The United Nations Population Fund Ghana (UNFPA Ghana) has donated 25 mattresses and 10 sewing machines to the students of the Nana Afrakoma Vocational Institute in Akwamuman in the Eastern Region.
The handing over of these items were done on Saturday December 24, 2022 in Akwamufie in the Eastern Region.
Speaking at the ceremony, UNFPA Country Representative, Dr. David Wilfred Ochan lauded the Paramount Queenmother of Akwamuman, Nana Afrakuma II for establishing the training center to help adolescent girls in the town.
He noted that the items being donated are to aid the girls in developing skills to be able to support themselves.
“I want to use this occasion to also appreciate you in a very special way for setting up the vocational Institute and most especially taking the bold decision to give adolescent mothers a second chance by giving them life planning skills and empowering them to stand on their own. My Executive Director and the Regional Director were so enthused about this and I here today to present these items: sewing machines and mattresses per your request for the girls for 2022 as a token to continue encouraging you that we are with you. My organization will continue to work with girls and the school to provide these girls with information and services on Adolescent Reproductive Health and Rights. We believe that every young person’s potential must be fulfilled, he said.”
Dr. David Ochan further called on Queen mothers and other traditional leaders to work on empowering adolescent girls and educate them on teenage pregnancy, child marriages gender-based violence etc. to aid in achieving UNFPA’s transformative goals.
“Traditional Leaders wield lot of power in the Ghanaian society. Using culture and tradition as a powerful tool, Queen mothers are instrumental in conveying and transferring knowledge on issues of reproductive health such as adolescent pregnancy, menstrual health to mention just a few to adolescent girls. These issues are the main pillars of the UNFPA’s three transformative goals which are all focused on men, women and young people but most importantly women and girls.
Let us deploy the empowerment of adolescents, as a strategic tool to enable them to resist harmful practices such as teenage pregnancy as well as be assertive with the choices of their menstrual health. This journey towards the three zeros requires the harmonization of the diverse voices of men, women, girls and boys from all over the world in a resounding chorus towards achieving equality for all, he added”
Administrator of the Nana Afrakoma Vocational Institute, Selali Mary Helego also expressed gratitude to UNFPA Ghana for supporting the students with the mattresses and sewing machines.
According to her, no adolescent pregnancy has been recorded in the school since it was established a year and 9 months ago.
“UNFPA Ghana has given us a lot of help especially looking at our school; that is full of teenage pregnant mothers. With their education, since we started till now, we haven’t seen anyone coming in with pregnancy anymore. It’s been a year and nine months now. We haven’t seen cases of that and we are really happy. UNFPA and this training center has really helped us. They helped build their minds as well, so they’re very careful not to make any mistake. The hospitals here also called the children in to educate them on family planning issues,” she said.
Kumi Esther, who is a student of the institute, said that the vocational institute has helped her learned basic skills she would need for a better life.
She called on other adolescent girls to persevere and find honest way of acquiring skills to sustain their lives.
“This has helped me a lot. I completed SHS and there was no money for me to continue. So i heard of this school through a friend. So I came and I filled the form and I was given a hostel to sleep in because i was from afar. I have been here for a year now and I have learnt a lot from braiding to the applying of make-up.
I will tell other girls like me to stand up and fight for themselves. I know that money is not there but when you try to do something, you can do it no matter what. So I am telling my sisters, my friends and my mothers that they should work hard so that they can feed themselves and their children,” she said.
Story by: Kelly Adjetey Boye | univers.ug.edu.gh