Entertainment of Thursday, 13 October 2016
Season VIII winner of TV3’s Ghana’s Most Beautiful Bentie Abigail Baciara, populalrly known as Baci, has been leading an empowerment programme for young girls in Wa, the Upper West Region capital to say no to child marriage.
Baci as a brand ambassador of the ‘End Child Marriage’ joined pupils from selected basic schools in the Wa municipality to celebrate this year’s International Day of the Girl on Tuesday. Statistics show that the Upper West Region is second in child marriages in Ghana after the Upper East Region.
Four out of every 10 married female is below 18 years in the Upper West Region. This has called for the attention of stakeholders including the communities to put all hands on deck to fight the menace of child marriage.
The programme, which has been sponsored by Plan International Ghana with support from Right to Play, seeks to empower young girls to fight against child marriage and also build on their self-confidence through education. Over the years, girls have been vulnerable in violence and abuse, which is a contributory factor to teenage pregnancy, child marriage and school dropout.
Baci asked the girls to empower the next generation too Plan International has launched a new project – ‘Because I Am A Girl’ –to strengthen its sensitization to end child marriage in the Region. Under ‘Because I Am A Girl’, girls will now be empowered to report all cases of teenage pregnancies and child marriages in their respective schools. The theme for this year’s International Day of the Girl was ‘Counting the invisible, every girl counts make sure every girl is counted’.
A victim who availed herself for testimony advised her friends not to involve premarital sex or follow bad friends. Baci called on the girls to take their education very seriously, telling them how they can also empower generations yet to come. The Upper West Regional Director of Plan International, Eric Ayaba, vowed to fight the phenomenon of some people forcefully impregnating children in order to be allowed to marry them in settlement.
Speaking on behalf of the Upper West Regional Director of Education, Patricia Oyiko, said primary education alone helps reduce infant mortality and that children of educated mothers are less likely to die before their first birthday.
The Deputy Upper Region Minister, Dr Mushaibu Mohammed Alfa, said girls in the Region are denied education due to realities of poverty, conflict or discrimination with the “kayaye” menace also lurking around. He lamented the lack of available data to track these issues.