Niyi Ojuolape, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Representative, has called for concrete and innovative ideas to advance the well-being of adolescent girls in Ghana.
He said adolescents played a crucial role in the development of a country hence the need for stakeholders to advance their well-being to conform to the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) agenda.
Mr Ojuolape made the call at the opening of the 2020 Partners’ Learning Forum (PALEF) on Monday in Accra on the theme: “the Unfinished Business: Utilizing Shared Knowledge and Practices for Advancing ICDP in Ghana”.
The ICPD agenda is a revolutionary Programme of Action adopted in 1994 by 179 countries in Cairo, which called for women’s reproductive health and rights to take centre stage in national and global development efforts.
He said the work of reducing preventable maternal mortality, bringing to zero the unmet need of family planning, eradicating the incidence of gender based violence and harmful practices was not that of the UNFPA and the government alone, but the responsibility of everyone.
The Country Representative called on government, celebrities, religious and traditional leaders to come on board to ensure the adolescent girl achieves her full potentials.
The Forum, seeks to facilitate a fertile ground for exchange of ideas that may further improve policy, programme development and implementation.
Mr Ojuolape indicated that the forum was held annually to showcase the mandate of the UNFPA and how they executed their programmes through a constellation of partners at the national, regional and district levels within the government decentralized political and developmental implementation systems.
This pioneering initiative has been based on UNFPA’s firm conviction in efforts to increase the reach and impact of programme interventions for those most in need at the sub-national levels and to foster upstream leadership and ownership of Ghana’s development agenda.
He said the theme for the forum clearly showed the need for and importance of shared learning and horizontal collaboration between UNFPA’s implementing partners as well as relevant stakeholders in advancing the ICPD agenda.
“We will also discuss future UNFPA programming strategies in line with the post Nairobi conclusions,” he stated.
The Country Representative indicated that the UNFPA would continue to position the issue of young people, particularly adolescent girls as a critical parameter for harnessing the demographic dividend in Ghana.
Mr Ojuolape said through funding support from the Canadian Government, the UNFPA was implementing a joint programme with UNICEF geared towards systemically empowering the girls to make informed choices on issues affecting them.
This would allow adolescents exercise their urgency on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) issues on gender equality, and access quality, gender-responsive sexual and reproductive health services among other programmes to end child marriage.
Miss Agnes Obetsebi, a beneficiary, expressed gratitude to the UNFPA and the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) for the impact they had made in her life.
The 19 year old entrepreneur said through the UNFPA training programme, she was now independent and had also trained others. She is saving towards her tertiary education.
Ms Obetsebi urged other adolescent girls to take advantage of such trainings to enable them acquire skills to earn a decent living.
The Canadian High Commissioner, a representative from the Ministry of Finance, civil society organizations, stakeholders, beneficiaries among others, attended the programme.