Group photo of participants at the end of the program
The National Secretariat for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation has held its National Girls' Summit on the theme: Empowering Girls for a brighter tomorrow.
The event took place on Friday 18th October at the CHASL Conference Hall, Kingharman Road in Freetown.
Speaking during the program, the event coordinator Victor Karimu described the program as an eye opener for young boys and girls to understand their roles and responsibilities as they grow up.
Chairperson of the event Michaela Kargbo said that the thrust of the theme was to discuss issues and to proffer solutions. She noted that teenage pregnancy is a huge challenge on the African continent, adding that parents should endeavour to monitor their female children to understand how they are doing. She added that girls should focus on their studies and have content mind.
The Director of Gender in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs Charles stressed that girls should be girls and not mothers. He admonished young girls not to destroy their career paths, saying girls are more vulnerable in conflict situations, informing that his ministry has designed laws for the protection of women and girls.
He underlined that it is wrong for girls to be married before age 18, calling for teenage pregnancy to be condemned in Sierra Leone and perpetrators face the full force of the law.
Mr. Vandy said there was need for a comprehensive sexual education and urged girls to be aware of Sexually Reproductive Crimes.
A representative from Voluntary Services Oversea (VSO) Peter Koroma asked girls to always report sex related matters so as to get the much required education and protection. He added that girls should also be informed about the Child Rights Act.
Josephine Saidu of the Teenage Pregnancy Secretariat also emphasized on reproductive health education and called on girls to abstain from sex to avoid teenage pregnancy.
The Teenage Pregnancy Secretariat, according to her, exists to help people make informed decisions.
The discussion was facilitated by Youth Champions and the event graced by a cross section of schools in the Western Area and some participants drawn from the provinces. A question and answer session climaxed the discussions.