WUZDA Ghana in partnership with Girls Not Brides Ghana has celebrated the 2019 International Day of the Girl Child Under the theme “GirlForce, Unscripted and Unstoppable”.
The event which took place in Bolgatanga in the Upper West Region on the 11th of October brought together various members of the Girls Not Brides Ghana in a forum to discuss the challenges girls face in the process of their growth and how they can be mitigated.
This year’s theme “GirlForce, Unscripted and Unstoppable”, was focused on the strengths of the girl child and how she can become better if allowed to concentrate on her education instead of being given out for marriage especially at an age when she is not mature.
In a press release to mark the day, the Northern Zonal Coordinator of Girls Not Brides Ghana Hussein Rahman is calling for more attention to be paid to the education of girls to provide job-relevant skills and training, to enable them participate in the workforce and to move from dreaming to achieving a better future.
According to Rahman “poverty is a predominant factor of child marriage, particularly in the five northern regions and girls from poor families are more likely to become child brides than those from wealthier households.
If we really want to tackle poverty and end child marriage, we must give all girls the tools they need to invest in themselves. That means providing them with the quality education and training they need to earn an income and create a better future for themselves and their family”.
Twelve million girls are married off globally every year before they attain age eighteen, which deprives them of their rights to education, health and a life of their choosing.
However, in Ghana, 19% of girls are married off or get married before age eighteen, with research evidence showing that girls who attend secondary school are three times less likely to be child brides, have better economic prospects, have fewer and healthier children and are more likely to ensure that their own children are not married off before age eighteen.
Interim Executive Director of Girls Not Brides International, Rachel Yates in the statement intimated that investing in efforts to end child marriage is not just the right thing to do, but also contributes to a nation’s economic growth.
Northern Regional Chairperson for Girls Not Brides Ghana, Hajia Lamnatu Adam admonished girls to consider their strength as an unlimited asset given to them by God and not let anything stop them from living their dreams to the fullest of their potentials.
She said society can have its own definition of the girl child, but it behoves on her to either live what society wants her to live, or give her own definition and allow herself to flourish.
Programme Manager at WUZDA Ghana, a member of Girls Not Brides Ghana, Abdul-Karim Ziblim has however charged Civil Society Organisations to pay more attention to sensitization of religious and opinion leaders on the hazards and disadvantages of giving the girl child out for marriage at an early age.
According to him, the leaders of these groupings in the communities are those who tie the knots in the case of marriages and that if more engagements are done with them for them to realise the problems the girl child will face after she is married off without any economic, psychological maturity etc., he believes the menace of child marriage will be cut down significantly.
The international Day of the Girl Child 2019 highlights how with the right skills and support, girls can break barriers and build a better world for themselves and future generations, which is an all year round focus and objective for Girls Not Brides.
The network comprises over 13,000 civil society organizations with operations around empowering women and girls in a number of countries across the world.
This year’s event of the International Day of the Girl Child was organized with a close partnership with WUZDA Ghana, which provided some financial support with funding from its donor partner, Bread For The World in Germany.
Other partner organizations that played several roles in the processes leading to the day of the celebration include CIAHT, Songtaba, YOVI Ghana, Savana Signatures, the Pan African Organization against Violence on Women and Girls, among others.
The event which took place at the Bolgatanga Senior High School brought some of the girl students to share their experiences regarding the things that affect them emotionally and for them to learn what could make them feel an integral part of society, as well as how they can harness their full potentials to reach their goals