WUZDA Ghana has launched a new project aimed at contributing to ending the menace of Child Marriage in the northern part of the country and Ghana at large.
The project known as ‘After 24 Years before Marriage’ or A24Y, is a year’s pilot project with funding support from Mundo Cooperante in Spain.
The project seeks to enforce girl child education, which in the long run, will ensure that the girl child is not married off before she is ready and established to do so.
As the project title indicates, the girl child will only be married off or get married after she is 24 years, by which time the project believes she would have gone through education up to the university and possibly, is working.
This is to ensure she does not depend on her husband for everything she needs, which could make her a burden and largely bring qualms in the home as well as breed a larger effect for society.
Under the project, one hundred girls between the ages of 13 and 19 have been selected from the Prison School Complex in Tamale, northern Ghana, to receive empowerment on what the girl should and should not do, to allow for her to have a progressive education until after she is 24 years, mature enough and well established to raise a family.
During the launch of the project, the parents of the one hundred girls on the project were each encouraged to pay attention to the girl on what to do to support her go through education, give enough monitoring to the child for her to focus on her education and not allow for any bad habits that will draw marriage proposals from men to her.
Project Officer for A24Y, Obrani Lydia, admonished the girl child beneficiaries to focus on their schooling and not engage in acquaintances that will likely thwart the efforts of their parents in ensuring they have the education they need to the level they will be well established before thinking of marriage.
She also encouraged the parents to open up to their girl children, which will make it easy for them to talk to them about personal issues that negatively affect their growth and education.
The After 24 Years Project considers the things that impede the girl child’s punctuality and continuous interest in school and schooling in general, as well as how these impediments will be solved.
The girls and their parents will be required to append their signatures to a document christened the ‘Resolve Form’, to highlight the parent’s commitment to the education of the girl child, and the girl child’s commitment to adhering to the rules of guidance for her growth and education.
The girl child under the project will receive training on her menstruation and how to calculate and monitor her menstrual cycle, to ensure that she is able to prepare well enough for her period so that it does not interfere with her education.
As part of this training, menstrual hygiene wares would be distributed to the girls to help deal with the situation of lack of menstrual pads and panties, which sometimes negatively affect the girl child’s punctuality in school, especially towards the end of the month.
The girls and their parents will also be sent audio messages via phone on various topics that educate them on who the girl child is, how she behaves and how she is expected to behave, the things that affect her growth, what she needs to do to stay safe and be able to focus on her education and many others.
The one hundred girls were given a mobile phone each to aid them receive the audio messages from a platform which WUZDA Ghana has designed to send them information on sexuality, sexual health education and on child marriage.
The northern part of Ghana is rife with cases of child marriage, where girls under 18 are married off by their parents or guardians, mainly due to poverty and to cement family ties for influence for one family or the other.
The After 24 Years Project ‘A24Y’ which is a year’s pilot project was launched on 25th May, 2019 and will end in May of 2020.