MP calls for concerted action to end child marriage
She said in spite of the conscientious drive by stakeholders involved in the fight, there was the need for shared commitment to ultimately nip the phenomenon in the bud.
Addressing an assembly of school children, teachers and parents at a Girls’ Club Fair at Dodowa in the Greater Accra Region on ending child marriage over the weekend, the MP said an accelerated campaign would help to change the lives of girls and young women positively.
The Fair, organised by ActionAid Ghana, with funding from UNICEF, is part of a two-year project to end child marriage in selected districts and communities where child marriage is most prevalent.
Madam Ocloo explained that child marriage endangered the personal development and wellbeing of victims, noting that girls suffered unlimited challenges and abuses in their marital homes.
“At an age where they need friends and family for effective psychological and social development, they become isolated, helpless and their fundamental rights to health, education and safety are curtailed,” she said.
Madam Ocloo added that systems that under-value the contributions of girls and women, limit their possibilities of growth, stability and transformation.
According to her, ending child marriage required understanding of the complicities of the practice to aid in adopting appropriate strategies and interventions.
She mentioned continuous girls’ empowerment through the development of local support networks, development of skill programmes, sustained partnership with families, religious and traditional leaders as some ways of ending the practice.
Ms Abena Anim-Adjei, Project Coordinator of the End Child Marriage Campaign, said ActionAid had directly engaged 27 girls’ clubs, trained patrons and supported clubs with resource materials and persons in influencing behaviour change.
She said the girls’ clubs had proved effective as girls are empowered with knowledge on the dangers of child marriage, as well as skills and attitudes to resist persons who force them into such marriages.
Children especially, young girls, she said, formed majority of the abused and marginalised in society, adding that the formation of the girls’ clubs in community schools was to empower them to fight all forms of violence including child marriage.
She indicated that the project which started in October 2015 with an overall aim to end child marriage, was being implemented in 12 districts and 120 communities in the Greater Accra, Brong Ahafo, Upper East and Upper West Regions.
Participating girls’ clubs from Shai Osuduku and Kpone-Katamanso took part in poetry recitals, choreography and cultural displays on the debilitating effect of child marriage.