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General News of Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Source: ghananewsagency.org

National FBOs Conference on sex education opens in Accra

A three-day national conference engaging Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) to elicit their advocacy and support as key stakeholders in Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and Demographic Transition, has opened in Accra. Put together by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, it is being attended by faith leaders across the country.

The goal is to seek partnership with the religious leaders as well as provide sensitisation to sharpen their knowledge on how they could bring their clout in society to bear in removing the barriers impeding the growth of women and girls, by way of improving access to CSE.

It is receiving funding from the Global Affairs-Canada. Mr Niyi Ojuolape, Country Representative of the UNFPA, said the conference offered a platform for religious leaders to extensively discuss the “the power of choice”, theme for the conference, as part of efforts to achieve three main targets of the UNFPA - zero maternal deaths, unmet needs of Family planning and gender-based violence as well as harmful practices.

“The agency is committed to delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled”, he added

Mr Ojuolape expressed the view that envisaging the kind of future for 10 year olds by 2030 when the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are expected to end should determine the kind of interventions needed to nurture them. This, he said, required collaborative efforts from stakeholders including religious leaders who command enormous respect in their communities and congregations.

He said exposing adolescent girls from age 10 to CSE would them make know more about their bodies as they grow and also make informed choices that would guide them to grow into responsible adults. It is imperative to give such children the best of education, relate with them at the personal level to give them right information and inculcate in them right culture to make them responsible adults by 2030.

He expressed concern at the level of discrimination against girls as against their male counterparts and urged religious leaders to help reverse the trend to ensure equal opportunities for girls.

Mrs Heather Cameron, the Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, said FBOs and religious leaders have critical roles to play in dismantling barriers and creating enabling environment, opportunities and choices for young people. "As respected leaders in communities, your role is critical to help change social and cultural norms and ensure that human rights are respected," she said.

The occasion was also used to launch the 2018 state of the world population, a flagship programme of the UNFPA.