Stakeholders have been urged to be responsive to their respective roles on gender advocacy and guidance to nurture the youth to refrain from social vices such as illicit use of drugs and prostitution in order to ensure that they become responsible to themselves, their family and the society. The call was made by Madam Elizabeth Arthur, officer in-charge of Monitoring and Evaluation for the Twin-Cities in Sustainable Partnership Project (TCSPP) at the first stakeholders’ sensitization programme on Community Campaigns Targeting Youth-Oriented and Gender Topics held in Sekondi.

Madam Arthur in her presentation stated that leaders in each community obviously know the specific issues confronting their youth especially women and children and therefore would have to collaborate with the TCSPP Team to devise targeted approach to address some of the challenges through the TCSPP. As part of the Community Campaigns on Youth-Oriented and Gender Issues, Madam Elizabeth Arthur noted that the TCSPP Team will visits the communities with resource persons to address issues of irregular migration, child prostitution, gender-based violence, adolescent reproductive health, inclusive education, human rights, HIV/ AIDS and teenage pregnancy.

The one-day training programme was organized for elected Assembly Members, Traditional Leaders, Heads of Institutions, Opinion Leaders, Leaders of Youth groups, Journalists, Religious Leaders, Non-Governmental and Community Based Organizations. Resource persons from the Ghana Health Service, Department of Social Welfare & Community Development and Life Relief Foundation (an NGO) took the participants through topics on Illicit use of drugs & Teenage pregnancy, Child prostitution and Gender-Based violence in the Metropolis respectively.

In his welcome address, the TCSPP coordinator, Mr. Isaac Aidoo noted that Sekondi-Takoradi is currently grappling with the issues of child prostitution, teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections/ diseases. He added that transactional sex is being used to bait children from poor households resulting in high rate of school drop-outs among the youth with no employable skills. “This deprives the teenage mothers’ opportunity to increase their knowledge base, skills and capacity to work and earn income to exit poverty. Issues of domestic and gender-based violence do not help citizens to attain their desired standards of living. In view of this, conscious efforts needed to be made to ensure that ‘gender gap in planning’ is reduced and the concerns and aspirations of women, teenage mothers and children are integrated into the planning process” Mr. Aidoo said.

The Twin-Cities in Sustainable Partnership Project (TCSPP) is a 3-year project being implemented in the cities of Sekondi-Takoradi (Ghana) and Palermo (Italy) funded by the European Union (EU). It is being implemented under the EU’s “Local Authorities: Partnerships for Sustainable Cities Programme” launched in 2019. The overall objective of the project is to promote a Sustainable and Integrated Urban Development in the two cities. The Project is expected to contributes to enhancing urban management by addressing challenges such as urban sprawl, climate change, poverty and exclusion.