National Stakeholder’s review meeting on ending child marriage opens in Kumasi

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Stakeholders Meeting
Stakeholders Meeting

A national stakeholders’ review meeting on ending child marriage has opened in Kumasi with a call on key actors to step up efforts to protect the future of victims across the country.

The meeting, which was put together by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), brought together various stakeholders to track progress made in the implementation of the National Strategic Framework on Ending Child Marriage in Ghana.

The Strategic Framework is an operational document that mirrors Ghana’s pledge to end child marriage and teenage pregnancy, which sets out clear national objectives, strategies and key interventions across different sectors that will lead to the gradual elimination of the practice.

The review meeting was, therefore, aimed at strengthening the best practices that needed to be replicated and also identifying the gaps that required attention to ensure successful implementation.

Participants were drawn from the Ministry, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and relevant state institutions across the country are attending the meeting.

Madam Malonin Asibi, Head of the Domestic Violence Secretariat of the Ministry, said though some progress had been made in the fight against child marriage over the years, a lot more needed to be done to bring the canker under control.

She said it was important to highlight the fact that child marriage was also gender-based violence in the public space and also stress the immediate and long-term effects on victims and their generations.

Many girls, she said, were perishing and the future of others being snatched from them as a result of child marriage and urged stakeholders to double their efforts in combating the practice.

Dr. Doris Mawuse Aglobitse, Gender Team Lead of UNFPA, said despite the impressive strides at eliminating child marriage in Ghana, there was the need for additional efforts to improve the development outcomes of child brides.

She disclosed that at least one in every five children were married or in a union before they turned 18 years, with additional available data revealing that majority of those married in childhood gave birth as adolescents, thereby increasing their vulnerabilities to maternal mortality, violence, abuse and forced sexual relations.

She said UNFPA and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) since 2020 had been implementing the second phase of the Global Programme to end Child Marriage to increase political support, resources, gender-responsive policies and frameworks and improve data to accelerate action to end the menace by 2030.

“As part of the programme, UNFPA Ghana has strengthened its strategic partnerships with state institutions and community structures including the Gender Secretariat, parent’s network as well as boys and men’s groups to improve integrated services and create an enabling environment where the potentials of adolescent girls are fulfilled,” she stated.

Madam Joyce Odame, Child Protection Officer at UNICEF Ghana Office, said child marriage had truncated the education of many victims and led to generational poverty and called on stakeholders to join forces to address the problem.

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