As part of activities to end Teenage Pregnancy and Child Marriage, and also to see adolescent mothers and pregnant adolescent girls back to school, the Department of Gender in partnership with UNFPA on 22nd June and 23rd June, 2022 organized a two-day advocacy meeting with pregnant adolescent girls and adolescent mothers from sixteen (16) communities in two districts namely: Akatsi North and Afadjato South districts.

The programmes took place at the Akatsi North District Assembly Hall in Ave-Dakpa and Afadjato South District Assembly Hall in Ve-Golokuati respectively. The communities include Zemu, Avevi, Metsrikasa, Ziope, Ave-Dzadzepe, Ave-Have, Afiadenyigba, Ave-Xevi, Kpedome and Posmonu all in the Akatsi North districts while communities in the Afadjato South communities include Ve-Golokuati, Liati-Agbonyra, Kpeve Old Town, Sadzikofe, Logba and Ve-Koloenu.

Among issues discussed were Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Child Marriage, Teenage Pregnancy: effects and prevention with focus on STIs and family planning; and GES pregnancy and re-entry policy.

In her presentation, Mrs. Thywill Eyra Kpe, the Regional Director for the Department of Gender, urged young adolescents to desist from sexual activities at their age, since it has a high potential of destroying the future. She also advised adolescents to resist forced or child marriage to avoid all the consequences that are associated with it. She also stressed on the fact Teenage Pregnancy and Child Marriage creates the avenue for “Cycle of Poverty” where the adolescent mother dashes her dashes away her future aspirations and becomes a mother without any independent source of livelihood. This is likely to continue with her children leading to that cycle of poverty.

According to Madam Augustina Modzakah, the District Girls Education Officer for Akatsi North, the re-entry policy seeks to prevent pregnancy among schoolgirls. however, if the pregnancy occurs, they are supposed to go back to school. She also revealed that, observation showed that many girls drop out of school because of pregnancy but only few go back to school. It is for this reason that the re-entry policy is being introduced.

The District Public Health Nurses for the two programmes took participants through some of the effects and preventions of Child Marriage and Teenage pregnancy with the focus on STIs. they also took them through the acceptance of family planning.