Ho, Aug. 26, GNA – Teen mothers in the Volta Region have lauded a livelihood skills training they acquired at a three-day workshop that seeks to break challenges that come with unwanted pregnancies.
Tears flowed visibly as some of the teen mothers broke down while narrating the transformation the UNFPA/Global Affairs Canada initiative had brought to them.
A total of 50 teen mothers drawn from six implementing districts of the programme in the Volta and Oti Regions, received training in choice vocations from the National Youth Authority and paraded their products at a review meeting in Ho.
Among them were some indirect beneficiaries who had understudied participants of the programme, and who also reported the economic benefits of the training.
One teen mother, who acquired cosmetic skills, said she set out as an itinerant beautician and later attracted the support of an aunt who provided her with a shop.
Bella, also a beneficiary from Adidome said, “I had a daughter and I did not know how to feed her. I started with a handful of materials but now I have a big basket”.
Most participants appealed for the programme to be expanded to enable them to acquire more skills, and noted how the Internet had become a useful avenue for ideas and emerging skills and fashion.
The girls also received education on reproductive and sexual health as part of the training.
Adjoa Yenyi, UNFPA Adolescent and Youth Program Specialist, said the Agency maintained reproductive and sexual health as a major element of the training program to provide the young women with information that would assist them to become more assertive.
She said the lack of sustainable livelihood was the main cause of underage and unwanted pregnancies, assuring that the UN agency’s commitment to addressing the challenges.
“For us at the UNFPA, we want to make sure that every pregnancy is wanted and we also want to make sure that every childbirth is safe.
“We also want to make sure that every young person’s potentials are fulfilled,” she said, urging teen mothers not to be weakened by their experiences, but to take advantage of opportunities, and guard their health.
“Nothing is impossible and everybody makes mistakes,” she added and commended beneficiaries for enduring while giving the assurance that their progress was necessary for encouraging donor partners to sustain the programme.
Mr Yao Semorde, Regional Director of the NYA said teen pregnancy has been plaguing the Region, and so the Authority welcomed the UNFPA’s livelihood support drive.
He told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines that the participants had testified to the benefits of the program, and that the initiative should be maintained, as it tended to attract other teens that need support.
The Government of Ghana is being supported by the UNFPA to implement the Seventh Country Program (CP7), which is a three-year program aimed at promoting adolescent sexual reproductive health and rights.
It seeks to address needs for family planning, and also end child marriages in the implementing districts and municipalities- Krachi East, North Dayi, Central Tongu, Afadzato South, South Dayi, and Akatsi North.
Agencies and partners including the Ghana Health Service, various departments under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Community Development Agency, the NYA, and the Ghana Education Service, are executing the CP7.
Non-governmental organizations including the Alliance for Reproductive Health and Rights, the Coalition of NGOs in Health, and the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana have also signed on to the program as development partners.
Activities under the programme are seminars and forums on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights, livelihood support initiatives, and capacity building for stakeholders.