AWLA takes sexual violence sensitization to poor communities

The African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) is intensifying sensitization on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in communities within Techiman and Kintampo in the Bono East Region.

Since Monday, October 25, the organization has mobilized and sensitized over 1,200 stakeholders in Tanoso, Oforikrom, Attabuorso, Nsuta, Dentekrom, Chiranda, Jato-Akura and Atta-Akura, which are some of the rural communities in the Techiman and Kintampo municipalities.   

The sensitization was meant to raise awareness about the dangers SGBV poses to education and development of children, particularly, school girls in the Bono East Region, and to galvanize the support of the stakeholders in the efforts to contain the menace.

This formed part of AWLA’s strategy to take education on SGBV directly to hard-to-reach communities in the Bono East Region where sexual violence against women and girls has reached alarming levels.

In 2020, SGBV was exacerbated by school closures induced by Covid-19 when over 5000 girls, including school girls got pregnant.

Some of the girls were also married off to older men out of ignorance and poverty.

It took the efforts of key stakeholders for some of the pregnant girls to write their 2020 Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE), and for some of the teenage mothers to return to school after having their babies.

According to the Executive Director of AWLA, Madam Edna Kuma, who took participants through various aspects of the Children’s Act, with a focus on ‘the best interest of the child’, “it is important for parents and other community stakeholders to constantly protect children, particularly the girls, so they are not sexually abused by men or classmates”.

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According her, to protect ‘the best interest of the child’, parents must endeavour to meet the needs of their daughters, so they do not become victims of sexual violence perpetrated by men.

She also added that “incidents of abuses against children, particularly, girls must be reported, so that perpetrators are punished in accordance with the law to serve as deterrence to other potential abusers, and children must not be put in hazardous or any work that affects their education”.  

Also speaking at the sensitization programs, the Girl Child Education Coordinator for the Techiman South Education Directorate, Madam Ellen White, urged parents and community stakeholders to directly call her “to report any issue affecting education of girls”.

She also indicated that she was at the forefront of ensuring many pregnant girls returned to school after the Covid-19 induced school lockdown.

She expressed gratitude to AWLA, Oxfam Ghana, WiLDAF and the EU for their support to further engage and sensitize communities in the collective quest to curb sexual violence against girls within Techiman.  

Source: Cosmos Kwame Akorli, Project Manager/Consultant