KPANDAI, Ghana, 5 Feb 2018 - Four of Ghana’s best-known personalities joined UNICEF in the call for fairer chances for adolescent girls in Ghana, as they travelled to schools and communities in Ghana’s Northern Region.
Musicians, M.anifest, MzVee and Wiyaala, and sports broadcaster Gary al-Smith were part of a UNICEF delegation to meet adolescent girls and boys where they listened to their challenges, encouraged them in their ambitions – and promoted a healthier lifestyle.
There are approximately 5.5 million adolescents in Ghana and this population is likely to increase in the next few years. Several challenges affect adolescent girls, in particular. Research has found that one in five girls is married before her 18th birthday in Ghana. Nearly one in two of all adolescent girls aged between 15 and 19 years are anaemic and just over one in three girls aged 15-19 years reported to have experienced at least one act of sexual violence. Almost all adolescent girls sometimes miss school due to menstruation and half of all females aged between 15 and 24 years old do not engage in any form of physical exercise.
Anne-Claire Dufay, UNICEF Representative in Ghana said: “Adolescence is a crucial period of every child’s life and many young girls can feel vulnerable as they transition from childhood to adulthood. The opportunities that girls are offered, and the support they are given can play a vital role in their chances of success in the future. It is essential to give every girl the best start as she enters into adulthood.”
With the support of the Korean International Co-operation Agency (KOICA), UNICEF is working to address many of these challenges facing adolescent girls in Ghana. This includes enabling more adolescent girls to stay in school at junior and senior high level, through a variety of ways, including support for teenage mothers, the provision of iron folic supplements to tackle anemia and educating girls and boys about dignified menstrual hygiene management.
During the visit musician Wiyaala spoke of her passion for visiting the school children and communities: “I come from a town with very few opportunities for young people to make it in life, but I was able to break through and have a successful career. I want to take advantage of this to ensure that children have someone they can look up to and a chance to succeed in life.”
Rapper and singer-songwriter M.anifest shared his thoughts as he said: “Every child deserves to have a great childhood. The opportunity to meet these young people enables me to better understand how change in their lives actually can take place.”
“Gender inequality is a critical area that we have to work hard to tackle. With my influence on a lot of boys through sports, I hope to empower girls as well to be just as confident - if not even more." Gary Al-Smith.
Singer MzVee shared her enthusiasm at being part of the delegation: “To have an opportunity to collaborate with UNICEF and work to empower every girl is amazing. I’m doing this in the hope that in a few months or years, girls in Ghana would have a better life than they do now.”
Celebrities share messages of empowerment and encouragement with adolescent girls and boys - short fim
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.