ACCRA, Ghana and the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) have held bilateral talks aimed at promoting population activities, ending child marriage, women’s and adolescent rights and the phenomenon of head porters (kayayei), says Harry Reynolds, the Head of Informationat Ghana’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.

He said in a statement that the meeting held last Wednesday, between Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister Otiko Afisah Djaba and UNFPA Executive Director Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, took place on the sidelines of the on-going 61st session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

Dr Osotimehin praised Ghana for the advances made in the area of stopping early and forced marriages, HIV and adolescents, promotion of gender, women’s rights and adolescent cases and urged the country to pursue the successes to the next level.

In Africa in particular, he added, efforts were expected to be concentrated on Female Gentile Mutilation (FGM), Child Marriage and other practices affecting young girls from pursuing their careers for a better future. To this end, he said, the aim was to ensure that all young people were empowered to do their best in society.

The Gender Minister said more technical assistance was needed at the grassroots level, rural areas, where there was the urgent need to actualise the policies and programmes drawn for them. She also mentioned recent cases of suicides, hunting for Albinos in some rural areas as a result of superstition and spoke of the need to sensitise the country’s traditional rulers to understand and stop all cultural practices and outmoded traditions affecting the population.

On the issue of kayayei, she said a prototype a shopping trolley, which would make it easy for porters to carry their loads had been designed by a lecturer at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and would soon be introduced.