By Seraphine Nyuiemedi
Students of Vakpo Senior High School in the North Dayi District of the Volta Region have benefited from the Regional Department of Gender’s adolescent empowerment programme dubbed “Campus conversation”.
The programme seeks to encourage adolescents to freely discuss issues that affect their development, especially, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Sexual and Gender based violence. The Volta Regional Director for the Department of Gender, Thywill Eyra Kpe, said the target is to curb teenage pregnancy and all other forms of gender-based violence by 2030.
“Campus conversation” or “Camp Convo” started last year under the United Nations Population Fund’s Seven Country programme. The nearly one thousand students who took part in the programme were sensitised on adolescent sexual and reproductive health, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, and sexual and gender based violence. They were given the opportunity to share their experiences with the topics. The Volta Regional Director for the Department of Gender, Thywill Eyra Kpe, was optimistic that the initiative would expose the students to Reproductive Health Rights and other critical topics.
“We realised that in our conversation with the adolescents it is very hard for adults especially, their parents to engage in Sexual and Reproductive Health conversations with them and so some of them have serious issues that they do not know where to go to, to pick support and help and so the “Camp Convo” is to open up that discussion and to give them the confidence to know that there are people out there who are interested in their lives, future, and there are people out there who are concerned about whether they’re abused, get pregnant or not and also to understand the implications of getting pregnant, of early sex and of why they should progress to fulfil their potential in life,” she said.
The North Dayi District Public Health Nurse District Health Directorate, Hilda Kotoh, said the district recorded 18.9 percent of teenage pregnancies as of the first quarter of this year. She therefore appealed to parents, traditional authorities, and individuals to create an enabling environment for the young ones to deter them from engaging in early sex.
The Assistant Headmaster of Vakpo Senior High School, Julius Yaw Anthony, expressed the hope that the programme will complement management’s efforts to eliminate social vices such as the use of illicit drugs on campus.
“This particular programme is a timely one, being that some of our students are into drug use and other forms of crime, which sometimes forces the school to go to court. Sometimes we see a few of our student girls becoming pregnant, so this particular information that has come will go a long way to curbing the menace,” he said.
The Assistant Girls Prefect of the school, Lawrencia Kyere, advised her peers to open up to trustworthy persons on such issues and also abstain from premarital sex so as not to jeopardise their future.
The programme was in partnership with the Ghana Education Service, DOVVSU of the Ghana Police Service, Ghana Health Service, NACOC and was funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).