Current dowry system in Upper West unacceptable – NGO

The Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA), a non-governmental organization operating in the three Northern Regions of Ghana has called for the reform of the dowry system in the Upper West Region.

It described the current system as unacceptable and a potential breeding ground towards enforcing the perpetual subordination of women.

A statement from FOSDA, in partnership with the Savannah Women’s Empowerment Group Ghana (SWEGG), said “the current system has far reaching implications for women’s rights and encourages domestic violence and its associated problems.”

The Foundation suggested an acceptable dowry to be between GH¢300 to GH¢500, explaining that cowry shells were now difficult to come by and demanding 13,000 cowry shells which sells for as much as GH¢3,900 is very expensive for a community where per capita income is lower than the national average of GH¢133.80.

The statement said the system of dowry payments to the parents of a bride was as old as humanity and was practiced throughout Africa and many other parts of the world, however, the requirements of large payments was having adverse affects on families.

It said in Nandom, one of the villages in the Upper West, a prospective husband may have to pay three cows, 13,000 cowries (formerly used as cash but now hard to find) and poultry to a woman’s family before the couple could be recognized traditionally as husband and wife.

FOSDA said “without being able to afford to get the woman of their choice, many young men preferred to have informal relationships which has limited commitments and responsibilities. This has increased the tendency of increasing promiscuity and its attendant repercussion of STDs, HIV/AIDs and single parenthood.”

Source: GNA

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