Parents in Ghana have been advised to protect the rights of children by not giving them out for early marriages. Giving children out for early marriages is considered a violation of human rights and a harmful traditional practice affecting especially, girls than boys, leading to numerous negative health and developmental consequences and limiting girls economic and individual empowerment.
The Cluster Programs Manager of World Vision Ghana, Mr Felix Apeti made the call during a durbar organized by World Vision to end child violence, abuses and marriage through soccer clinic in the West Gonja municipality, Damongo, on 23rd August, 2022, with the theme “Ending child violence and promoting holistic transformation of children through soccer clinic”.
Child marriage is a formal marriage or informal union of children before age 18 years. It is considered a violation of human rights and a harmful traditional practice affecting more girls than boys, leading to numerous negative health and developmental consequences and limiting girls’ economic and individual empowerment.
In response to this situation, fighting child marriage has become a core development and human rights issue.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian, advocacy and development organization dedicated to working to transform the lives of children, families and communities worldwide so that they can reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
Mr. Felix, Cluster Programs Manager in his welcome address lamented that, the future of children is being robbed by trading them into all forms of violence especially early marriages.
“the future of our most vulnerable girls and boys, especially the girl child is being robbed by trading them into all forms of violence especially early marriages”.
Sharing statistics relating to early child marriage in the West Gonja municipality with the audience, Mr Felix revealed in 2021, West Gonja municipality recorded an increase in early child marriage as compared to 2019.
“Over 4% of our children, a jump from 3% in 2019 aged from 12 to 18 were reported married or have experienced some form of sexual abuse, it is quite refreshing that, 78% of children in West Gonja municipality feel very safe within their environment”.
“The information shows that parents, caregivers, the communities and duty bearers are not doing much to protect the children”, he added.
According to Ghana Health Service (GHS), 555,575 teenage pregnancies were recorded among girls age 10 to 19 in Ghana, between 2016 and 2020 during the Covid-19 lockdown of schools. Adding that an average of 112, 8000 girls get pregnant every year.
Mr. Felix therefore, called on stakeholders to pursue a holistic transformation of girls and boys using games to propagate a positive parenting and protecting all children from violence and abuse. He also call for support and to work with the law enforcement agencies to bring to book persons causing harm to children.
This and other punishment will help protect children against early child marriage in the West Gonja municipality, together with state agencies such as social welfare and community development, CHRAJ, Traditional leaders and among other agencies doing their job more aggressively to ending the menace.
He added that a community feedback mechanism will be instituted to track progress made in child protection issues within the communities.
Madam Barbara Asare Yaboah, the Regional Operations Manager called on children to take their education serious to enable them become responsible parents, and leaders in their various communities.
She reiterated that young girls should abstain from sex and the boys should protect girls rather than taking advantage of them and called on parents to avoid giving their daughters for early marriages by lunching a slogan “End child marriage now” with the response “it takes us all”
World Vision started operating in Ghana in 1979 and is currently working in ten regions in Ghana.
World Vision Ghana have supported in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene, improved livelihood, health development and advocacy organization dedicated to the their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty.
World Vision Ghana work with communities to reach throughout Ghana, enabling us to contribute to the well provision of access to quality education, access to safe and nutrition.