Author: Emelia Naa Ayeley Aryee || Freelance Journalist

In a remarkable sign towards amplifying children’s voices and promoting gender equality, Plan International Ghana, in collaboration with the North East Regional Department of Children, have inaugurated the West Mamprusi Children’s Parliament.

This initiative is tailored to provide a platform for younger children to engage in meaningful discussions on pressing issues, advocate for children’s rights, and develop essential skills in public speaking and assertiveness.

The Children’s Parliament falls under Plan International Ghana’s Thrive Programme being implemented in 15 sponsorship communities in West Mamprusi Municipality of the North East Region.

The inaugural event, held at the Walewale Sports Stadium on March 21, 2024, witnessed a remarkable turnout of 200 school children, comprising 120 girls and 80 boys.

Central to the Parliament’s agenda was the deliberation on teenage pregnancy, a prevalent issue eroding girls’ rights and hindering their development prospects.

During the session, the ‘young parliamentarians’ defined teenage pregnancy, highlighted its detrimental effects on children, especially girls, and proposed pragmatic solutions.

Significantly, they emphasized the need for parents and guardians not to force their girl child into early marriage due to teenage pregnancy.

Also, for parents and guardians to take full responsibility for caring for children and providing their needs.

According to the children, most girls who fall prey to teenage pregnancy are those who depend on men for survival due to parental neglect.

The West Mamprusi Children’s Parliament collectively called on the Government to completely eliminate taxes on all sanitary pads, as their expensive nature is a contributing factor to teenage pregnancy.

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Additionally, they urged the Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Protection to deepen interventions targeting children in rural areas to equally develop their potentials, just as children in urban areas.

The discussions at the West Mamprusi Children’s Parliament underscored the alignment of their efforts with the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which aim to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality, and address climate change by 2030.

Addressing the Parliament, Constant Tchona, the Country Director of Plan International Ghana, commended the children for their insightful contributions and urged them to remain steadfast in their pursuit of positive change.

Constant Tchona reiterated Plan International Ghana’s commitment to supporting children’s rights and encouraged them to leverage available resources to enhance their capabilities further.

The establishment of the West Mamprusi Children’s Parliament marks a significant milestone in advancing children’s participation and advocacy in Ghana.

As these young leaders continue to voice their concerns and champion rights, they serve as catalysts for transformative action within their communities and beyond.

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