Young people urged to be courageous to report SGBV cases

Participants at this year’s Northern Ghana Sexual Reproductive Health Right (SRHR) Conference for Young People (NORGHA) have been urged to be courageous to report all forms of Sexuality and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) perpetrated against them.
Mr Alhassan Mohammed Awal, Executive Director of Norsaac, a civil society organisation, who made the call, told the participants not to be afraid since the perpetrators could never be more powerful than them
‘The perpetrator can never be wiser than you. So, to inflict pains on you and ask that you should not tell any of your parents, and that you should not report; that cannot be true.’
Mr Awal, who was speaking during the closing session of NORGHA in Tamale, added that ‘We should be bold to report cases not just to Norsaac but to state institutions having that responsibility of protecting you.’
The NORGHA, which was a four-day conference, organised by Norsaac, and its partners, was attended by over 400 young people and women drawn from the Northern, North East, Savannah, Upper East and Upper West regions,
It sought to bring to bear some of the practical concerns pertaining to SRHR to enable national decision-makers to make informed policies on SRHR for individuals.
It was to provide a secure environment for young people to freely share their opinions on issues pertaining to their SRHR and establish a forum where all participants can talk about their concerns related to SRHR without fear or threats.
Mr Awal said even though Norsaac had empowered over 100,000 young people in the northern part of the country, the organisation continued to receive at least a case of SGBV each day against young people and women.
He told the participants that ‘You may be giving up because you have reported SGBV cases to state agencies and they have not acted professionally. Do not give up. The institutions are many. Continue to involve as many actors as possible.
‘It can be time consuming. You may be asked to produce medical reports and many others. Let us endure. If we do not go through these processes, our perpetrators celebrate, and they are motivated to inflict more pain on us. We can’t accept that.’
He urged the participants to be agents of change, saying ‘You can be the representative of Norsaac in your community. Why not mobilise your colleagues to engage your chiefs, your Imams and other stakeholders in your community to demand improvement in the conditions of our young people. Try to have that motivation and continue to protect your colleagues.’
Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu, Northern Regional Minister, whose speech was read on his behalf, said the prevalence of SGBV, particularly against women and girls, remained a scar on the conscience of society.
‘This abominable act continues to persist at intolerable levels demanding our immediate action.’
Alhaji Saibu said the government was committed to partnering CSOs to tackle the pressing challenges head-on and ensure the safety and dignity of all citizens.
He lauded the NORGHA initiative, saying it had played transformative role in empowering the youth with knowledge and rights associated with SRHR, which would significantly reduce teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions, SGBV cases, and an array of other issues that had cast shadows on the region.
Some of the participants who shared their experiences said the NORGHA had empowered them to be resilient in the face of adversity and be one another’s keeper to ensure safe spaces for them in society towards their well-being.
Meanwhile, the participants presented a communiqué from the conference to President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo through the representative of the Regional Minister demanding the immediate implementation of the Reproductive Health Education (RHE) National Guidelines to provide comprehensive RHE for all young people in the country.

Source: Ghana News Agency