NGO appeals for stakeholder collaboration to end child-marriage

By Regina Benneh, GNA

Banda-Ahenkro (B/A), Oct. 19, GNA – A
girl-child and women’s rights non-governmental organisation (NGO), Resource
Link Foundation (RLF) has appealed to stakeholders to collaborate to end
child-marriage in Brong-Ahafo particularly, and Ghana in general.

Per a national data on child-marriage gathered
by UNICEF, Brong-Ahafo was ninth with 23.9 per cent as at 2014 whilst the Upper
East, Upper West and Western Regions had the highest prevalence rate at that
time.

But, according to the NGO, Brong-Ahafo could
not continue to take pride in that achievement because the reverse is the case
currently as findings and checks by women and children rights advocacy NGOs
working in the Region attested that the menace has been on the increase since
then to date.

Mr Christopher Dapaah, the Country Director of
RLF, a Ghanaian NGO, which is a member of “Girls Not Bride Ghana” but working
in partnership with ActionAid Ghana in Brong-Ahafo, made the appeal when he
spoke at this year’s Brong-Ahafo Regional celebration of the International Day
of the Girl-Child on Thursday at Banda-Ahenkro in the Banda District of
Brong-Ahafo.   

Organised and sponsored   by the ActionAid Ghana on the theme, “With
Her: A Skilled Girl Force, The Ending Child Marriage Factor”, the programme was
attended by chiefs, women and child rights advocates, traditional and religious
leaders and the general public.

The event was observed to bring together
partners and stakeholders to advocate for and draw attention and investments to
the most pressing needs and opportunities for girls to attain skills for
employability.

Mr Dapaah stated that Ghana had been
identified as one of the countries with the highest prevalence rate of
child-marriage because “such harmful practice” was being recorded in some
communities across the country. 

He bemoaned that high rate of child-marriage
combined with a rapid population growth could have devastating human and
development consequences on Africa if the situation was not brought under
control.

Mr Dapaah identified poverty and ignorance as
some of the factors pushing parents to give their girl- children into early
marriage for money to reduce their economic and social burdens.

He therefore implored stakeholders to assist
in various ways to empower girls to know their values and rights and develop
skills to enhance their opportunities in life to fulfil their potentials.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Setina
Aboagye , the Regional Coordinator of Domestic 
Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service,
cautioned parents against the act of child-marriage, warning that “it is an
offence  and parents and perpetrators
could be arrested, charged and the perpetrators charged with defilement  and rape for prosecution in the courts”.

DSP Aboagye entreated the public to report
such incidents to any nearby office of DOVVSU for immediate intervention to
save girls from such dangerous practices to minimize it, if not total prevent
the menace in the Society.

GNA

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