Stop 295 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School

by Self-Help International
Stop 295 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 295 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 295 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 295 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 295 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 295 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 295 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 295 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 295 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 295 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 295 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 295 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 295 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 295 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School

When 14-year-old Pamela received admission into the Barekese Senior High School, her joy knew no bounds.

Pamela is a former student of the Bedabour District Assembly Basic School, where she participated in and graduated from the Self-Help International Teen Girls Club. She successfully passed her Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE), scoring an impressive aggregate of 21, which is a rare feat for children from schools in the rural parts of Ghana. 

Her incredible performance paved the way for her to pursue higher education. However, her joy was overshadowed by the inability of her parents to acquire all the items specified on her admission letter to the school.

Realizing Pamela’s predicament, Self-Help International went to her rescue by providing her with items worth over 1,000 Ghana cedis to enable her to make good use of the opportunity granted to her by the school. 

These items included a metallic trunk, a suitcase, a mattress and pillow, school sandals, bathroom slippers, a pair of shoes, a bucket and other items specified by the school.

Pamela expressed gratitude to Self-Help International for the assistance rendered to her saying she had no hope of getting assistance anywhere if the organization had not come to her rescue.

Now a first year student at her school, Pamela says that what she learnt as a member of the teen girls club is benefiting her now. “I have learnt to be disciplined and also developed a high self esteem. In addition, I have acquired good social skills which have made other students at the school to admire me and seek my friendship.”

Pamala also said that the money management skills that she was taught at the club have enabled her to be very prudent with how she spends her pocket money (stipend) by not buying unnecessary items, which has made her stay at the school smooth.

Thank you for investing in the futures of girls such as Pamela. Your donations support after school programming in reading to support academic success, life skills such as money management, and stakeholder support in exceptional circumstances such as Pamela’s to ensure that girls who have earned a place in high school are able to take their rightful place in the classroom and continue their academic pursuits.


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Ama took part in an SHI Health Screening Exercise
Ama took part in an SHI Health Screening Exercise

Ama, a farmer of about 45 years old and mother of one at Beposo in the Ashanti Region of Ghana went about her daily farming activities without an inkling of her poor state of health until she participated in  a health screening exercise organized by Self-Help International in conjunction with the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) at her community in December last year.

Ama, who has never undertaken a medical examination in her adult life, was shocked when the screening exercise uncovered her blood pressure was  high. She had been suffering from a high blood pressure in silence without the accompanying physical symptoms.

“I never knew I had high blood pressure because in the community in which I live, we never earn enough money to undertake medical examinations to know our state of health”.

"It is the presence of SHI in my community that has brought me the benefit of knowing my state of health and that my blood pressure is high," she said.

Following the outcome of the screening exercise, Ama was advised by the team to seek medical care to manage her blood pressure.

“I was asked to go and see a doctor. I had a National Health Insurance Card but no money to attend  hospital at the time. Eventually, it was the Health Insurance Card that I used to go to see a doctor for a medical examination,” Ama explained. 

“After the doctor examined me, he confirmed that my blood pressure is high and I told him it is the reason why I came to the hospital. Then he asked me how I knew my blood pressure was high and I told him it was uncovered during a health screening exercise in my community.”

“The doctor then provided me with medicine which he said I will be taking on a daily basis and I am to visit the hospital every month for my supply of the medicine. He said the medicine is to be taken continuously so I should always visit the hospital two days before the drugs are spent to avoid any breaks. Right now, I am on medication.”

“I am most grateful to Self-Help International because without their intervention, I would not have known that my blood pressure is high,” Ama said.

The health screening exercise which was organized by the Teen Girls Program is targeted at members of the Teen Girls club but was extended to include all members of the communities in which they operate since the wellbeing of the girls is ultimately tied to and determined by the wellbeing of their parents.

Grace Marfo, Team Lead of the Teen Girls Club, said the decision to target entire communities during screening exercises in communities that they work was due to a number of the club members experiencing a sudden loss of their parents which the management of the club perceives to be due to a lack of access to adequate medical care.

Hence, taking into consideration the impact that the  loss of a parent has on the welfare of the teen girls, the club found it necessary to include the entire community in their health screening exercise to reduce the incidence of preventable parental deaths in these communities.

Beposo was one of several communities that benefited from the health screening exercise. Other communities were Nkontomire, Bedabour, Kukuboso, and Timeabu. 

In all, a total of 481 community members were examined for various diseases during the health screening exercise during which the PPAG  also provided family planning services to 87 community members. 

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Gifty Receiving her Teen Girls Club Certificate
Gifty Receiving her Teen Girls Club Certificate

Gifty, a 17-year-old from Timeabu in the Ashanti Region of Ghana who graduated from Self-Help International's Teen Girls Club in November last year, is confident that the knowledge and skills she gained from the club is a lifetime asset.

Gifty was a member of the Teen Girls Club which is being run at the Timeabu Municipal Assembly Basic School for teenage girls by Self-Help International for six years; having joined the club when she was in class three and remained a member until she finished Junior High School.

Enumerating what she gained from being a member of the club, she said she learnt about her menstrual cycle from the club as well as how to take care of herself during her menstrual period.  She also received instructions on how to communicate politely with elders and people in authority and how to speak in public.

In addition, she  received instructions on how to answer questions effectively during exams and even had the chance to go over some of her lessons which she did not understand in class at the time that they were being taught at the club which enabled her to understand and get a firmer grasp on these lessons.

She said, “The instructions I received from the club were good and have become part of me since I have retained everything in my memory and I believe that as I move on to senior high school, this knowledge will still serve me in my day to day activities.”

At a graduation ceremony at the Ejisu Municipal Assembly in the Ashanti Region where Gifty was one of four girls who graduated from the Timeabu Municipal Assembly Basic School Teen Girls Club,  the club performed a drama to showcase the ill effects of teenage pregnancy and how it can be avoided.

The drama, which was part of a community service project by the club, was attended  by the Assistant Headmaster of the school, teachers,  workers from the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG)  and some members of the community. They were impressed by its teachings and agreed that there was the need to help teenage girls stay away from unwanted pregnancies.

In all, a total of 36 girls graduated from Self-Help International Teen Girls Clubs last year from five communities with 12 girls graduating from Bedabour, seven girls from  Kukuboso, nine girls from Nkontomire and four girls from Beposo. All the 36 girls were presented with certificates by the club.  They hope to further their education by enrolling into senior high schools but are presently awaiting placements into senior high schools by the Ghana Education Service. 

The total membership of the Teen Girls Clubs which presently stands at 306 with 81 being newly registered members is on the increase since registration of new members is still ongoing at the schools.

The presence of the clubs in these communities has brought immense benefits to  its members not only in terms of higher grades at the junior secondary school final examinations but has also boosted their confidence level and made them more assertive. 

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Self-Help International Teen Girls Club Motto
Self-Help International Teen Girls Club Motto

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday! If you make a gift through GlobalGiving tomorrow, November 29, Self-Help will earn a part of GlobalGiving's $1.2 million incentive fund, meaning your gift will have an even greater impact! Read the full terms and conditions here.

Many communities around the world have seen an increase in teenage pregnancy following the interruption of schools during the global pandemic. Ghana recorded over 100,000 cases of teenage pregnancies in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and associated school closures. 

At SHI, we witnessed an increase in teen pregnancies in our partner communities as well.  The Teen Girls Club supports young women to pursue formal and informal educational opportunities so they have options and are in a position to make choices about their own lives and futures. Teenage pregnancy can interrupt girls’ dreams for themselves and their futures, and often teenagers are not prepared physically, emotionally, or financially to become parents. 

In our quest to find a lasting solution to reduce teenage pregnancies, we have been working closely with various stakeholders within and outside the communities. This report shares ways we engaged the community and the outcomes of that engagement. Content warning: this post addresses sexual assault.

First of all, we talked with the girls to find out the root cause(s) of the rise in teen pregnancies. Based on their responses, we saw the need to meet with the women in their lives, in other words, their mothers. We organized meetings with  the mothers and discussed how puberty makes their daughters vulnerable, the kind of help the girls need from the women in their lives during this period, and how moms can provide such support.  

Then based on those discussions, it was clear we also needed to involve men and boys within the communities in the fight against teen pregnancy. We also observed that the majority of teen pregnancies involved girls below the age of 16, which makes it a defilement case, and the perpetrators should be subject to criminal action. We wondered why these perpetrators were not being reported, so we sought input from opinion leaders in various communities. It became clear that while people agreed that teenage pregnancy was a problem, most parents are afraid to involve the law since they didn't understand how the law works.

After meeting with these various stakeholder groups, Self-Help International organized community meetings with all stakeholders, and engaged the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) District Coordinator to educate the communities on how, where, and when to report issues of rape, defilement, and any violence against women and girls. The District Coordinator lamented how severe these issues are, shared the importance of reporting and the kind of punishment perpetrators may face. He answered questions posed by various community members. He closed the meeting by notifying the community that now that people are well aware of the laws and consequences, they have a responsibility to report defilement cases, and assured them that reporting would lead to investigation and swift action from the DOVVSU unit.

Lo and behold, a family from Bedabour has demonstrated enough courage to report a man in his early thirties for defiling a 14- year-old girl, who attends school at Bedabour D /A Basic School. When the DOVVSU District Coordinator learned of the allegations, he set his team to arrest the culprit without hesitation. The man confessed to the crime, and has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment with hard labor.

Self-Help has helped the young woman access needed services such as medical attention from a partner nonprofit that specializes in women’s healthcare, offered moral support for her courage to confide in her mother and report the case, and gave financial support to the family for the costs incurred at the police station in the reporting and investigation process. We are also assisting the family to access counseling services.

This action taken by the victim’s family has become a subject of discussion in the entire Bedabour and its surrounding communities.  It is clear that DOVVSU will take swift action when necessary.  It is hoped that witnessing the follow through by DOVVSU will deter others from committing such a crime, thereby decreasing the incidence of defilement cases and teenage pregnancies in the area. 

While we hope the cases reduce such that we are not called upon again, we stand ready to support young women as and when the need arises. 

In addition to core programming, gifts made to Self-Help International provide the funds, known as “stakeholder support” to address unanticipated community needs such as this one and to support families at vulnerable times.  Help us respond quickly when called upon by making a gift on GivingTuesday, November 29, 2022.


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Some months after Rebecca, a 10 year old girl living at Bedabour in the Ashanti Region of Ghana lost her mother and older sibling this year, she started attending school in a tattered uniform and worn out sandals while showing signs of malnutrition. 

It was obvious she was lacking the basic necessities of life due to the absence of her mother and older sibling who used to provide her with her needs. 

Consequently, the Teen Girls Club of SHI in Ghana to which Rebecca’s late older sister, Jennifer, had been a member stepped in to support her after noticing the deterioration in the quality of her life in the aftermath of her mother’s death. 

“We believe we will not have lost Jennifer if her mother had not died since she would have provided her with enough care and support during the illness that led to her death and she would have still been alive today”, says Bridget Gyamfi, Project Officer of the Teen Girls Club.

The Teen Girls Club  provided Rebecca with a new school uniform, school bag, sandals, shoes and undergarments. The leaders of the club also linked her with a school teacher in her community through whom they provide her with money for school on a daily basis to augment what she receives from home. In addition, one of the local coordinators of the club has stepped  in to  counsel, support and  nurture her to help her overcome her grief to enable her to move forward in life. 

The Teen Girls Club has as its mandate to encourage girls to remain in school and achieve higher academic laurels by educating them on pertinent issues such as health and nutrition and the dangers of teenage pregnancy which can put their education and ambitions in jeopardy. It also provides members with economic skills to help them to earn an income.   

In addition, the club provides needy members with sanitary pads and other personal hygiene items, supplies their basic needs when they gain admission into a higher institution of learning and supports them when they are sick or hospitalized. 

The support being given to members of the club is also aimed at protecting the girls from unscrupulous men who may take advantage of their lack of access to material and psychological support and lure them into promiscuous relationships.

Thus, in reaching out to Rebecca, the Teen Girls Club is carrying out its mission of helping to keep girls in school by providing them with their basic needs, keeping them comfortable in school  and protecting them from being taken advantage of. 

According to UNICEF reports, as at 2015, 52 million children in Africa had lost one or both parents (Unicef Orphans)

“An early loss of parents usually increases the probability of inadequate child care and worsens the family’s economic status”, writes Pamela Li, in her article “How Does The Death of a Parent Affect a Child”.

“The psychological  effects of losing a mother or a father during formative years are significant. Children who experience parental loss are at a higher risk for many negative outcomes including mental issues (e.g. depression, anxiety, somatic complaints, post traumatic stress symptoms), shorter schooling, less academic success, lower self esteem and more sexual risk behavior”,  ( How Does The Death Of A Parent Affect A Child).

A research article published by BMC Palliative Care confirms the above notion. In a study that reviewed the effects of support programs for parentally bereaved children, it noted that “the death of a parent is a highly stressful life event for bereaved children. Several studies have shown an increased risk of mental ill health and psychosocial  problems among affected children.”

The article goes on to say “While children at this time are in significant need of support, the inverse can happen because of changes in the family situation and family roles post bereavement. In some cases, the children’s remaining parent / caregivers are struggling with their own grief and may experience psychological difficulties themselves. As a result, it can be a challenge for them to provide sufficient support for the children” (  When a parent dies – a systematic review of the effects of support programs for parentally bereaved children and their caregivers | BMC Palliative Care)

This gesture is bound to have a significant positive impact on Rebecca’s life since according to the study on the effects of support programs for parentally bereaved children, even “relatively brief interventions may help prevent children from developing more severe problems, such as mental health problems and traumatic grief after the death of a parent” (When a parent dies – a systematic review of the effects of support programs for parentally bereaved children and their caregivers | BMC Palliative Care)

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Self-Help International

Location: Waverly, IA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @SelfHelpIntl
Project Leader:
Nora Tobin
Waverly , IA United States
$64,231 raised of $65,000 goal
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