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Child Marriage not panacea to poverty reduction

Social Poverty Marriage
Social Poverty Marriage

Mr James Twene, the Upper East Regional Director, Department of Gender, has admonished Ghanaians, especially parents, against resorting to child marriage as a means of ending poverty in their families.

He observed that many communities, especially those in the rural areas gave their tender aged girls out in marriage due to poverty and the situation became worse in the circumstances of teenage pregnancy.

He said the move would not solve their predicaments, but instead would retard the growth and development of their children and deepen the poverty cycle of such families.

He called on stakeholders to help address the challenge.

The Regional Director gave the admonition during separate engagements with parents in some selected communities in the region as part of efforts to end teenage pregnancy, child marriage and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).

The engagement formed part of an adolescent sexual and reproductive health project being implemented by the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council with funding support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

A total of 36 communities from six districts in the region including Bongo, Kassena-Nankana West, Bawku West, Builsa South, Talensi and Nabdam are benefitting from the project aimed at empowering stakeholders including parents, men and boys to join the campaign against teenage pregnancy, child marriage and SGBV.

He said apart from the fact that child marriage was a human right abuse and gender-based violence especially against girls, who were mostly vulnerable, it did not promote child education and posed a threat to efforts towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Even if your teenage girl gets pregnant, you do not have to force her into marriage, allow her to give birth and support her to return to school or learn a trade because sometimes, these boys that you are forcing girls to marry might even be poorer that you are,” he added.

Mr Twene said issues of teenage pregnancy, child marriage and SGBV continued to hamper the development of adolescents and as a result UNFPA and RCC had embarked on a campaign in the beneficiary communities to help fight the phenomena.

As part of the implementation strategies, the Regional Director said Parents Advocacy Movement (PAM), Men and Boys Clubs and out-of-school boys had been established in the communities and their capacities built to appreciate gender roles and issues.

This, he said, would help them to appreciate the negative effects of the issues and support campaigns to end them, to promote inclusive and sustainable development.
Mrs Georgina Aberese-Ako, the Upper East Regional Director, Department of Children, explained that the issues of teenage pregnancy and child marriage were worrying and needed urgent stakeholder action to curb them.

She said parents’ failure to establish effective communication relationship with their adolescent children particularly girls were one of the major causes of teenage pregnancy as parents failed to provide their children with the necessary sexual and reproductive health education to enable them to make informed decisions.

She said issues of child marriage was taking a new trend, where parents no longer forced their girls into marriage but instead the girls ran into the marriage by themselves and attributed the cause to parents’ inability to provide their basic needs.

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