The rights and wellbeing of adolescent girls in Ghana were given a boost today as UNICEF and the Korean International Cooperation Agency - KOICA - committed to a three-year partnership which seeks to address the inequities currently facing thousands of young girls in Ghana.
The three-year programme called 'A Better Life for Girls in Ghana' promises to address existing issues of gender stereotypes and social norms which disproportionally impact the development of girls. In particular the programme aims to provide a holistic development for and with girls and will address underlying issues of negative consequences affecting girls in particular.
Korean Ambassador H.E Ambassador Sungsoo Kim said: "Through this collaboration, our broad main goal is to reduce the current worrying trend of child marriage in Ghana. We jointly expect to improve the life of our adolescent girls by keeping them in school as well as broadening their horizon on entrepreneurial opportunities and financial literacy".
UNICEF Ghana Representative Susan Namondo Ngongi said: "UNICEF is delighted to be partnering with KOICA on this very important programme – not just the adolescent girls at which this programme is aimed but for a more inclusive development of Ghana where adolescent boys and girls will be at the heart of development.
"Girls aged between 12 and 19 are in a very precious and critical phase of their development which can profoundly influence a girl's future potential.During this key time of transition from girlhood to womanhood, we want to ensure that girls in Ghana are given a fair chance to thrive in a safe and welcoming environment and are given a chance to realise their full potential."
KOICA Country Director, Mr. Woochan Chang said: "I wish to assure that both UNICEF and KOICA will continue to actively participate and collaborate with the Government of Ghana, and especially for this Project. The hope is that this project will contribute to the successful implementation of the "National Strategic Framework on Ending Child Marriage in Ghana", which will be launched next week by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection."
Research shows that poverty disproportionately affects adolescent girls in many parts of Ghana who face distinct challenges, including greater risk of sexual violence, more chance of being married before they are 18, and less likely to complete their schooling. Adolescence is also a time when gender roles for girls become more entrenched and gender discrimination can have a detrimental impact on girls which can often determine the trajectory of a girl's life.
It is hoped that the three-year engagement between KOICA and UNICEF in Ghana will provide a more enabling and empowering environment for adolescent girls in Ghana to access their opportunities, and to provide a fairer society for girls across Ghana.