By Gideon Ebbah, GNA
Asuadei (C/R), June 28, GNA – World Vision Ghana (WVG) has expressed grave concern about the increasing rate at which adolescent girls are being given out in marriages in the central region.
According to the Organisation, research indicated that about 27 per cent of girls in the region married before they turned age 18.
Mr Joshua Baidoo, the Southern Regional Operations Manager of WVG, said there was the need for concerted efforts to stop that worrying situation in the region.
He was speaking at the launch of a project to end early child marriages in the Upper Denkyira West District, by the Diaso Area Programmes Office of WVG, at Asuadei.
It was organised by WVG in collaboration with the District Directorate of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Ghana Health Service, Christian and Muslims Local Councils and the District Assembly to create awareness on the menace and other forms of abuses that were hampering the smooth growth and development of children in the area.
Mr Baidoo, pointed out that early girl-child marriage brought out nothing but rather, catalysed the poverty cycle in families and communities and deprived the girls the opportunity to attain higher education, develop their potential and grow to become responsible citizens.
He said the constitution of Ghana did not permit early child marriages and enforcement of the existing laws could only be achieved when there was mutual cooperation of all stakeholders, including parents and family members.
Mr Baidoo stressed the need for all stakeholders such as parents, community leaders, leaders of faith-based organisations, local and school authorities, as well as state institutions charged to protect and promote the welfare of children to come together to collaborate efforts to stop all forms of violence against children, including early child marriages.
Mr Ibrahim Tijani, the District Coordinating Director said parents needed to be responsible in taking care of their children by providing their basic needs at all times.
He said adolescent girls, especially those in rural and poverty-prone communities were most vulnerable to all forms of violence and called on community members to strengthen efforts to protect girls in their communities.
They should also encourage parents to send their girl-child to school.
Mr. Irvine Aboagye, the Diaso Area Project Manager, said WVG was focused on raising the awareness among local people to understand the need to prevent and protect the girl child from early child marriages for a better future.
He said WVG’s target was to help end early child marriages in Ghana by 2021 and called for the rigorous enforcement of laws that protected children in the country.