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The alarming rate of child marriage, teenage pregnancies and spread of sexual transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV and AIDS in the Northern Region of Ghana is increasingly posing a threat to the development of young people in the region.

“Majority of young girls especially are forced to drop out of school and given into marriages. Also, teenage and unwanted pregnancies and sexual infections among young people pose a serious threat to human resource in Ghana”, Yussif Abdul-Mumim, the Executive Director for United Force for Development International (UF4D), a youth-led local organization based in Ghana said.

The UF4D is working closely with community-based structures to contribute towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Ghana. The organization’s thematic area focuses on health, nutrition, education, environment, sanitation, agriculture, youth empowerment and good governance. It is achieving these through sensitization, advocacy and skills development.

Worried about the rate of forced marriages, teenage pregnancy, unsafe abortions, UF4D has taken campaign against early and forced marriages to the doorsteps of young people. UF4D provide enough information about the negative impact of forced and early marriages to the lives of young people. The campaign aimed to contribute to the reduction of forced and early marriages and sexual risky behaviours among young people in Northern Region.

“That is why UF4D has taken comprehensive sexuality education to basic schools in the Tamale Metropolis. We need to provide comprehensive sexuality education and information to young people to help them make informed decisions to avoid risky behaviours”, Yussif Abdul-Mumin said.

Aside holding school-based comprehensive sexuality forum, UF4D in the coming days will mount community-based SRHR campaigns coupled with the planned radio advocacy on SRHR.

“The health of young people is critical to national development. We need to give priority attention to this”, he added.

UF4D hopes to receive partnership from both local and international organizations including the government of Ghana to scale up its SRHR campaign to other parts of the region where teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions are high.

Sofar over 14 school-based SRHR fora has been held within schools in the Tamale Metropolis. He encouraged teachers and school authorities to support the campaign, “the only to ensuring our young people transitioning to higher learning institutions”.