Public Agenda returns to one of the thorny issues facing children in Ghana today. It is child marriage. It is a troubling practice which is still encouraged by both parents and community leaders.
There is no doubt that most Ghanaians abhor this practice. Apart from the barbarity of it, it is also an abuse of children’s rights to which Ghana is an early signatory. Public Agenda is satisfied that this issue has caught the attention of our national leadership.
No less a person than former President John Mahama has spoken out against it. Recently, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection also spoke against it and promised to end it. NGOs like World Vision have also spoken out against the phenomenon. Undoubtedly, International organizations like UNICEF will have this on top of their agenda.
Public Agenda would like to add its voice to these statements. We call on the Government to take active measures and mobilize communities where this practice is high to end it. As former President Mahama has poignantly put it, “The practice of taking young girls out of school midstream and marrying them off mostly to men far older than them must stop…One of the most backward and unacceptable practice is child marriage. This must be a cause that we should take up with passion.”
Statistics collected by Children’s rights agencies put northern Ghana (the three regions) on top of the league table for child marriages. Obviously, these regions would like to be known for something more positively human than this. We believe that the chiefs, citizens, people and non state actors in these regions are capable of working hard to end it. It appears that they have a Government willing to support this noble cause.
We call on all relevant agencies to begin the process of a sustained campaign against this menace. World Vision International Ghana has launched a national campaign in Tamale codenamed, “End child marriage now! It Takes Us All.” Let us all with one voice support this campaign and save the girl child. Let us ensure that by the end of 2017, we would see a remarkable decline is child marriages throughout Ghana. We can do it.