Girls in the Wa West District have called for coordinated effort between traditional authorities, parents and other stakeholders to help end the menace of child marriage and teenage pregnancy in the district.
They said the twin canker robbed the girls of their future by denying them the opportunity of formal education and personal development.
This was contained in a communiqué issued by the school girls in the district to the traditional authorities through Naa Alhaji Imoro Nandomy-Gomah II, the Paramount Chief of the Wechiau Traditional Area, the Wa West District Girl Child Education Officer and other stakeholders in the district.
Miss Hannah Wadema Kolo, a student of Lassia-Tuolu R/C Junior High School, read the communiqué on behalf of the girls at Wechiau on Tuesday to mark the International Day of the Girl Child on the theme: “Digital Generation: Our Generation”.
The presentation of the communiqué was preceded by a float through some principal streets of Wechaiu, organised by Community Aid for Rural Development (CARD) Ghana, Music for Change group and the Wa West District office of the National Youth Authority (NYA).
The girls’ carried placards some of which read: “girl not bride”, “come and talk to our parents”, “the girl can also become president”, “don’t make us less important” and “we want zero teenage pregnancy now”.
“We have come to realize that teenage pregnancy is killing the dreams of many girls in our various communities within the district.
“Day in day out, young girls are forced to marry men with the consent of their parents against the will of the girls. Why should this still happen in this modern society,” the communiqué queried.
It identified poverty, poor parental control, lack of sexual education and bad cultural practices as some of the causes of teenage pregnancy and child marriage in the district.
Naa Alhaji Nandomy-Gomah acknowledged the importance of girl child education, but said there were measures in place to fight teenage pregnancy and child marriage in the area.
He encouraged the girls to take their education seriously, and called on chiefs to strengthen measures towards fighting the menace.
Madam Hawa Daari, the Wa West District Girl Child Education Officer, observed that over 300 girls who registered for this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination had dropped out of school.
She said all efforts to bring perpetrators to book had been unsuccessful as the parents of the victims kicked against those moves.
Mr Felix Bagyiliko Wuura, the Wa West District NYA Director, noted that teenage pregnancy and child marriage were very prevalent in the district depriving the girls of their education.
He said the situation informed the partners to use the occasion to drum home the need for concerted, collective and well-coordinated efforts and advocacy to help reduce the menace if not end them completely.
“We realized that we are doing the thing in a fragmented form, we don’t collaborate, but now the girls are calling on them to come together so that we will have a united force to fight the menace of child marriage and teenage pregnancy,” Mr Wuura explained.