Girls Not Brides Ghana, a group campaigning for an end to child marriage, has stated that ending the practice requires strategies for girls’ empowerment, especially girls at risk and in remote areas, change in social and cultural norms, legal reform, and policy action.
It added that proven solutions involve girls’ schooling and programmes that offer life skills, literacy, health information and services and social support, adding that married girls especially need access to sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning and maternal health service.
In a communique issued by the group to mark the 2017 International Day of the Girl Child, which was under the theme: “Empowering Girls: Before, During and After Crisis”, the group said, urgent action is needed to prevent thousands of girls being forced into marriage in the next decade.
The communique signed by the group’s chairperson Mrs Aba Oppong added that ending child marriage requires strategies for girls’ empowerment especially girls at risk at remote areas, change in social and cultural norms, legal reform and policy action.
“There is no more time for idle debates on this issue. We must take action now to eliminate child marriage, which violates girls’ rights and holds back development. That is why the partnership is holding ten regional stakeholder engagements on ending child marriage.
“But ending child marriage isn’t just the responsibility of government: communities, traditional rulers, queen mothers, religious leaders, youth groups and women and girls themselves all have a role to play,” it further said.
The group said, at its heart, child marriage is rooted in gender inequality and the belief that girls and women have less value than boys and men, adding “it often goes unquestioned as a traditional practice that has happened for generations,”
“Under the Sustainable Development Goals, Ghana has committed to ending child, early and forced marriage by 2030. It’s time we turn this commitment into action by taking bold measures to overcome the complex drivers of child marriage in our country,” it added.
It explained that child marriage has a significant impact on the economies of developing countries like Ghana, adding that a recent study by the World Bank and International Center for Research on Women found that the practice costs the global economy trillions of dollars.
The group urged parliamentarians, traditional rulers, opinion leaders, religious leaders, youth groups and women to step up efforts in ending child marriage.
Ghana | Atinkaonline.com