Forced and early marriages are assuming alarming proportions in the Kintampo North and Nkoranza North Districts of the Brong-Ahafo Region, a survey conducted by the Mission of Hope Society (MIHOSO), has revealed.
According to the survey, the two districts recorded 14 cases of forced and early marriages in February 2015 alone.
Mr Thomas Benarkuu, the Project Coordinator of MIHOSO, a Non-governmental Organisation working to provide public health, social and organizational development interventions and livelihood empowerment programmes, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview at Kintampo, on Thursday.
He said the Districts also recorded 15 cases of various forms of marital abuses and domestic violence among the teenagers, who were forced to marry men between 25 to 40 years.
The project coordinator emphasized that though the project had chalked some successes, the issue of forced and early marriages continued to increase because many families in the areas recognised the problem as a traditional right.
Mr Benarkuu noted with regret that adolescent girls who failed to succumb to early marriages suffered abuses from their parents and family members.
He observed that cases of defilement and teenage pregnancy were also rife in the areas.
Mr Benarkuu explained that MIHOSO in collaboration with the Gender Studies and Human Rights Documentation Centre (GSHRDC) an NGO, with funding support from the European Union, was implementing a project to promote and protect the rights of adolescent girls in the two districts.
He said under the project, 40 Community-based Action Teams (COMBATs) and 50 peer educators had been engaged in 10 communities in the districts, explaining that they were tasked to sensitise the residents on the effects of early and forced marriages.
The COMBATS would also provide counselling and referral services to the people, Mr Benarkuu said, explaining that because of the sensitisation programme, a 26-year-old farmer, who defiled a seven-year-old girl at Dinkra in the Nkoranza North District, had been sentenced to 16 years imprisonment by a Circuit Court Techiman.