Zonta Club, an international non-governmental organization that advocates for the welfare of women and girls, has appealed to media institutions for airtime to enlighten the public on child marriage and violence against women.
This will help the Club to specifically educate women from deprived homes from pushing their girls into early marriages and encourage the girls to fight for their rights.
Mrs Sandy Kojo-Andah, the President of the Zonta Club of Accra Metropolitan, made the appeal at a news conference the Club organised on Friday, in Accra, in commemoration of its global centenary celebration.
She said child marriage was considered a violation of human rights, which led to numerous negative health and developmental consequences that limited the economic and individual empowerment of the girl-child.
To help eradicate the problem, the Club, since 1923, had provided more than 40.9 million dollars to empower women and expand their access to education, healthcare, economic opportunities, and safe living conditions, she said.
Mrs Kojo-Andah noted that the Club also sought to raise awareness on all forms of violence against women and the ills of child marriage under its “Zonta Says No to Child Marriage” programme.
Awareness had been created through various platforms such as community durbars, educational programmes in schools, and sharing of fliers.
Despite these efforts by the Zonta Club and other governmental and non-governmental organisations to control the problem, the Club realised that child marriage remained a canker in parts of the country and beyond, hence the need for media space to intensify education on it, she said.
The Club had undertaken projects including the distribution of six ambulances in 1994, training of peer educators and teachers on adolescent reproductive health, and refurbishment of the Chenard Ward of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
Others were fundraising bazaar to provide counselling and educational workshops in secondary and tertiary institutions, collaboration with UNFPA to provide National Health Insurance cards for kayayei (female porters) and distribution of sanitary towels to girls in basic schools in Kotobabi.
Nana Oforiwaa Koranteng, the Area Director of District 18 (Africa), Zonta Club, said as part of the centenary celebration, the Club would undertake 16 days of activism against child marriages in residential areas, stand against rape, and engage on online social media advocacy, among other things.
The Club unveiled billboards with inscriptions: “No to Violence against Women and an Emphatic No to Child Marriage” at Kaukudi, Agbogbloshie and Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region, as part of the celebration.
“We in Zonta remain committed to our vision to help all women realise greater equality while using our individual and collective expertise in service to their community,” she said.
Nana Oforiwaa expressed appreciation to its partners including the UNFPA, Japan Motors, Holiday Inn, Passion Air, Africa World Airlines, Kempinski Gold Coast and Tang Palace hotels for their contribution towards realising Zonta’s mission.
The Zonta International has five clubs in Ghana namely; the Zonta Club of Accra, Accra II, Accra Metropolitan, Tema, and E-Club working to secure the welfare of women and girls.