Mrs Richlove Amamoo, the Central Regional Director of Gender under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) says incidents of child marriage threaten national development and growth.
She said the act deprived young girls from achieving their full potentials and objectives which undermined their growth and development.
“This robs the nation of productive youth who could contribute positively towards national development.
Mrs Amamoo was speaking at a stakeholders’ engagement with leaders within selected districts in the Central Region.
They discussed issues and ways to end child marriage in the country.
The engagement organised by International Needs was sponsored by United Nations International Childrens Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
It was to enable participants to determine the roles each institution could play to help protect young girls and to combat child marriage practices in some communities in the Area.
Mrs Amamoo said child marriage contributed to poverty among families who gave out their girl child for marriage.
“We conducted a study in some parts of the Region and we saw that about 59 per cent of young girls sampled said they were not safe in their communities out of fear of being given out for marriage and 24 per cent of parents still feel the need to give out their girl child for marriage, which is very worrying.”
She therefore, called for the collective commitment of stakeholders to put in place measures that would protect the
girl child from the social canker.
The Regional Director urged the stakeholders to advocate girl child empowerment in their communities.
“Our traditional leaders must be advocates for the empowerment of our young girls by ensuring that they are educated or given soft skills training so that we can achieve the desired results of having successful women in our society”.
Mr Fred Harley, Director, in charge of outreach at the International Needs, said the project was an initiative to ensure reduction in cases of child marriages through rolled out interventions that targeted key actors, including traditional and religious authorities, young girls and NGOs, to achieve set out objectives.
He said the campaign was aimed at influencing national policies that protected children from abuse and mobilized young people to empower them by building their capacities to be lead advocates against child marriages in their communities.
The Facilitator stated that the objective was to ensure that young girls enjoyed fully their childhood free from risks of marriages.
Also, girls should experience healthier, safer, and more empowered life transitions and be in control of their own decisions.
Superintendent of Police, George Appiah Sakyi, the Regional Coordinator of Domestic Violence Victim Support Unit called for intensive education and sensitization to protect and secure the future of the girl-child to prevent the increasing number of teenage pregnancies in the Region.
According to him, for the country to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, women and girls needed to be empowered with the required knowledge on reproductive health rights to create gender equality and boost their wellbeing.
Conscious efforts must therefore, be made by all stakeholders to intensify awareness creation on back-to-school and re-entry interventions at all levels