Ghana has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Programmes Director of Rights and Responsibilities initiatives Ghana Faustina Osei Prempeh , a female led non governmental organization that seeks to improve on the status of girls , women and persons with disability in the society , has called on government to strengthen existing child protection systems to end child marriage in Ghana. She also advocates for a stiffer punishment which will serve as a deterrent to perpetrators of child marriages.
According to her, the success of these efforts would depend largely on the political commitment of government and the provision of adequate resources to tackle the problem.
Faustina Prempeh , was addressing a scores of market women at Bekwai as part of activities marking 2019 International day of the girl child by Rights and Responsibilities Initiatives Ghana , to sensitized the market women of the dangers associated with child marriages , she expressed concern about the rising levels of child marriages in Ghana.
Rights and Responsibilities Initiatives Ghana is implementing the Girls Advocacy Alliance project GAA in Bekwai Municipal Assembly ,the project which was launched in November 2016 and is expected to end In 2020 is under the theme ” Advocating for girls Right ; Equal right and opportunities for girls and young women in Ghana. The project which was funded by Ghana NGO coalition on the Rights of the child is being implemented in Ten communities in the Bekwai municipal , namely Kwamang ,Sanfo , Adam , Ankaase , Asokwa , Bekwai Zongo , Nyameduase , Bogyawe , Asanso, Denyase and Kookyerekrom.
Child marriage is a marriage in which a partner is below 18 years of age. It is illegal in Ghana, except at 18 with child and parental consent.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 21 percent of girls in Ghana are married before their 18th birthday.
These rates vary greatly between regions and can be as high as 39 percent in the northern part of the country, but only 12 percent in Greater Accra region.
RIIG programmes manager , also stated that as part of its advocacy to end child rights violations and ending child marriages in Ghana , they undertake mentorship activities and capacity building for girls and also worked with religious and traditional leaders in rural communities to outlaw the practice in the traditional settlements .
“We believe to use this advocacy to create awareness about the CRC, and the various child rights violations in the country, as well as to mobilize stakeholders to do more in translating child rights into reality in Ghana”
Miss Faustina , also noted that the issue of child marriage was truly a global problem that cuts across countries, cultures, religions and ethnicities.
She stated that statistics showed that worldwide each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18, that is 23 girls every minutes and nearly 1 every 2 seconds.
She said the prevalence rate of child marriage was very high in Africa than in most areas. Of the 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage, 17 are in Africa.
The Programmes Manager also indicated that child marriage was very often fuelled by gender inequality, poverty, traditions, and insecurity.
She called for measures to tackle these problems seriously given the devastating impact on the girl child, society and the economy of the country.
She said the impact of child marriage on the girl child should be seen as a human rights violation that could produce devastating repercussions on girl’s life, effectively ending her childhood.
Faustina Osei Prempeh , also noted that child brides were not deprived of their fundamental rights to health, education and safety, adding that child bribes were neither physically nor emotionally ready to become wives and mothers.
She said child marriage usually destroyed the future marital life of the girl child as available evidence suggests that child marriage almost always ends in failure.
She said communities and nations equally feel the negative impact of child marriage, in that systems that undervalue the contribution and participation of girls and women limit their own possibilities for growth, stability and transformation.