More than one in every five girls in Ghana is married before the age of 18 and 5% are married before their 15th birthday. The Hunger Project-Ghana wants to bring a total end to this phenomenon by empowering young girls and boys through so called Girls & Boys Camps.
The Hunger Project Ghana periodically organizes these camps to empower children to know their rights and fight early child marriages. They help them withstand societal pressures when they arise: ‘It is our objective to work against traditions & customs that fight against the progress of young girls and boys.’
Besides educational games, participants of the 2019 Girls & Boys Camp were given the platform to showcase their talents; from Spoken Word (Poetry), Rap, Stand-up Comedy to Dancing & Singing. The Her Choice Project Coordinator, Girl Child Coordinators, Patrons and Teachers also joined the fun as the young girls and boys watched with joy (see picture).
Menstrual hygiene management
But their was also room for more serious matters. Child brides from the Boti Epicenter like Edna Odje (see picture) shared their bitter experience with the participants. The Eastern Regional Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit Commander gave some tips to our young participants at the 2019 Girls & Boys Camp. She encouraged them to stand up against all forms of societal abuse. An instructive part of the campaign was Child Protection & Child Right Activities which was taught by Lawyer Shadrack Majisi of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice.
Representatives from the Ghana Health Service spoke to the participants who were split into two gender based groups on menstrual hygiene management (MHM) and Growth and Development. Boys and girls will be able to make the right decisions regarding their sex lives and education if they are well informed. MHM is a major health issue affecting women and girls of reproductive age worldwide. School-aged girls in marginalized communities face the largest barriers to MHM, as many schools do not have the necessary facilities, supplies, knowledge, and understanding to appropriately support girls during menstruation.
The participants also shared with the Her Choice Project Coordinator some of the major challenges that lead them into early child marriages and teenage pregnancies. The most dominant reasons given by these young participants was poverty and lack of parental guidance and counselling. According to team member these stories ‘encourage us to periodically organize such workshops to empower and equip these kids decide if, when and whom she or he marries, and that’s Her Choice.’
The 2019 Girl and Boys Camp ended today with a trip to the Kotoka International Airport in Accra. The team looks back on a succesful camp: ‘The essence for organizing this camp is to let girls and boys be empowered and be assertive, but also to give them a vision, so that they can go up in education, regardless where they come from.’