In 2017, the rate of child marriages in Ghana was 21% while regional statistics showed that the Upper East Region recorded a 36.1% rate of child marriages.
Also, the national rate of teenage pregnancy was 14% while the Upper East Region recorded a rate of 17% under the regional rates.
As scary as the figures look, many of the girls who are victims of these phenomena, have no easy access to Sexual Reproductive Health in their communities.
For this reason, Youth Harvest Foundation (YHF) Ghana, an NGO based in the Upper East Region has launched the “Youth4Change” Project with the aim to increase access to Sexual Reproductive Health information and services for out-of-school girls in five communities in the Nabdam district of the Upper East Region, where the rate of teenage pregnancy has been on the rise since the year 2014.
The “Youth4Change” Project aims to reach out to about 3, 000 young people with Sexual Reproductive Health information and youth-friendly services, to contribute to the reduction of teenage pregnancy and child marriages in the Nabdam the district.
The initiative will directly contribute to the attainment of the SDG goal 3.7 of “ensuring universal access to Sexual Reproductive Health care services including Family Planning, information and education and the integration of reproductive health in national strategies and programs”.
According to the Programs Manager for Youth Harvest Foundation, Urban Akagwire, the “Youth4Change” Project is a one-year pilot project in the five selected communities – Kongo, Nangodi, Dasabligo, Pelungu and Sakote.
He said the areas were chosen for the project because “poverty was a main contributory factor to problems of teenage pregnancies and child marriages in Northern Ghana”.
Mr. Akagwire also revealed, the “Youth4Change” Project will empower ten out-of-school youth leaders with adequate information and skills to directly engage with their peers and carry out advocacy activities.
Speaking on behalf of the chiefs and elders of the areas benefitting from the “Youth4Change” Project, the chief of Yakote, (an area under Nangodi), Naab Ntalebmogri Wongnab II said teenage pregnancies and child marriages were a burden in the area, as they were the cause of many girls dropping out of school.
He said the success of the project would bring a huge relief to the people of the area.