The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in partnership with the UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR), is organising separate training sessions for refugees on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), Interactive theatre and Parent-Child Communication.
The joint programme, with funding from the Canadian government, is designed to support Ghana to implement its adolescent girls' vision and scale up existing strategies and interventions to holistically serve the needs of the vulnerable group.
Dr Claudia M. Donkor, the Programme Analyst, Reproductive Health and of Humanitarian Assistance, UNFPA, at the opening training session in Cape Coast in the Central Region on Wednesday, said the purpose was to empower the group of stakeholders from four refugee camps, with the needed information and knowledge to be able to go back as trainers in their respective communities.
The four camps included; Fertenta in Bono, Agyeikrom in the Central, Ampian in the Western, and Krisan also in the Western regions respectively, and also other refugees who were already integrated into societies in urban centres including Accra.
She said topics to be treated with the youth groups on CSE included; Gender- Based Violence (GBV), legal issues, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights including Family Planning, Self-esteem and assertiveness, as well as Adolescence and Puberty.
Dr Donkor indicated that the UNFPA's mandate stretches to all persons with the objective of leaving no one behind, hence the use of theatre to reach out to all persons in the various communities in these refugee camps.
She noted that adolescence was the most difficult period in the development of the human being, and there was the need to support them to rise above all the challenges.
Collaborating with the UNHCR would, therefore, help address the challenges that confronted the group especially in the restricted environment, so that they could make informed decisions and choices, she said.
Dr. Donkor said, "in such restricted environments, it was normal that the youth vent their frustrations on having violent sex, drugs and other social vices".
She explained that peer education was like a dominant effect that had the potential of addressing a wide range of challenges and that the training were done once or twice in a year to ensure that no one was missed, as new refugees arrived in the camps on regular basis.
She stated although the CSE targeted more females than males due to their vulnerabilities, the boys were actively involved as they played key roles in ensuring behavioral change critical for the success of the programme.
Ms Juliana Yaa Owusu, the National Healthy Officer, UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR), admitted that although the Ghana Health Service was responsible for providing integrated healthcare for all including; refugees, there were often gaps when it comes to the adolescents accessing CSE and services.
The collaborative efforts by the two UN institutions she said, therefore sought to leverage these gaps and improved access of adolescent refugee girls aged 10 to 19 years to gender-responsive CSE and quality youth-friendly SRH services at the camps.
She said the programmes were monitored by Field Officers who were given targets and filed regular reports.
The volunteers were also given some incentives including; training programmes to motivate them to sustain commitment.
The participants engaged in short role-plays, interactive sections by the parent group, and the theatre team on strategies to developing interesting drama to educate their communities.