A total of 29 female pupils in the Bole dropped out of school due to teenage pregnancy in the ongoing academic year (2018/2019) in the Bole district of the savannah region.
Data obtained from the Bole District Education unit revealed that the pregnancies cut across primary and junior high school with three of the girls being in primary 4 at the time they dropped out.
The situation has also led to early child marriage in the area, and negatively impacted efforts to promote girl child education.
Stakeholders have attributed the problem to a multitude of factors including parental irresponsibility, poverty and the lack of safe spaces for adolescent girls to discuss adolescent sexual reproductive health issues.
To address this problem, NORSAAC a non-governmental organization has launched its project dubbed Promoting Adolescent Safe Spaces (PASS) in the Bole district of the savannah region.
The program is aimed at providing safe environments for adolescent girls in the area to freely discuss issues about their sexual reproductive health rights which seem to be a taboo to mention in the rural communities.
In an interview with Citi News, a Project Officer for Gender and Governance at NORSAAC, Yeri Nancy said the project aims to provide girls with sexual and reproductive health education.
‘The safe spaces will be situated within the beneficiary communities, it is strategized to provide spaces where girls can talk about issues that affect them, with girls between the ages of 10 to 14 and 15 to 19 they will have spaces in the community, places where they feel comfortable to sit and discuss issues that affect them and issues that promote child marriages’.
The project, which is supported by UNICEF with funding from the Norwegian government is being implemented in four districts, these include, Mamprugu Moaduri, West Mamprusi, Bole and Tatale/Sanguli districts of the North East, Savannah and Northern Regions respectively.
In an interview with Citi News, the chief of Kumbe, Kumbewura John K Haruna, lauded NORSAAC for the initiative saying it will help reduce the prevalence of teenage pregnancies in the area.
‘A lot of interventions came around to support this call and we have tried to curb this menace but its prevailing, we always embrace all the NGOs into this particular venture yet we are not seeing any results, but with the intervention of NORSAAC I think that it will help since they are coming with a different approach’.
Other stakeholders who were present at the inception called for an all gender inclusive approach in addressing the problem, thus sensitizing the boys as well as girls since they both play active roles in the teenage pregnancy challenges in these districts.