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EROP support teams established to fight SGBV in North-East region

Parents Being Educated Some parents having a talk with experts on SGBV

Sat, 12 Jun 2021 Source: ken-zorre a. edward, contributor

Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) is a major threat to women and girls development; instituting pragmatic measures and interventions to curtail SGBV has become more pertinent than ever before.

The North-East Region of Ghana is one of the hard-hit regions in the country, witnessing an increasing number of girls dropping out of school due to SGBV.

According to the East Mumprusi Municipal Guidance and Counseling Coordinator, Rev. Grace Ato Wuni, “more girls are dropping out of school than boys because of child marriages and unplanned pregnancies.”

The Equal Rights and Opportunities Project (EROP) is a girl and women protection project that seeks to eliminate the numerous human rights challenges of women and girls in communities within the North-East region and further advocate for better opportunities for them to thrive.

Challenges and Formation of EROP Support Clubs.

Inadequate information regarding SGBV protective measures was mentioned as one of the factors undermining the fight against SGBV in the region.

Ayamdavla Cynthia, a student of the Gambaga Girls Junior High School said, before the EROP training, she did not know how to prevent SGBV.

“I thought issues like rape and forced marriages which have been happening in my community is limited to the community members to handle, I did not know I could call social justice institutions such as the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit to help,” she said.

Iddrisu Alhassan, a member of the Equal Rights and Opportunities Project (EROP) support team opined that “the inability of community leadership to be fair in judgement on issues of SGBV is a threat to ending the menaces”.

“Prominent persons in our communities are always favoured when they or their relations commit SGBV offences whiles the ordinary community members are made to pay for their crimes”, he lamented.

Iddrisu Alhassan added that “our leaders have to desist from this unfair practice to pave way for SGBV free communities”.

A participant who pleaded anonymity said, a man who raped a schoolgirl in his community is currently roaming without charges due to political interference. The participant, therefore, charged politicians to desist from interfering in the justice delivery process.

It is in this regard that, Savana Signatures as a partner of the GH SRHR Alliance for Young People is forming EROP support teams composed of community leaders, women leaders, market women and members of the assembly to aid in curtailing SGBV issues in the project communities.

These teams were trained on girls and women protection mechanisms to enable them to tackle issues of SGBV.

Rev. Grace Ato Wuni lauded the initiative and stressed the need to have SGBV education that targets both genders, however, she emphasized that more focus should be on the girl-child including empowering her to make informed decisions.

As a counsellor, she advised that “the guidance and counselling units should be resourced enough to handle issues of SGBV in schools.

Parents should also be invited to meet in schools and discuss ways of helping to prevent SGBV among girls to enable them to have a successful education.”

She called on other members of the EROP Support Teams to effectively apply the women and girl’s protection mechanisms acquired from the training to champion issues of SGBV in their respective communities.

Source: ken-zorre a. edward, contributor