Otiko Djaba courts influencers to curb child marriage in Northern Ghana
The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Afisa Otiki Djaba, has expressed worry about the high level of child marriage in the country, especially in the Northern Region where girls are forced into marriage long before they reach the age of 18.
According to her, available statics show that child marriage is a reality and must be addressed quickly to enhance the rights of girls and women in general.
Data from the UNICEF indicates that more than 700 million women living today got married before their 18th birthday while more than one in three married before they turned 15. In sub-Saharan Africa, a staggering 40percent of girls marry before age 18.
The minister disclosed this when she met with the Northern Regional House of Chiefs as part of her three day working visit to the Northern Region to create awareness on the need to fight child marriage and trafficking and also to educate the traditional rulers on the Ghana National Household Registry Programme.
Madam Djaba appealed to the chiefs and queen mothers of the area to assist government to fight child marriage, child trafficking and child labour, which are issues affecting the secured future of the younger generation.
She said government was committed towards promoting child rights to ensure that the future leaders have access to quality education and welfare.
The minister further advocated for the enhancing of the capacity of the rural farmers to produce to meet the demand of the market and also for the school feeding programme.
According to the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) of 2014 conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) which provides the current statistics in early (child) marriage, one out of five girls are married before their 18th birthday in Ghana.
The chiefs and queen mothers of the Northern Region pledged their support and commitment to help end child marriage and labour which is jeopardising the future of the younger generation.
According to them, the high poverty and illiteracy in the region is due to the inability to educate the younger ones to take after the older ones affecting the economics of the region.
This, they argued, was driving the youth away from the communities to the urban areas to search of non-existing job which ends most young girls into teenage pregnancy and also contracting various illnesses affecting their lives.
Tong-Lana Yakubu Andani I of the Dagbon Traditional Council Karaga, who led the crusade to pledge commitment, stressed that educating the young girls especially reduce the high migration of the girls to the south to search for greener pasture that do not exist.