Jonta launch news
In a bid to support the efforts of the First Lady in reducing teenage pregnancy, the Wife of the Vice President Mrs. Jonta Mummy Foh has launched the project
͚͛Advocacy on Enhanced Completion of Schooling for all Vulnerable Girls
with the theme
No Belleh Before and After BECE.
The Launching ceremony took place at the Bank Complex Kingtom. Kojo Kwafo Reports
Launching the project the First Lady Sia Nyama Koroma says that the initiative is close to her heart and commended Mrs. Foh, the Ministry of Education and development partners for their collaboration.
In 2013 the First Lady launched the Government of Sierra Leone National Strategy for the Reduction of Teenage pregnancy (2013-2015) under the let girls be girls not mothers initiative.
The First Lady called on the inter-ministerial government committee and development partners involved in the assessment of the strategy to ask teenage girls questions such as; how they came to be pregnant, whether the persons responsible for their pregnancy are within their peer groups or much older, was their
pregnancy by mutual consent, as a result of rape or inability to access family planning and what have they done with their lives after pregnancy.
The responses to these questions will throw light on this nagging issue thereby allowing us to understand the root causes of teenage pregnancy and position all of us, stakeholders, to deal with the problem. Through this initiative, we will all be able to motivate adolescent girls to prioritize education by focusing on their studies and attaining good results that will enable them to enter college and complete their tertiary
education. Teenage mothers will also be given the opportunity to return to school and complete their education.) The First Lady recognised the efforts made by national organisations especially women͛s groups and local communities in advocating for teenage mothers return to school. (I would like to urge all stakeholders present here today to include in the implementation of this initiative. I therefore take this opportunity to launch the Advocacy on Enhanced Completion of Schooling for all vulnerable girls project
to be known commonly as
͚NO BELLEH BEFORE AND AFTER BECE INITIATIVE.
I wish Mrs. JONTA FOH and development partners tremendous success in its implementation. I would like to assure all of you of my full support of this project which incidentally, falls within the ambit of my unrelenting efforts to reduce maternal mortality. In her keynote address the Wife of the Vice President Mrs. Jonta Foh says the day marks an important milestone in her vision for girls in Sierra Leone. She acknowledged that the subject and focus of the campaign is not new but that she is joining the fight with a
new energy that will complement the collective efforts of all for a better result.
(Available statistics indicate that one in every six girls in Sierra Leone will attend high school and the completion rate even lower. A girl born in Sierra Leone is more likely to be sexually assaulted than she is to attend high school. When a girl is educated, her life survival changes and opportunities increase dramatically. Marriage is postponed and they are left with the beauty of having smaller and healthier families.) Mrs. Foh called on all to cascade the message down in their respective communities saying that it is unacceptable to take advantage of a vulnerable girl and deny her the joy and experience of childhood. (Let girls be girls! Promote their rights to complete education! Give them space in your family agenda as parents. Even if you are a petty trader, bear in mind that allowing your girl child to stay and complete school, would be the greatest resource of your families and this nation as a whole.) During a conference on international day of the girl child organized by plan international the girls developed a position paper on how they want to see the power to the girl vision 2030 taken forward. Kadijatu Sesay a JSS 3 pupil of Saint Josephs Secondary highlighted some of the challenges faced by girls to achieve education. She mentioned forced marriage, violence, sexual exploitation and abuse, teenage pregnancy and lack of support, lack of WASH facilities, inadequate trained and qualified teachers.