Authorities at Gnani, a community in the Yendi Municipality of the Northen Region have implemented a bye-law that imposes a fine on any male who impregnates a teenage girl in the community. Per the bye-law, any man who impregnates a girl of school-going-age will be fined GH¢250 while male teachers will pay GH¢300.
For teachers found guilty of impregnating school girls, they will be withdrawn from their school immediately while members of school management committees will also have their membership revoked.
The new set of bye-laws was introduced and agreed on by the traditional and school authorities in the Gnani community in consultation with parents and the various clan leaders to curb the high incidence of teenage pregnancy among girls in basic schools.
A total of 15 girls in primary and junior high schools between the ages of 14 and 16 were impregnated, and dropped out of school in the 2015/2016 academic year.
Parents of both the victim and the culprit will also pay GH¢100 in fines, while the culprit will also be responsible for education of their victims upon their delivery.
Further, the community has banned overnight ceremonies such as weddings and outdooring of babies among other entertainment and social events which has been identified as contributing to the rate of teenage pregnancies. To this end, all such programmes are to close by 7:00pm.
Any organiser who contravenes this provision in the bye-law will have his equipment seized by the traditional authorities and pay a fine of GH¢50.
According to the Spokesperson to the Chief of Gnani, Yakubu Dokugu, a breach of the bye-laws is a desecration of the Gnani skin hence warns of dire consequences.
He said the traditional council was saddened by the continuous school drop outs among girls due to teenage pregnancy.
Meanwhile, a child protection club made up of students and parents has been formed in the schools in the Gnani community to educate the girl child about their rights and how to stand up for themselves
The establishment of the club was spearheaded by Tuma-Kavi, a non-governmental organization based in Tamale in the northern Region.
Programme Officer, Alhassan Beyom, indicated the bye-laws have become necessary due to the rate of teenage pregnancy in the community.
“It’s to make sure the child is protected to ensure the child’s right is not trampled on, teenagers are impregnated whiles in school so the programme will ensure each child reaches his or her full potentials,” he said.