Early marriage of young girls by parents has become an issue of concern especially in the northern part of Ghana, as stakeholders in girl child welfare put all hands on deck, with a goal to put an end to it as a contribution to national development.
The decades old practice is still being considered in many communities in the north as normal, with some parents saying they give their girl child out for marriage at young ages so that they do not engage in early pre-marital sexual acts.
It has however become imperative for stakeholders to device various strategies not only to cut down on early girl child marriage, but also to let parents and guardians alike know the need for the girl child to be prepared very well in all facets of life, making them grow well both physically and psychologically, before giving them out for marriage.
At a workshop organized by Moremi Initiative to launch a campaign aimed at ending girl child marriage, some selected young girls were given education on how important it is for them to be matured in age, grow physically and psychologically before they accept to be married off by their parents.
At the workshop, the launch of a project was also done to equip the various stakeholders with the needed skills for effective implementation and for positive outcomes.
Those given the training included parents, selected girls, teachers, NGOs and selected officers from the project implementing districts.
The districts in which the project will be implemented are Sagnarigu and Nanumba.
Representative of the international network “Girls Not Brides”, Abubakari Kawusada made a strong case against early girl child marriage and outlined the consequences that follow marrying off the girl child at a tender age.
Girl Child marriage is considered as marrying a young girl off before the age of eighteen, either with her consent or forcefully.
The specific objectives of the project “The Right To Be A Girl” include empowering school girls to remain in school as well as resist child marriage.
The project is expected to last nine months, as it takes off from August, 2018 and ends on the 31st of May, 2019.
It also aims at employing creative and innovative strategies to raise awareness at the community level on the negative impacts of child marriage.
It would also build proactive and vigorous regional movements of change makers to engage in the campaign against child marriage.
<img src=”http://www.wuzda.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/WUZDA-CARDS.png” alt=”WUZDA logo small” width=”151″ height=”197″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-5″>
WUZDA Ghana, as a key member of the “Girls Not Brides” Network, is expected to play a major role in the implementation of the “Right To Be A Girl” project.
Some of the contributory factors to early child marriage as established from the workshop include, Poverty, Peer influence, Broken homes, Poor parental care, Lack of education on the part of parents, Traditional customary, religious, and other social norm, among others.
Some of the effects of early girl child marriage are that it denies girls their right to education. It also produces School dropouts.
It contributes to Emotional trauma, Madness, Domestic violence or sexual violence, fallen standards of education especially in rural areas and in the long term, loss of lives or death.
Pointing to some of the things that the Moremi Initiative would have to do with the project to help end early girl child marriage, Sagnarigu Municipal Education Unit Coordinator, Rosina Zeinab Abdul Rahman said stakeholders and opinion leaders should be deeply involved from the planning stage through to implementation.
She also said educating parents and youth, both male and female in the implementing districts will help to achieve the project goals.
An introduction of an award and scholarship schemes for girls who stand out in practice and those who qualify for higher education, would motivate young girls to emulate each other’s good practices to ending early girl child marriages.