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How the Chief of Kaneshie is Using his Influence to End Teenage Pregnancy

The importance of male engagement in achieving gender equality and empowerment of women and girls cannot be overemphasized. To achieve the three transformative goals of the United Nations Population Fund, thus: zero unmet need for family planning, zero maternal mortality and zero sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) needs male engagement strategy.

“I was greatly disturbed at the alarming rate of teenage pregnancy & how adolescent girls were becoming victims of SGBV in my community. A group of people from the Purim African Youth Development Platform (PADYP) paid me a visit to explain an initiative they wanted to begin in Kaneshie on empowering adolescent girls. At the mention of that, I did not hesitate in assuring them of my full cooperation”, Nii Nii Kwei Ashaley I, chief of Kaneshie recounts the genesis of his contribution in ending teenage pregnancy during a knowledge sharing session held at the 2020 Partners Learning Forum (PaLeF) in Accra.

According to the chief, poverty was a major factor in the rise of teenage pregnancy in Kaneshie. He recounted how the ‘okada riders’ were luring the young girls with money and having indiscriminate sex with them. He was therefore glad when he realized that the intervention from PADYP with support from UNFPA was equipping the girls with income generating skills. They trained the adolescent girls on bead making, pastry making and other vocational skills to bridge the poverty gap while educating them on sexual and reproductive health issues. The girls to a large extent, were empowered.

For Nii Nii Kwei Ashaley I, the icing on the cake for him is how the intervention has given him the platform to educate men and boys in Kaneshie on the dangers of risky sexual behaviours, importance of gender equality & the role of men and boys in ending SGBV. “I leverage on football matches the young men play every Sunday. I watch them play and take keen interest in the game. I then use about fifteen minutes after the football matches to educate the young men on the use of condoms and the laws on SGBV in Ghana which is in the Domestic Violence Act. I feel very elated when they freely ask me very sensitive questions bothering them. Now, these young men are confident to walk in to my palace to talk to me about their sexual and reproductive health and I must add that my influence as a traditional leader also attracts them”, he remarked.

Nii Nii Kwei Ashaley I believes that when more traditional leaders are in engaged in educating young people on reproductive health and SGBV, it will yield great fruits.