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PENN/KNUST GLOBAL SEMINAR: STUDY VISIT TO RRIG

Introduction
12 female students from the University of Pennsylvania and 3 from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) visited RRIG premises on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 as part of their yearly PENN/KNUST Global Seminar in Ghana. The purpose of the visit was to learn about the African Culture, Health Education and Women Empowerment.
The team first visited the Queen Mother of Asante Bekwai Traditional Council, Nana Adwoa Pinamang III, who explained that her major priority is keeping girls in school longer to achieve their economic independent through the formation of Youth Friendly Clubs for girls; example is the Virgin Club, Bo Bra Pa (translated as Live a good life) and the Puberty Rite (Bragro). She explained that it is one of the best strategies of reducing unplanned teenage pregnancy.
The team’s second visit was to the Religious Leaders at the Bekwai Zongo Community in the Bekwai Municipality in the Ashanti Region where they met and interacted with Imam Abdul Wakil Hussain (Honorable Gambo). He also explained that they main focus is on girl child education: keeping girls in school to longer to achieve their socio-economic development. A quote from Imam Abdul Wakil Hussain “Before RRIG entered the community, there was a lot of truancy and teenage pregnancy. RRIG has helped the community to know the importance of keeping children in school. They spoke with both children and parents/guardians. Parents/Guardians who neglected their children were always summoned by the Religious Leader (Imams) and meetings were held at the Community Centre.
Funds were mobilized in the community to support to support the education of needy children to remain in school and achieve their academic potentials. Most of the parents left their children in the care of the Community Based Child Protection Committee. Others decided to provide every need of the children under the watch of the committee. One of the children who used to be very truant is now one of the best students in Wesley Senior High School in the Bekwai Municipality in the Ashanti Region. Through their collaboration with RRIG, a lot of children have gone back to school. Some community members provide gifts to the committee to support their work”.
Mad. Aba Oppong, the Executive Director during her focus group discussion with the team explained to them that, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) information helps girls to be informed about their sexuality to reduce unplanned pregnancy, maternal mortality and Sexually Transmitted Infections/Diseases (STIs/STDs) among girls and women of reproductive age. She has worked in Civil Society Organization since 1995. Her work with girls and women of reproductive age focused on:
Contraception use to reduce unplanned pregnancy.
Immunization of children, example, BCG (Tuberculosis), Measles etc.
We encourage women to deliver in health centres and at a public health facility due to financial reasons.
Planning before having babies.
Adolescent sexual and reproductive health specifically about their sexuality.
Work to reduce stigma.
On Good Governance, we encourage citizens to engage with duty bearers: participation of citizens in all assembly meetings and town hall meetings.
We work at the grassroots: community level, district level and national level as well as the international partners. An example is the FP2020.
Challenges
There are many communities we could not reach due to financial constraints. We are currently working on a Gils Advocacy Alliance (GAA) project (2016-2020) in the Bekwai Municipality in the Ashanti Region with the primary focus on ending Child Marriage, Sexual Violence and Abuse, example, domestic violence, verbal abuse, sexual abuse mostly caused by close relatives, ending Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) and promoting access to Technical Vocational and Educational Training (TVET) and decent employment opportunities for girls and women in Ghana.

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