The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), As I Grow, Debrah Bekoe Isaac, has disclosed that the lack of market avenues, economic empowerment and vocational training support are some of the major factors causing teenage pregnancies and school dropouts in deprived communities.
He noted that research by his outfit found that improvement in the livelihoods of young persons in the form of economic support could reduce the increasing number of school dropouts and teenage pregnancies in the rural communities.
In view of this, his organization is providing both financial support and vocational training skills to empower women and the general population in these areas to help improve their economic lives.
“Recently, the organisation has been engaging in various life transforming projects to equip the people in these deprived areas through education, skill training, economic empowerment strategies on savings, free health care, providing safe water, donations and advocacy work on the menace of teenage pregnancy,” he added.
Call for support
He explained that records from the Ghana Health Service suggest that between 2016 and 2020, Ghana recorded more than 500,000 cases of teenage pregnancies with the Eastern Region alone recording over 56,000.
“Most of these victims are between the ages of 12 and 15 years, who are either in basic school or SHS. And most of the parents especially women in these deprived communities do not have any meaningful jobs, thus young adolescent girls have to fend for themselves by engaging in premarital sex.
“The men who engage in these acts with these young girls too are just peasant farmers, Okada riders and unemployed. Sometimes they even run away after impregnating them,” Mr Debrah told the media.
He used the opportunity to call on other NGOs, individuals, government and other institutions to support these deprived communities and also create awareness on the effects of the menace.