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The recently ended 3-day Northern Ghana SRHR Conference for Young People provided a platform for over 400 young girls trained as agents of change in their society through support from UNFPA.

The Programme of Action of the International Conference for Population, which is the blueprint of UNFPA’s mandate recognizes the need for young people to have access to sexual and reproductive health rights along with, youth-friendly services.

In line with this, the youth participants were meaningfully engaged and equipped with adequate comprehensive sexuality education, which moved the organizers to petition policy implementers to expedite the roll-out of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in Northern Ghana.

Executive Director of NORSAAC, Alhassan Mohammed Awal at the closing ceremony remarked that the conference has ended with an increase in the confidence of the youth participants. “This conference is to help young people appreciate the contents of CSE and the various stakeholders responsible for its implementation”, he said.

 Also, he appealed to UNFPA and other stakeholders to help sustain the conference in the years ahead.

Madam Habiba from the Ghana Health Service, advised the youth to share ideas learnt with other young people and stay focused to achieve their educational goals.

Municipal Chief Executive of Sagnarigu, Mariam Idrisu pointed out that the development of CSE shows government’s passion towards the development of young people. She also advised them saying, “always remind yourself of the purpose of your life. Be disciplined and hardworking to achieve greater heights because, we didn’t get the opportunity you have now”.

Throughout the conference, participants were engaged in interesting breakout parallel sessions on topics including: Sexual abuse in schools and communities; unpacking sexual exploitations and effective ways of responding, safeguarding systems in communities and schools, social media activism, CSE and others.

Participants expressed various means of creating change in their community through drama, music and radio talk show activities, as well as a presentation of issues concerning them in a position paper.

In the conference’s outcome document, the youth called on stakeholders to consider the following key topics in the implementation of the new CSE guidelines: Sexual exploitation, child marriage, access to contraceptives, effects of gender stereotypes, mentorship for personal development, etc. The document also called for a multisector approach between agencies such as Ghana Education service, Ghana Health service, Civil Society Organizations, traditional leaders and the UN agencies to work in partnership while implementing the CSE guidelines.