UNICEF intensifies campaign against child marriage

Madam Anne-Claire Dufay, Country Director, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Ghana, has called for an end to child marriages.

 She said in order for the girl child to explore her full potentials in life, there was a need to intensify advocacy by facilitating interaction among parents on the need to end child marriages.

She noted that educating the girl child was critical to the development of the society and the country at large; as such investing in education, was investing in the future of young people.

 Madam Dufay made these remarks during UNICEF and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) joint mission to the Krachi East District of the Volta Region.

The field trip aims at assessing KOICA-UNICEF interventions on adolescent girls and as well as serving as a platform to understand broader implementation context and exchange with municipality level stakeholders.

The KOICA-UNICEF “Better Life for Girls” (BLG) project is a three year programme which aims at providing adolescent girls in Ghana with knowledge, skills, and an enabling environment to enable them make informed decisions on issues affecting them and to help them reach their full potential.

Madam Dufay said what UNICEF was trying to promote through the BLG programme with support funding from KOICA, was actually to encourage girls to stay in school.

She said the visit would enable the team observe the activities and as well as interact with the girls to hear their own assessment of the situation; and the barriers that they faced.

She further added that the discussion confirmed what they already knew, however, some of the new elements were quite interesting, and it was appropriate to address such concerns along the way.

Mr Yukyum Kim, Country Director for KOICA, said the 5.2 million dollar project which spans 2017 to 2020, seeks to address the existing issues of gender stereotypes and social norms that disproportionally impacted the development of girls.

He said in that regard KOICA’s main interventions were related to empowering adolescent girls through education.

He explained that this would help keep the adolescent girls in school and also prevent them from being school-drop-outs.

Mr Kim was of the view that early marriage was the main obstacle for the girls to get better opportunities and achieve their dreams; therefore there was a need to educate all stakeholders, train them and provide more opportunities for trainings and job creation.

Mr John Kwadwo Chikpa, the Head Teacher of Yariga M/A Basic Schools in the Krachi East District, commended UNICEF and KIOCA on its child protection interventions.

He said the project was to sensitise the community on the need to refrain from dubious activities towards the girl child.

He also lauded UNICEF for occasionally supplying the School with reading and teaching materials.

He noted that since the introduction of the BLG programme there had been a massive change, as most of the girls have started coming to school.

He also appealed to benevolent individuals and organisations to assist the School to improve the academic performance of students living within the community.

 Source: GNA

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