Mrs. Della Sowah, the Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has called on the media to play an active role in leading the campaign to fight and eliminate child marriages in Ghana.
She said their efforts at putting the issues at the centre of discussions to end child marriage in the media would contribute immensely in changing the outdated attitudes towards children that fuel the practice and help to speed up the elimination of such practices.
Mrs. Sowah made the call at the inaugural stakeholders meeting on eliminating child marriage in Ghana organized by Ministry.
The meeting was part of preliminary activities of the Anti-Child Marriage Initiative, a three-year project being undertaken by the Ministry in collaboration with the United Nations Children?s Fund (UNICEF) and the Royal Netherlands Embassy to eliminate child marriage in Ghana.
She said the phenomenon of child marriages was a global peril affecting millions of women and girls annually and had increasingly become recognized as a human rights violation which is very prevalent in Ghana.
However, efforts and interventions to address it had been largely short term and ad hoc, undertaken in isolation of one another and thus limiting its capacity for long term sustainable impact.
?Recognising the necessity of a coordinated, focused and long term approach, the Ministry in partnership with UNICEF and the Royal Netherlands Embassy have decided to undertake the project to eliminate child marriage in Ghana,? she said.
Mrs. Sowah also called on the stakeholders that include state and non-state actors in the child rights, human rights and other relevant stakeholders such as Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit and Anti- human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Health Service, Social Welfare Department, traditional leaders, Women in Law and Development Africa (WILDAF), Care International and Youth Harvest Foundation, an NGO based in the Upper East Region among others, to commit themselves by playing major roles to aid the project to succeed in eliminating the practice.
Mr. John Alexander Ackon, a Deputy Minister MoGCSP, also urged all parties in the project, including stakeholders and project staff to ensure that it succeeded in its objective to end child marriages in Ghana.
He said support for the cause would be more forthcoming, both from the state, international partners and the private sector if concrete successes could be shown over the three-year period.
Mr Ackon also stressed the need for the cause of eliminating child marriages in the country to be institutionalized with ministries committing resources in their budgets to fighting the practice.
Two survivors of child marriages, a 15-year-old girl and a 17-year-old recounted their stories on how they escaped from the problem as children, with the help of the Northern Sector Action on Awareness (NORSAC), an NGO led by Madam Wasila Abdul-Rahman, bringing home the reality of the problem of child marriages in Ghana.