Opinion leaders within communities in Ashaiman have been tasked to end child marriage within the Municipality.
Ms Matilda Banfro Greater Accra Regional Director Gender Department said, opinion leaders must ensure that child marriage at Ashaiman came to an end, “we must stop the practice”.
Ms Banfro stated at a workshop organized by the Greater Accra Regional office of the Department of Gender with support from the UNFPA and the Canadian Government, which was to sensitize residents in Ashaiman Jericho on child marriages and its implications.
She added that data at the national level indicated that, one out of every five girls in Southern Ghana was either married or had entered into a form of a union before the age of 18 years, adding that in the Northern parts of the country the figure had increased to one out of every three girls.
She added that the key cause of child marriage included poverty, culture, patriarchy, and gender-based discrimination.
According to the Gender Director, child marriage was a worrisome phenomenon, because of implications such as gender-based violence, poor health, poverty, among others.
Ms. Juliana Abbey Quaye, Eastern Regional Director of the Department of Gender, stated that Ghana’s figures on child marriage could be reduced if opinion leaders, state and parastatals continued to intensify the campaign to end child marriage.
Mrs Quaye noted that it was unlawful for a child below the age of 18 to be forced into marriage and argued that it would affect the progress of the child academically.
She added that poverty could not be overlooked and called on the Municipal Assembly to create more job opportunities for the youth to tap in.
Mrs. Quaye appealed to chiefs and opinion leaders to help enforce traditions and norms, which would protect the teenagers especially the girls within the communities.
“Do not hesitate to report any form of child abuse to the appropriate authorities,” she said.
The workshop was attended by Chiefs, Opinion and Religious Leaders, Assembly Members, National Commission for Civic Education, Ashaiman Municipal Health Directorate and some members of the public.