnancy.
The summit which saw mentors being brought in for career guidance lessons, was also to encourage them to resolve to build a brighter future and to work to achieve their aspirations.
The two-day summit was also to develop the participants into assertive girls and boys who would focus on school to attain their goals and aspirations.
It was organised by the Central Regional Department of Gender, with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Central Regional Coordinating Council.
Participants were drawn from Ekumfi, Assin South, Komenda Edina Eguafo Abrem, Cape Coast, Agona East, Twifo Hemang, Lower Denkyira and Mfantseman districts.
They were taken through topics on sexual and reproductive health and sexual and gender-based violence as well as career guidance and discipline.
The Central Regional Director of the Department of Gender, Richlove Amamoo, in her welcome address, said the programme for the first time included boys, as a way to ensure inclusive efforts of both genders towards reducing teenage pregnancy.
She indicated that the summit was to further prepare young girls, together with boys to understand the implications of adolescent pregnancies on their aspirations, so as to get them to choose responsible sexual lifestyles.
Ms Amamoo stated that adolescent pregnancy remained high in the region, as a result of factors such as cohabitation, parental neglect and poverty.
She added that as a department under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, it was committed towards working to ensure adolescents’ well-being, adding that the department would continue to impact positively on adolescent life choices.
She indicated that adolescent pregnancy and sexual and gender-based violence continued to plague many communities, particularly in the region and urged the participants to report such perpetrators to the right authorities for action.
A General Surgeon at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, Dr Grant Jenny, advised the adolescents to aim and dream high and work hard to achieve their future goals.
He urged them to avoid bad friends who would influence them to join bad company which would in the end result in pregnancies and make them school dropouts.
A Sexual Reproductive Health Rights Advocate, Michael Tagoe, for his part, urged the participants to adopt responsible sexual behaviour, to prevent themselves from contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
He advised them to stay chaste in order to be free from those STIs so that they could live better and healthier lives.
The Queen mother of Ekumfi Abor, Nana Araba Ahimfuwa III, advised the participants to be assertive, determined and ambitious to attain their goals.
The Central Regional Focal Person for UNFPA, David Allan Painstil, advised the students not to be distracted by vices but stick to their books and adhere to good values that would help them attain their goals in the future.