Girls’ education is hindered by child marriage – Gender Activist

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Girl Child Marriages
Girl Child Marriages

Mrs Yvonne Wonchua, the Gender Desk Officer, Upper East Regional Coordinating Council, says child marriage remains a bane to girls’ education and women empowerment in Ghana and underscored the need to eliminate it.

She said the prevalence of child marriage in Ghana was still high and the situation was crippling girls’ education as many girls below the age of 18 years were given out in marriage, compelling them to drop out of school.
She, therefore, urged parents and other stakeholders in society to join the advocacy against child marriage to help promote their growth and development.

Ms Wonchua, who is also the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Focal Person, Regional Coordinating Council, made the call at separate functions during refresher training for men and boys, and Parents Advocacy Movements as part of efforts to eliminate child marriage.

It was part of the implementation of an adolescent sexual and reproductive health project spearheaded by the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council with funding from the UNFPA.

The three-year project is benefitting 36 communities in six districts in the region including Bongo, Bawku West, Nabdam, Talensi, Builsa South and Kassena-Nankana West and aims to empower stakeholders at the community level to join forces to end child marriage.

The Gender Desk Officer urged the men and boys, and parents to mount sustained advocacy against the menace to ensure that children, especially girls, were saved from early marriage and encouraged to stay in school.

Mrs Georgina Aberese-Ako, the Upper East Regional Director, Department of Children, noted that child marriage was a gender-based violence issue and against the 1992 Constitution and the Children’s Act of 1998.

She, therefore, encouraged the public to report cases of child marriage to the law enforcement agencies to ensure that perpetrators were punished to serve as a deterrent to others.

She said child marriage was prevalent in the rural communities and there was a need for traditional authorities, including the Chiefs and Queenmothers, to be sensitised to play active roles in their respective communities to fight the canker.

Mr James Twene, the Upper East Regional Director, Department of Gender, noted that Ghana was at risk of not achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly, goal four, which tasked countries to attain inclusive education for all by 2030.

He said much more needed to be done to address issues of teenage pregnancy and child marriage and to ensure that girls remained in school.

Whereas the national prevalence rate of child marriage is 19 per cent, the Upper East Region has a rate of 28 per cent.

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