EAEA GRUNDTVIG AWARD 2015. Comprehensive Abortion Care project, the winner of the International Category of the EAEA Grundtvig Award 2015, sets advocacy and education on safe abortion in focus. As a result, over 10,000 Ghanaians have been reached through Queen Mothers.
The article series spreads good practices by introducing the nominees of the EAEA Grundtvig Award 2015.
Hope for Future Generations (HFFG) the coordinating organisation of the project, is a community based NGO focused on women and children. In the implementation of its field activities, it came out that teenage pregnancy and unsafe abortion were on the increase.
"Despite the liberalization of the abortion law in 1985, unsafe abortion remains common in Ghana," tells Project Coordinator Sandra Ameyaw Amankwaa.
Cecilia Senoo, Executive Director of HFFG explains the background of the problem:
"Feedback from focus group discussions indicated lack of access to contraceptive commodities and information as causes."
As a matter of urgency, HFFG made comprehensive abortion care advocacy and education one of the organisations’ focus points and started the Comprehensive Abortion Care project in 2014.
Queen Mothers as the agents for change
In Ghana Queen Mothers play a central role in communities; they know the social conditions of the community and have social power and influence. The project built capacities of Queen Mothers for advocacy to eliminate unsafe abortion practices.
The strategy worked and has helped in reducing maternal mortality.
"A total of 10,673 people were reached through Queen mothers during January to December 2014. P people seeking referral for the sexual and reproductive health information and services are now able to call the Queen Mothers and the health care providers for service delivery support," tells Ms. Amankwaa.
Naa Korkor Aadzieoyi is the Queen Mother of the town of Adabraka, which is located near the capital Accra. She is one of the Queen mothers trained in the framework of the project.
"I developed interest in this programme because I want to save women," she says.
The 62-year-old thinks that the project has changed things for the better:
"Women are opening up and talking about abortion and family planning. Now I can talk about these issues in public - I get invitations to social events to give speeches. A lot of women consult me and I am able to support them to make informed decisions."
A better future for young women
Comfort, 18, is one of the students of Queen Mother Naa Aadzieoyi.
"She organised the programme in the school on the effects of unsafe abortion on adolescent girls. I developed interest in this programme because I was pregnant and needed someone to talk to."
The project enabled Comfort to cope in a difficult situation.
"I was stigmatized in my school after I became pregnant, but the programme helped me. It was good to have support from our Queen mother."
Even though Comfort’s parents could not afford her school fees, her future looks bright today.
"With the support of our Queen mother I am now in my second year in the Accra Wesley Girls Senior High school. My mother is helping in taking care of my child."
Also Project Coordinator Amankwaa is satisfied with the success of the project.
"For me it’s rewarding to see women making efforts to claim their rights related to sexual and reproductive health and transferring the knowledge to others as well as accessing family planning services."
Every year, EAEA hands out the EAEA Grundtvig Award to successful projects in adult education. In 2015, three projects were awarded with a prize: an international, a European and a national initiative. The theme of this year’s award was Adult Education and Health.
Interview: Aura Vuorenrinne
Photos: HFFG, Aura Vuorenrinne