Source: The Ghana News Agency (GNA)

More than 20 "kayayee" (female porters) from Agbogbloshie and Malamata markets and Tema Lorry Station in Accra have received confidence building training and education on HIV/AIDS and reproductive health issues, in order to serve as peer educators to their colleagues.

The Society for Women and AIDS in Africa (SWAA)-Ghana, which provide the training, also counseled the kayayee that comprised mainly young girls and adults women in career and skills development.

SWAA-Ghana after the training will support the kayayee to acquire skills in vocations of their choice to enable them to start businesses of their own and enable them to have some measure of economic autonomy.

Briefing the media on Saturday at the close of the training, Ms Nancy Ansah, President of SWAA-Ghana said the Society believes in empowering women, especially the young who are vulnerable, to know their rights and also to be aware of their reproductive health rights in order to take good care of themselves.

With the support of the United Nations Fund for Population Activity (UNFPA) and the Johnson and Johnson, SWAA-Ghana, she said "will continue to work until we see Ghana free of HIV/AIDS.

"We believe behaviour change communication process is key if greater impact has to be made in the fight against HIV/AIDS and in improving the reproductive health.

"Integrating HIV/AIDS and reproductive health issues is what SWAA-Ghana advocates. When we do this, then we will be able bring issues of HIV/AIDS and reproductive health to the lime light," Ms Ansah said.

Anita Bamua, 25, a Senior High School graduate, who paid for her own school fees through the kayayee business, expressed appreciation to the SWAA-Ghana for the support given them, saying "we have learnt how human beings can be confident of themselves.

"We are also going to educate our colleagues in the markets so that they will also be empowered. We have learnt a lot - how to communicate in public, do book keeping and manage our money in business, and also how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases," she said.

SWAA-Ghana has promised to sponsor Anita Bamua further her education at the university in addition to support other kayayee, who still wanted to continue their education at the JHS and SHS level.

SWAA-Ghana is a branch of SWAA International, a Pan African Women's organization with its headquarters in Dakar, Senegal. SWAA International has 42 branches in 42 African countries.

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