World Education’s STAGE project puts girls in the spotlight
October 17, 2019
Addressing Sexual Abuse, Exploitation, and Harassment in Ghana
World Education Ghana recently took the celebration of the International Day of the Girl on October 11 as an opportunity to highlight the need to address sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment of adolescent girls at community and school levels in Ghana.
Through the Strategic Approaches to Girls’ Education (STAGE) project, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), World Education leads a consortium of 8 partners in providing education to more than 17,000 out-of-school girls between the ages of 10 and 19.
In an article in the Ghana News Agency, World Education explains how the program builds safeguarding measures to ensure the safety of all stakeholders.
The program organizes community mapping to identify marginalized girls in more than 650 communities in seven regions, covering around 50% of the country. Through a combination of digital data collection and functional impairment screening tools, STAGE identified the most marginalized girls in the communities. These girls are disadvantaged due to child marriage, teenage pregnancy, disabilities, and other vulnerabilities.
A behavior change campaign has been launched to create awareness and ownership in the communities and education system. Girls are enrolled in an accelerated learning program where they will be educated in literacy, numeracy, and life skills. Older girls will receive vocational and entrepreneurship skills training.
In Ghana, the discourse around sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment is currently high on the agenda. This has been triggered by recent alleged incidents of sexual abuse in a national education institution, highlighted on the BBC, and recommendations from civil society groups and experts reflect how important STAGE's safeguarding systems are.
The program works within DFID's Girls Education Challenge approach to ensure that all implementers working at community and school levels manage a wide range of risks such that children, especially girls are kept safe from harm and abuse.
Before any intervention and interaction with the girls, they are screened and trained by STAGE to empower themselves with knowledge and skills to prevent further vulnerabilities and to recognize and report vulnerabilities such as sexual abuse and exploitation. Child protection and adult safeguarding policies are developed and all staff and contractors are required to sign a safeguarding code of conduct.
World Education will launch a toll-free helpline, 0800121212, on November 2019, where people can report suspected cases and perpetrators. World Education is developing case management protocols that outline the processes for investigation and survivor support of girls who have experienced sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment.
World Education Ghana works with the Ministry of Education and Social Welfare to lead and institutionalize these safeguarding measures to ensure that all girls can learn, work, and live in safety. Together we will strive to make the theme of the International Day of the Girl a reality; Girl Force; unscripted and unstoppable.