Some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the Upper East Region of Ghana have teamed up and formulated a road map to advocate for the mainstreaming of Reproductive Health Education into basic school’s curriculum.
The CSOs included Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana, AfriKids Ghana, Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana, Coalition of NGOs, Rise Ghana, Society for Empowerment and Social Justice and Camfed among others.
This was made known in Bolgatanga at CSOs dialogue organized by the Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana (YHFG) as part of its flagship project, “Evidence To Action: Sexual Health Education Advocacy Project”. The five-year project, being implemented in five districts- Bolgatanga Municipal, Bawku West, Talensi, Nabdam and Bongo seeks to generate evidence to support government through the Ghana Education Service to implement Reproductive Health Education (RHE) in basic schools.
Executive Director, YHFG, Mrs Priscilla Nyaaba said, “Reproductive health education was very important to the development of children and needed to be taught in schools especially at the basic level to equip them with their sexual and reproductive health rights. This would help safeguard the young people especially the females from Sexual and Gender based violence, unwanted pregnancies, early or forced marriages as well as Sexually Transmitted Infections such as HIV/AIDS.”
She further said, “Government, as well as CSOs and NGOs, had over the years tried to end gender based violence but the indicators still showed high levels of negativities and called for a paradigm shift and collective approach. The project intended to employ research and advocacy at both local and national levels to gather empirical evidence on the need to mainstream the programme into the school curriculum.”
The Project Manager, AfriKids Ghana, Mr Silas Ayaba explained, “The implementation of the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) would be the solution to the issues of sexual and reproductive health rights, however, it was poorly presented and Ghanaians did not buy into the concept.”
The Project Officer noted, “A bit of the concept was found in the Science and Social Studies syllabus and it could be repackaged to ensure that it had the needed attention to make an impact on the adolescents. Mainstreaming the sexual and reproductive health rights issues into the basic school system would help empower the adolescents with the knowledge that would enable them to stand for their rights, improve their wellbeing, self-esteem, attitudes and protect their rights from being abused.”
The region also recorded 28 per cent of child marriage as against the national figure of 19 per cent, she said and attributed the cause largely to lack of accurate information on their sexual and reproductive health rights.