Sekondi, July 01, GNA – Mrs Elizabeth Arthur, a statistician at the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) on Friday said there was the need to turn attention to the social and human development of society.
She said, though infrastructure development was good, the human development component was very imperative in achieving a holistic society.
Mrs Arthur, who is a project team member of the Twin-Cities in Sustainable Partnership Project (TCSPP) being implemented by the STMA, was speaking during a day’s engagement with some selected media houses on the campaign for Youth-oriented and Gender Sensitive Issues in the Metropolis.
Issues of teenage pregnancy and gender-based violence, as well as other social welfare-related challenges, have been identified as some key debilitating factors affecting the social and human development of the Metropolis.
The Project Team Member said ‘’for us to develop as a metropolis, we should not only look at the economic aspects, we should not only look at the infrastructure aspects, but the human aspect is also important’.
She noted how a strong social fibre was needed to curb the increase in teenage pregnancies, truancies, and other gender-based violence issues in helping to shape and develop the human resources of the Metropolis and the country.
Mrs Arthur described the media as a powerful community, with the necessary societal influence to help reorient citizens to cause the needed change in human development.
She indicated that the event was one of many engagements that would be held every quarter under the TCSSP project to create awareness and mobilise support from partners including media, traditional leaders, school authorities, market women, religious leaders, parents, children, and others to curb such social challenges in the Metropolis.
Meanwhile, statistics from the Metropolitan Directorate of Education showed increased cases of teenage pregnancies between 2021 and 2022. While 2021 recorded 26 in-school pregnancies for Basic School children, 2022 had 28 cases of pregnancies. The Senior High Schools recorded increased rates for both pregnancies and school dropout.
Mrs Sally Nelly Coleman, the Metropolitan Director of Education revealed how countless young girls have been lured into bed by unscrupulous men in the name of buying sanitary pads and providing other basic needs.
Mrs Coleman therefore reminded parents to be mindful of their Godly responsibility to raise socially accepted characters with potential to contribute to the socio-economic development of their communities.
She said today’s children are the future leaders of the country and hence the need to give them the needed assistance to help them realize their full potential.
Mrs Setina Aboagye, the Western Regional Officer for DOVVSU noted how defilement and other abuse cases were on the rise particularly during festive seasons.
She said abuse cases have always prevented the victim’s proper growth and development and the need to work together as society to end the menace.
She also encouraged rape or defilement victims not or clean-up before reporting the incident to the law enforcers to aid in the gathering of evidence.
“We are interested in the torn panties, beads and other blood signs…bathing before coming to the police cleans up all this evidence and makes prosecution sometimes difficult”.
In the meantime, the participating media houses pledged to use their outlet to promote such socially oriented programmes to cause the desired change in society.
The media also called for tailor-made education for boys and men who are the causative agents in teenage pregnancies and some abuse cases.
Ms. Nana Adjoa Assifuah a participant at the event, encouraged men to genuinely assist the girlchild without any sexual gains.
She said, ” Men should bear in mind that supporting the girl child to realize their potentials was helping to end poverty and ensuring improved lives for everyone ”
The TCSPP is a 3-year project funded by the European Union to support in strengthening urban governance as a precondition in addressing challenges of urbanization such as urban sprawl, climate change and inadequate social safety nets for vulnerable populations within the Metropolis.
The project, which began in January 2022, is being implemented in collaboration with the Municipality of Palermo in Italy and other local and international partners.