Eighty-two per cent of caregivers accept child marriage – Felix Apeti

The Gushegu Cluster Manager of the World Vision Ghana (WVG), Mr Felix Apeti, has disclosed that as a form of culture, 82 per cent of caregivers accept child marriage, as normal practice in the Gushegu Municipality of the Northern Region.

Quoting from a technical programme baseline study conducted in 2017, Mr Apeti told the Ghana News Agency during a field trip that the situation was not too different from Karaga where the rate was about 70 per cent.

Mr Apeti described the menace as cruel and criminal, noting that WVG and its partners would soon commence a number of activities to intensify the fight against child marriage in the Gushegu Cluster in the Northern Region.

“We have to tell the people the truth that child marriage is unacceptable in any form and must be stopped,” he said.

Mr Apeti noted that although World Vision had been implementing interventions previously to stem the canker in communities, support from institutions to deal with culprit was missing out.

He emphasised that WVG would roll-out another campaign which would focused on strengthening institutions such as the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service and other duty bearers to punish offenders to serve as a deterrent to others.

“Our efforts will be geared towards implementing preventive measures such as education that child marriage should not be seen as part of a culture,” he noted.

Mr Apeti disclosed that the campaign to be launched was tied to the child registration programme that seeks to ensure that all children born acquired a birth certificate.

“The essence of the registration programme is to ensure that all children have a legal document which can be used as a source of evidence in case the issue of child marriage comes up and there is a dispute about the age.

“There had been legal cases where children involved in child marriage have lost out because they do not have a birth certificate and one cannot tell the victim’s age by looking at the face,” he added.

The world Vision Ghana (WVG) recently launched a campaign dubbed: “End child marriage now! It Takes Us All,” with the aim of working with its partners in reducing the canker by 50 per cent in Ghana by 2021.

It also seeks to challenge social norms and eliminate harmful practices against children, improve policy implementation as well as strengthen institutions and faith communities to protect children from the canker.

According to UNICEF Ghana report, one in four women were married before the age of 18 and child marriage presented many consequences to young girls such as complications from pregnancy and childbirth being the leading cause of death among girls aged 15–19.

It also affected their wellbeing and reduced their chance of attaining education as most schools in Ghana will not accept girls that were pregnant and the girls were shy to go back to school after giving birth.

Source: GNA

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