At a workshop organised by Action-Aid Ghana at Bazua in the Bawku Municipality, Mr John Abaa, the Senior Programme Officer for Action-Aid, said child marriage stopped girls from school and also endangered their lives during pregnancy and delivery.
He said limited knowledge about child development and having themselves been forced into marriage and financial problems, parents and close relatives were usually forced to marry the girls off at an early age.
Mr Abaa said the root causes at the family and community levels normally include poverty, poor living conditions, family breakdown and some traditional practices such as the belief that a girl must marry so that her brothers could use her dowry to marry.
He urged the participants to help fight child marriage in the society since it was a violation of the fundamental human rights of girls and compromised their development.
Mr Peter Asaal, the Programme Officer for BElin Wusa Development Agency, a Non Governmental Organisation working to promote quality livelihood for the people, said obstetric fistula was one of the most devastating health consequences of child marriage since the girl was not matured enough to go through childbirth.
He urged the participants to see the menace as a social canker and champion the course to eradicate it to enable the girl child to grow and develop.
Mr Asaal asked the participants to report any child abuse issue including forcing school going children into marriage to the law enforcement agencies like the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service, the Commission for Human Rights and Administration of Justice, and the Social Welfare Department to take action to deter others from doing same.
The participants said they would do their best to discourage early marriages.
The workshop was funded by the United Nations Initiative for Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF).
By Jerry Azanduna