The Volta Region branch of the Department of Gender, under the auspices of the Volta Regional Coordinating Council (VRCC), with support from the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA), has organised a two-day Gender Equality Males (GEMS) empowerment school for males in Ho.
The GEMS, which had educated 30 in-school adolescent boys and 30 men from identified male groups from the Keta Municipality, Akatsi-North District, Central Tongu District, North Dayi District, and South-Dayi District to educate them to understand the importance of Gender Equality, and also impact the members of the community on the new knowledge acquired.
Speaking on the theme: “Action for Gender Equality, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: Men and Boys as Key Partners,” the Volta Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Letsa, commended the Regional Director of Gender for her hard work and dedication to ensuring that gender equality would become a reality, and removed gender-based violence and child marriages from the region.
Dr. Letsa said the VRCC had noted with satisfaction efforts being made by the Department of Gender in the region to deepen education on gender equality, and called on the beneficiary boys and men to take their lessons within the short period more seriously to enable them to also educate others on gender equality in their respective schools and communities.
He was confident that the programme would help educate the males on child marriage and adolescent reproductive health issues, which would empower them to appreciate the need to uphold gender roles in society, and help to reduce teenage pregnancy cases.
According to him, the programme would prepare the males adequately to bring positive change on gender issues, and help to improve on adolescent reproductive health issues that would help eliminate child marriage in the society, and would enable the participants to become more responsible in building a healthy society.
Dr. Letsa observed that after the programme the boys and men would understand the need not to be violent towards girls and women, which occurred in the past as a result of ignorant of the complementary roles that gender could play to ensure a peaceful society, which would help them to promote human rights across gender to reduce gender-based violence in the region.
He noted that when adolescents engaged in sexual activities, it would definitely affect their development, particularly their education, since they could be infected with sexually transmitted diseases, or would become pregnant in the process, which would have negative effects on their future.
Dr. Letsa said much as the government was committed to ensuring gender equality by the year 2030 to protect the vulnerable groups in society, it was important for people to take up issues on gender equality more seriously, and added that all should support efforts being made to create awareness on gender equality in the region.
The Volta Regional Director of Education, Mr. Francis Agbemadi, said it was apt that education on reproductive health, gender, the need to prevent child marriage, and sexual education was not directed to girls and women alone and involved boys and men, which would go a long way to remove negative perception on gender in the society.
Mr. Agbemadi continued that education on gender equality would definitely help to bring the needed change to society, and stressed that his outfit would collaborate with the Girls Education Unit to effectively facilitate education on gender and gender-based violence in schools.
The Volta Regional Director of the Department of Gender, Mrs. Thywill Eyra Kpe, explained that her outfit brought both men and boys together in similar education programme in the past, which was not effective because the boys could not express themselves before the men.
Mrs. Kpe continued that as a result, the programme for 2023 separated the boys from the men to ensure that the boys would effectively participate by expressing themselves to expose issues bothering them on gender and gender-based violence in their respective communities.