End child marriages: Keep your girls in school – UNICEF urges parents

The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has urged parents at Talensi in the Upper East Region to keep their girl child in school as frantic efforts are being made to end child marriages in the region.

According to UNICEF the only way the situation can be curbed is for parents to keep their children in school and allow marriage only when the children become responsible adults.

The Upper East is the region with the highest number of child marriages in Ghana. Within that region, the Talensi and Nabdam Districts have the highest rates of child marriages.

Child Protection Officer of UNICEF Ruby Korkor Anane said keeping children in school ensures that they are protected against any forms of abuse.

“Parents should not think that because they cannot take care of their girls in school they should marry them off, no that is wrong”, she said.

Mrs Anane was speaking at the end of a Child Rights Festival at Gorogo in the Talensi District to help educate parents in the community on the need to protect children against child marriages.

In all, twenty basic schools from different communities within the Talensi district took part in the child rights festival.

The festival was organized by Afrikids Ghana, a Child Rights-centered Non-governmental Organization that has been working through sensitization programmes to eliminate child marriages within ten communities in the Talensi district.

Emphasizing the need for the child rights festival, the Talensi-Nabdam Area Manager for Afrikids Ghana, Silas Ayaaba said the fact that the Upper East Region is leading in terms of the high prevalence of child marriages in Ghana is enough cause to worry hence the need to educate the community through activities like the festival.

The festival opened with a debate between St. Martin’s Junior High School and Pwalugu Junior High School on the motion; “Educating the girl child is waste of resources”.

St. Martin’s JHS argued in favour of the motion whilst their counterparts from the Pwalugu JHS argued against motion. In the end, the Pwalulgu JHS narrowly won the debate.

There was also a quiz competition and cultural performances by some of the schools that took part in the child rights festival.

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