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  • Aminu Ibrahim

Teenage girls plead with traditional authorities to ban night jams

Teenage girls in Bulenga in the Wa East District of the Upper West Region, have pleaded with the Bulenga Traditional Council to ban the playing of musical concerts, popularly known as "jams" at night in the area. 

The girls made the plea at a consultative meeting of chiefs, queen mothers, religious leaders, the district child protection unit of the Wa East District, the Bulenga Assembly Member and Unit Committee members, teachers, parents and teenage girls in Bulenga on Saturday, May 11, 2024.

The consultative meeting, organized by the Upper West Regional Youth Parliament with support from Plan International Ghana, was a follow-up to an earlier stakeholder engagement held in 2023 and a response to the rising spate of teenage pregnancies and other adolescent sexual and reproductive health rights (ASRHR) concerns.

According to the teenage girls, the rampant night jams in the area were breeding grounds for unhealthy sexual practices which compromised their sexual and reproductive health, of which teenage pregnancy was not an exemption.

"When the night jams are played, you would see a lot of people dancing in the early hours of the evening but by 10pm or 11:00pm, the dancing ground becomes virtually empty. The people leave the dancing grounds and go to dark places and corners where unhealthy sexual practices take place," a teenage girl (name withheld) said.

The Wa East District Social Welfare Officer who doubled as the Coordinator of the Wa East District Child Protection Committee, Mr. Clement N. Mole indicated that some by-laws were put in place by the District Assembly of which night jams must close by 10:00 pm or non-adherents face sanctions.

However, both parents and teenage girls cast doubt regarding the said by-laws as a solution to their challenge because they opined that 10:00 pm was late enough to perpetuate unhealthy sexual practices. 

They believe that a decree from the Traditional Council to stop night jams would better address their challenge and improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health within the area. 

The Chief of the Chaggu community, Chaggu Naa Yahaya Osmanu lamented over the night jams which deafening sound makes it difficult, if not impossible, to hear the early morning call to Muslim prayers and said there was a need to ban night jams.

He, however, added that chiefs make decrees based on what is good for their subjects and therefore agreed, to consult his palace elders on the issue.

On his part, the Speaker of the Upper West Regional Youth Parliament, Rt. Hon. James Baba Anabiga was impressed with the progress made after the last engagement. 

He indicated that the consultative meeting was financially sponsored by Plan International Ghana to evaluate the resolutions of an earlier engagement on the same subject matter in 2023. 

He added that he was very grateful to the stakeholders for implementing most of the resolutions from the last engagement, which was proof of progress.

The religious leaders were positive in their responses to the earlier resolutions and stressed that they were committed to doing more to improve the state of Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights.

According to them, they will increase the frequency at which they preach and speak on sexual and reproductive health in churches, mosques and other religious gatherings.

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