The Minister for Gender, Children and Social protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba, wants more public support to end child marriage in Ghana.
She said all stakeholders must get involved to root the phenomenon out of the country.
Speaking to Citi News at a steering committee meeting on ending child marriage with UNICEF and UNFPA, Otiko Djaba said her ministry will form clubs in various schools to help the pupils and parents understand their rights.
She said the ministry was coordinating with the relevant stakeholders to review and implement existing policy framework to end child marriage by 2030.
“We’ve come a long way as a nation. The traditional and negative cultural practices are areas where we are challenged, and we will come up with a programme, and already there is a policy. There is a platform developed by my predecessor [Nana Oye Lithur] for the framework which has already been done so we have to look at the implementation plan and there is a draft of it and we are going to work on it to ensure that we end child marriage by 2030. In that regard, were are going to be forming children’s right clubs in all schools and all communities so that parents and children will understand their rights and responsibilities.”
The meeting on March 7, was ahead of the celebration of International Women’s Day on Wednesday, March 8, 2017.
MICS in 2011 reported that, 27% of women in Ghana married before the age of 18. The Upper East region had the highest child marriage rate of 39.2%, followed by Western region with 36.7% and Upper West region, 36.3%.
The report also noted that, the phenomenon, which has in most cases led to many the girls dropping out of school, was more prevalent in rural areas than in urban areas.
Meanwhile the program director and UNICEF representative for the program, Ted Chaiban, commended Ghana for making significant progress in ending child marriage over the years, but said more needs to be done.
“Ghana has made enormous progress towards ending child marriage. 20 years ago, 1 in every 3 Ghanaian girl was married before the age of 18. But this has reduced to 1 in every 5 girls, and with the government support and civil society, we believe Ghana is on the path to ending child marriage by engaging with the girls through education, and with the commitment of government, the minister and its partners, we believe Ghana can continue to lead the way to end child marriage.”
By: Jonas Nyabor/citifmonline.com/Ghana