Dr Rashid Pelpuo, Member of Parliament (MP) for the Wa Central Constituency, has appealed to parents not to neglect their duties of educating their children with particular emphasis on the education of the girl-child.
He said girls played an unalienable role in societal development and needed to be given the opportunity to fully develop their potential to contribute meaningfully to the development of their communities and the nation as a whole.
Dr Pelpuo made the appeal at Kpongu in the Wa Municipality at a community durbar organised by the Centre for the Promotion of Democratic Governance (CENPRODEG), a Non-Governmental Organisation, on the theme: “Promoting Rights and Empowering the Girl Child for a Brighter Tomorrow”.
It was under the “Girls Advocacy Alliance” project, a five-year project, funded by the Defence for Children International (DCI).
The project was being implemented in 10 communities in the Wa Municipal including Kpongu, Duori, Yibile, Danku, Nakore, Dandafuro and Bamahu among others to eliminate child marriage, teenage pregnancy, and gender-based violence as well as to promote Technical and Vocational Education and Training among girls.
Dr Pelpuo observed that girls’ access to education would help empower them economically to support their parents at old age.
“My wife is from this community and you all know she is a lawyer, it is through education that she became a lawyer. Your child may not be a lawyer but she can be a doctor, a nurse or a teacher, and she can support you in future”, the MP stated.
On her part, Madam Edith N. Dery, the Programmes Coordinator for CENPRODEG, identified the “tijaa boyeni” meaning “we are all one” mentality among the people as a major setback in promoting the welfare of girls.
She said it prevented communities and parents from reporting issues including child marriage and teenage pregnancy to the authorities for prompt action to be taken against perpetrators.
She urged parents to assume the responsibility of providing for the educational and other basic needs of their children to prevent girls from falling prey to unscrupulous men in the communities who took advantage of the vulnerability of girls to jeopardise their future.
“Some communities still believe that girls do not have the right to education”, Madam Dey said regrettably and called for collective action to change those perceptions for the collective interest of the girls and the community.
Pognaa Amamata Sanseo, Queen Mother of Duori in the Wa Municipality, identified irresponsible parenting as a major cause of teenage pregnancy and school dropout among girls, as some parents allowed their girls to sell firewood, charcoal, sachet water among others in the market without supervision.
This, she said, led girls to come into contact with devious men who could impregnate them or contract Sexually Transmitted Infections such as HIV/AIDS.
Pognaa Sanseo entreated parents to protect their children from engaging in acts that were detrimental to their development and wellbeing and should ensure that girls achieved the best education they deserved before going into marriage.
Naa Brimah Seidu, the Kpongu chief, said teenage pregnancy and child marriage were sources of worry to them and gave the assurance that they would enact by-laws against the twin menace in the community.