Young girls in the Upper East Region have been empowered through soccer to stand for their rights and amplify efforts towards ending Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
This is the second year running the tournament has been organized and it was part of the commemoration of the 16 days of Activism against SGBV under the ENOUGH! Project with support from Oxfam Ghana, Women in Law and Development in Africa and sponsored by the European Union(EU).
Sexual and Gender Based Violence has been one of the major factors affecting the development of youth especially in the Region where statistics available at the regional office of the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit indicate that 65 and five cases of defilement were recorded in 2020 and the first quarter of 2021.
Also, data from the Ghana Health Service has also revealed that the region recorded 6,533 cases of teenage pregnancy in 2020 and 5,534 teenage pregnancies within the first 10 months of 2021.
Mr Awal Ahmed Kariama, Executive Director of RISE-Ghana, explained that the goal of the ENOUGH! project is to empower men, women, girls, and boys to take positive action to end SGBV in Ghana and other African countries.
He said, this among other forms of violence adversely affected young girls, hence, the Rural Initiatives for Self-Empowerment-Ghana (RISE-Ghana) to collaborate with the Regional Football Association to organize the football gala for female clubs in the region to drum home the need to end SGBV.
He said the incessant increase in cases of teenage pregnancies, rape, defilement, and assault among others had led to school drop-out rates and added that it was affecting the development of young people especially girls.
Mr Kariam said efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals would not yield positive results if stakeholders did not collectively work to end the menace and promote gender equality equity and empowerment.
“The gala is therefore meant to build the confidence of the young girls, provide them with the needed sexual and reproductive health education to enable them to make informed decisions regarding their sexual life and stand against abuses”. He stated.
Mr Salifu Shaibu Zida, Regional Chairman of the Football Association, noted that SGBV had no place in the footballing world and applauded the collaboration to employ football to fight the canker.
He admonished the girls to be disciplined and focus on their careers to succeed.
Mr Iddrisu Ahmed, Regional Director of the National Sports Authority(NSA) urged the girls to pass the knowledge acquired through the project to their colleagues to help end the phenomenon.
In all, eight female clubs across the region participated in the gala.
They are Bolga All Stars Ladies (champions), Sumbrungu Ladies, Zono Ladies, Builsa Ladies, Sharp Arrows, Achula Princesses, Save the Frogs Ladies, and Zorko United Ladies.