Forson Gifty is an 11-year old Junior High School pupil. At her age, she harbors a dream, a dream to become a medical doctor in the near future.
Her reason is simply to offer medical service to people living in rural communities. She prefers to live in a remote community where medical service and health education is critically needed. Gifty is leaving no stone unturned to achieve her dream.
“This is the third time i am participating in ICT Clinic for Girls programme. I want to be exposed to the complexity of science and technology, exposing myself to this knowledge will help me to realize my personal dream” she said.
Gifty says, she is motivated by love to help underprivileged in society. The 11-year old girl is dreaming to become a role model to other young girls in society too.
“I want to be a living testimony to girls’ ability. I am always trying to actively participate in all programmes and activities especially in my school to build my confidence. I am also reading books too.” She said.
She has many female role models she is looking up to. “Through hard work and determination I know I can be what I what to be”, she said.
Gifty’s dream to become a medical doctor could only be realized if she gets equal opportunity and support through education.
The high rate of school drop-out and teenage pregnancies among young girls in both junior and senior high schools coupled with parental irresponsibility are some major contributory factors that hinder girl children’s education in Ghana.
Aside these are also, the lack of conducive learning environment, education on adolescent reproductive health, HIV and AIDS and girls enrollment. Early and forced marriages and poverty among parents are also identified factors that impede a girl child education in Ghana.
A girl child is also over-burdened with household chores. This leaves little or no room for them to undertake extra-curriculum activities. This therefore affects their learning abilities.
Women and girls in Ghana continue to experience discrimination, violence, sexual abuses, and inequality that impede their education development despite the existence of national, regional and international conventions or laws aimed to empower women and girl children. The socio-cultural and religious norms also restrict girls to claim their basic rights in society.
In spite of these socio-cultural and economic challenges, Gifty still believes that a girl child can rise to the top. “That is why I have always participated in the ICT Clinic for Girls programme to build my confidence and to expose myself to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Females hardly pursue courses of science, technology, engineering and mathematics because it is perceived to be a no go area for them”, she emphasized.
ICT Clinic for Girls is an annual event established by Savana Signatures as a way to encourage girls to stay in school.
Instituted in 2012, the annual event had exposed more than 300 young girls to the application of ICT.
The clinic is also serving as a mentoring, career orientation, capacity building and guidance platform for young girls in Ghana.
During the event, identified female role models in science, technology, engineering and mathematics or in leadership positions provide career guidance and counselling to these youngsters basically to help them to identify their talents, interests and to make informed choices.
The clinic is currently one of the biggest ICT platforms for young girls in Ghana. The clinic empowers through the use of ICT. This year’s ICT Clinic for Girls brought together about 33 young girls from Sawla/Tuna/Kalba District, Kpandai District, Savelugu Municipal and Tamale Metropolis to learn and socialize among other things.
“The clinic has opened my mind to things around, those that can affect my progress and development and those that can boost my morale”, says Gifty. She thanked Savana Signatures for creating a platform for young girls and empowering them in the use of ICT for their personal and professional development.
According to Gifty, the clinic also exposed them (girls) to dangers associated with pre-marital sexual activities such as teenage pregnancy and sexual transmitted infections.
Adolescence reproductive health issues she said which are not being taught at home are well packaged and deliver to the participants during the event. This makes ICT Clinic for Girls programme one of the best young girls platforms.
The lack of adolescence education at home, she indicated rather exposes them (girls) to danger. “We are not educated about sexual and reproductive health issues at home, sometimes you are compelled to try it”, she said.
For Gifty, creating policy frameworks that facilitate a girl’s education and enforcing those policy frameworks that protect girl children from all manner of abuses and molestation is one sure way to pushing girl children up. Gifty also want the Ghanaian society to support young girls to grow and develop through education”.
She urged young girls to use the ICT clinic for girls platform to improve on their lives, saying “this is a platform that, all aspiring young girls should be participating”. “I am appealing to the government to create a conducive environment that empowers and builds girls capacity” she added.
Madam Samata Mahama, the Tamale Metro Education Girl Child Coordinator thanked Savana signatures for instituting the platform for young girls to learn. She urged all Ghanaian young girls to frequently take part in the programme to help them make informed decisions regarding their career and education.