By Jerry Azanduna, GNA
Bawku (UE) Nov.11, GNA - Parents and other stakeholders in the Bawku Municipal and its environs have made a resolution at an engagement meeting to develop strategies to eliminate child-marriage in the area.
The meeting aimed at finding ways to discourage all forms of violence that lead to child- forced marriages as the issue had become one of the major threats to the development of girls in the area.
It was organised by the ‘Belim Wusa’ Development Agency (BEWDA) and funded by the Canadian government through the local initiative partnership on child marriage project in Bawku in the Upper East region.
The Stakeholders included; the Traditional authority, Politicians, Staff from the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Parent Teacher Associations (PTA), the Girl-Child Education Unit, the Social Welfare and heads of the decentralised Departments.
The participants urged District Assemblies to enact and enforce bye-laws to force parents to be responsible for the welfare of their children and strengthen the guidance and counselling units in schools.
The other strategies they resolved to take included; to empower girls, those in school and drop-outs, to further their education, the Assembly to enact by- laws to restrain children especially girls from attending night clubs and the traditional authorities and political leaders to desist from interfering in child marriage issues and allow perpetrators to be punished.
Mr Shaibu Abubakar, the Project manager of BEWDA in a presentation noted that poverty, tradition, religion, teenage pregnancy, low level of awareness, weak enforcement of the law and gender inequalities were the major causes of the menace and efforts had to be made by stakeholder to address them.
Mr Abubakar said the effect of child marriage did not only rest on the girl but had high negative repercussions on the community and country at large as the child would not be able to withstand the consequences of motherhood.
He said forcing a young girl to marry at an early age had its negative consequences as her education might be terminated and her risk of death and ill health at birth also high.
Mrs. Matilda Abolga, the officer in charge of the Girl-Child Education Unit of the Bawku Municipal Educational Directorate, urged girls to see their education as paramount and forge hard to give it a success, adding that they would only enjoy a fruitful marriage if they acquired good education.
Mrs Abolga asked the girls to learn more on the consequences of early marriage and educate their parents on it.
She cautioned Parents who indulged in such acts to desist from it as it was against the law.