The St. Teresa’s College of Education Hohoe, together with selected schools in the Hohoe Municipality marked this year’s International Day for the Girl Child in the Bishop Konings’s Hall, St Teresa’s College of Education, Hohoe. The day is celebrated on the 11th of October each year to educate and remind the general public on the issues concerning the Girl Child. This year’s celebration was on the theme: “Our Time Is Now, Our Rights, Our Future.” The occasion was marked with route march through the principal streets of Hohoe and speeches on Sexual Harassment, Adolescent and Reproductive Health.
Delivering her welcome address, the Principal of St. Teresa’s College of Education, Hohoe, Ms. Sophia Adjoa Micah said that the celebration of the day was to create awareness about issues concerning girls and how girls could be supported to develop their potentials so they could contribute effectively to national development and development of the world at large.
She observed that for a long time, girls and for that matter, females have been considered as 2nd class material and were not capable of excelling in what they do. It was important that right from the young age, the girl is made aware of who she is, what she can do, the various opportunities available and how to develop her potential.
Ms. Sophia Adjoa Micah stressed on there need to make the girl aware of the possible challenges she may encounter and empower her to take the right decisions that will make a positive impact on her future. The theme for this year “Our Time Is Now, Our Rights, Our Future” she noted, was therefore in order and timely. She called on all stakeholders in education to acknowledge and appreciate the girl-child and support them to grow and develop into responsible women.
Ms. Felicia Newman-Naami, the Gender Champion (Officer in charge of Gender issues) in St. Teresa’s College of Education, Hohoe delivered a speech on “Sexual harassment, Rights and Responsibilities of the Girl Child.” She took participants through Hostile Environment Harassment, Quid Pro Quo and Retaliation as types of sexual harassment and advised girls to protect themselves against sexual harassment. She called on girls to take notes of males and adults who engage them in unnecessary and unwanted nicknames such as sweetie, baby girlfriend wife, unnecessary and unwanted touching, pinching, messaging, hugging, brushing up of a person’s body, sexually explicit jokes and sexually suggestive stares/gestures and sounds. According to her, perpetuators of sexual harassment normally lure the girls and sexually harassment them by engaging them in the above mentioned things. She called on them to resist any attempt from anyone who wants to take advantage of them and harass them sexually. She advised girls not to hug their teachers (both male and female) unnecessarily because it would send a negative signal to those who donot have good intention to them as children.
Ms. Felicia Neman Naami called on girls not to post nude pictures of themselves on social media, they should always dress properly and not show their private and vital parts. She advised girls not to shield anyone who harass them sexually. She cautioned girls to stay away from males who send them sexually implicit signals.
Speaking on “Adolescent Reproductive Health,” Ms. Sally Diviner Adzaku, the Guidance and Counseling Coordinator of St. Teresa’s College of Education, Hohoe called on the girls to take care of themselves, stay away from sex and concentrate on their education. She educated them on their rights, which included right to education, right to health care, right to gender equality, right to say “NO” to early marriage among others. She advised girls to report any issue of forceful marriage, rape by even family members and others to their parents, Guidance and Counseling Coordinators, Girl Guide Coordinators and if possible, to the police for redress. She mentioned adolescent pregnancy, unsafe abortion and its complications and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STIs) as some of the consequences of unprotected sex.
Personnel from MTN Ghana, sponsors of the Programme, used the opportunity to educate participants on Momo and internet Fraud and advised them to be wary of activities of fraudsters.
In his closing remarks, the Chairman for the occasion, Mr. John-Newton Kumi, a Senior Tutor and STS Coordinator of St. Teresa’s College of Education, Hohoe as well as the National Vice President, CETAG Ghana, called on the need for Girls to be supported and protected. He advised the Girls to use the opportunity they had in School to build their future. He advised them not to shield anyone who harass them sexually.
The schools that partnered St. Teresa’s College of Education to mark the day were, Hohoe E.P Senior High School (HEPSS), St. Teresa’s College Demonstration J.H.S, St. Francis College Demonstration J.H.S and Kpeme High M.A J.H.S. The pupils were accompanied by their teachers and the Girl-Child Coordinator of the Hohoe Municipal Education Directorate, madam Yayra Afadzinu. Some Members of Staff as well as members of the Gender Club and Girl Guide of the College were also present at the celebration.
Story compiled by:
Thaddeus Danquah Kokobina
Snr. Tutor & Public Relations Officer
St. Teresa’s College of Education, Hohoe