Parental irresponsibility, poverty and some traditional beliefs of the people in the Talensi District of the Upper East region are causing an alarming rate of teenage pregnancy in the area.
The district recorded 24 pregnancies among basic school children in the 2012-2013 academic year; a situation that forced 80 per cent of them to marry their culprits to prevent giving birth out of wedlock.
For the 2014/2015 academic year, a total of 54 students who sat for the Basic Education Certificate Examination were pregnant, figures from the Talensi District Assembly and the Ghana Education Service have shown.
The situation has assumed an alarming rate that both the teenagers and the authorities in the district are worried in view of the fact that teenage pregnancies and forced marriages are curtailing the education of young girls in the area.
Some teenagers in the area have thus taken a bold decision to ward men off their lives. They have also issued warning to their parents to desist from marrying them out in their teens.
At this year’s Girls Education Week Celebration in the Tongo, the young girls pledged to stay away from relationships that have the potential to lead to teenage pregnancy.
The Talensi District officer in charge of Girl Child Education, Mollydean Zeng Buntuya expressed her dissatisfaction at the pervasiveness of the issue and proposed that a shelter home is built to house girls with of gender abuse.
She explained such home would help shield girls from abuse that will ultimately contribute to reducing the high rate teenage pregnancies and forced child marriages.
She urged parents to be responsible and shun traditional practices and beliefs that expose their young girls to child marriages
The Paramount chief of the Talensi Traditional area Kubilsong Nalebik Tang also warned parents and sub chiefs under his traditional area that he would not tolerate the canker
He said he would not hesitate in meting out severe punishment, both traditional way and court actions, against culprits.
Meanwhile, the schoolgirls have commended the paramount chief and Link Community Development for bringing back hope into them.
By Ibrahim Tanko|tv3network.com|Ghana