The United Nations Population Fund or UNFPA has raised serious concern about the high rate of teenage pregnancyin Liberia, noting that over the years, teenage pregnancy has dominated the country, especially among school-age children.
The UN agency blew the alarm Thursday, October 22, at the Ministry of Education when it presented a Toyota Land Crusher Jeep valued US$ 30,000 to the ministry as part of its commitment to buttressing the Government of Liberia’s efforts in the post-Ebola recovery plan.
UNFPA Country Representative, Dr. OluremiSogunro,said his office will continue to collaborate with the Education Ministry as partners in making sure its dreams are achieved. “We want tell our donors, and partners that Liberia is making progress in it recovery agenda”, he added.
Dr. Sogunro stressed teenage pregnancy in Liberia is something that should be given serious attention by relevant authorities because it damages the future of the children, especially young girls. “If you take a look at the present Millennium Development Goal or MDG, everything is focusing on child education; there is a need for them to be allowed in school, because the idea of sending your child to school is to acquire knowledge”, the UNFPA boss said.
He noted that not many parents went to school or are educated and that is one reason why they want their children to be in school to become useful citizens in the future. Dr. Sogunrofurther emphasized it is not just by sending a child to school will solve the problem, but what matters most is the kind of education that child will receive, saying the education that every child needs in Liberia is quality education, by which that child will demonstrate what he or she has learnt over the past years.
He said if parents or government provides quality education for school going children, the issue of teenage pregnancy will be curtailed, noting that what causes a girl child to get pregnant at the early age is the lack of quality education, or some parents’ failed to send their child to school, because if your child enters school, she wouldn’t have time to be in the streets, but while that child is moving around in the streets, she has no option but to think of sexual practices.
He also stressed that it is essential for girls children to know their bodies, saying, “As a girl child you must always know your body, because the boys will only persuade you, and later damage your future, and then you get in the streets to look for another victim.Education is the beginning and end of sexual and gender base violence.”
Meanwhile, the UNFPA Country Representative says his organization will continue to work with the Government of Liberia, especially the Ministries of Education and Health to promote health education.
“Few days ago, we were in Bong County providing assistance to 20 fistula survivors after they completed six months training in various disciplines.”
Receiving keys for the jeep onbehalf of the ministry, deputy minister for instruction, Dr. Romelle A. Horton, applauded UNFPA for the gesture and promised that it will be used for the intended purpose.
Dr. Horton indicated that the issue of education is not restricted to one person or a particular group, but rather it is joint collaboration in order to make the youth future leaders.
She stressed the need for trained and qualified teachersin the various schools across the country, because in order for the students to acquire quality education, there must be quality teachers to provide the requisite knowledge.
By Lewis S. Teh-Edited by Jonathan Browne