The Agoo SHE+ Platform makes access to information easy
As part of efforts to an create enabling environment for young people to access information and services on reproductive health, the Agoo SHE + platform provides young people the opportunity to directly interact with a professional in the area of health, counseling services and social services.
The platform helps break the barriers that young people face with regards to accessing information and services
Abida Issah, 16 years is the Girls’ Prefect at Kumbungu Secondary School. She heard about the platform in 2018 when she was in junior high school from her teacher.
According to Catherine Nuertey, Call Center Manager at the Agoo SHE+ centre, the platform is important because most of the young people get to talk to someone and also helps them get access to information.
“We respond to calls from young people on the reproductive health, attend to rape cases, child marriage issues, defilement and sexually transmitted infection (STIs) cases on a daily basis. We also offer counseling and referral services as well. In the case of health, we refer cases to the hospital, in the case of violence or abuse, we refer to social welfare or the domestic violence and Victim Support unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service or a Psychologist. In a day, we receive about 20 calls,” she said.
Agoo SHE+ Platform benefit during COVID-19 pandemic
“I called the platform twice and I wanted to hear about adolescent girls and when COVID-19 happened I called again in 2020. I have learned so much about me, as an adolescent and why early marriage is not advisable, but rather completing my education is the best way,” said Abida, 16.
She added, “During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were having an argument in our class, some of our colleagues said there is no COVID- 19 virus, others said that there is, so I decided to call the helpline for information. I asked it helpline attendant if the virus was real. I had enough information to educate my friend from that one call since I was taught how to wash my hands under running water, use sanitizers and nose mask. The platform is very beneficial and as a young person, I can access information on the least problem that I face.”
Teenage Pregnancy on Kumbungu district
According to Rahana Mohammed, Project Manager, Agoo SHE+ Helpline, “There are lots of challenges young people face when it comes to access to reproductive health information and services. Agoo SHE+ platform makes it easy for young people to reach out to a health professional counselor or social worker. It helps to make access to services easy, as young people will not have to deal with stigma and unfriendly services.”
Abdul-Hafiz Alabani, is the Acting District Director of the National Youth Authority in Kumbungu district, has been involved in promoting the Agoo SHE+ platform in the district.
“Teenage pregnancy in Kumbungu district is very high since the year 2019 to 2021. From January to June 2021 alone, there were 363 teenage pregnancies in the district. Due to these high figures, the National Youth Authority partnered with Savannah signatures to sensitize 3 schools on teenage pregnancies and child marriage. The Agoo SHE+ platform was introduced to the girls. I like the platform a lot because it educates young people about their reproductive health and the need to avoid early child marriage,” He said.
Abida, is happy to have a platform like the Agoo SHE+, which she can turn to, when she needs information. She hopes that all young people will have access to this platform to be able to make informed decision.
“I feel very bad when I hear of teenage pregnancies because people insult the girls as if they are thieves within the community. If all girls receive information the way I did on a platform, it will help them to make informed choices and to know about their life and their future. I like the programs on the platform and especially the counseling programs and also the short scenarios that talk about a girl being pregnant and being abandoned by the boyfriend,” said Abida.
Agoo SHE+ is supported by Global Affairs Canada and UNICEF.