The Muslim Family Counselling Services (MFCS), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), has offered a lifeline to a distressed teenager forced into marriage in honour of tradition and customary practices.
Saratu Ahmed, 18, a resident of Saka in the Bawku-West District, and now divorced, was given into marriage at age 15.
She would deliver a child the following year to the man she was betrothed to, however, the traditional marriage failed to succeed, forcing her to resettle with her poor farming mother.
Sheikh Mohammed Bun Bida, an Official of the MFCS, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Kumasi, that the attention of the NGO was drawn to the teenager’s plight by one of its volunteers.
“We were saddened by the psychological trauma, state of neglect and poverty in which this innocent girl found herself,” he observed.
Saratu, who is currently being supported by the MFCS to learn a trade in weaving, is one of about six teenage girls rescued within the last four years by the NGO, through its partnership with the Department of Social Welfare.
“Poverty and obnoxious customary practices are responsible for the persistence of these outmoded norms,” Sheikh Bun Bida stated.
The underprivileged teenage girls have undergone employable skills training in weaving, sewing and hairdressing to sustain their livelihood, Sheikh Bun Bida revealed to the GNA.
These were executed in line with the MFCS’s project dubbed “Improving Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in Bawku Area”, which has its funding from ‘AmplifyChange’, a United Kingdom (UK)-based organization.
Sheikh Bun Bida indicated that the project sought to end sexual and gender-based violence as well as child marriage within the NGO’s operational area.
The Organization had also facilitated training programmes on sexual and gender-based violence, targeting community leaders, teachers and traditional authorities.
The authorities, he stressed, would continue to prioritize projects targeting women’s social, economic and political empowerment.
By December, 2025, the MFCS aims to advance transformational change in institutional and social norms affecting gender equality.