Walewale (N/R), Oct 10, GNA - The Northern Regional Department of Gender under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) has sensitized traditional and religious leaders in the West Mamprusi District on their roles in preventing and ending child marriages in the area.
The sensitization formed part of a campaign dubbed: “Ending Child Marriage in Ghana”, being undertaken by the Department of Gender of MoGCSP with support from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Madam Bushira Alhassan, Acting Director of the Northern Regional Department of Gender, who addressed the sensitization forum at Walewale, said the practice of child marriage affected both sexes but girls were the worse victims.
Madam Alhassan said the practice also violated the rights of young girls to health, education, equality and non-discrimination, consensual marriage, employment and to live free from violence and discrimination hence the campaign to address it.
According to the 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, on the average, one out of five girls will be married before their 18th birthday.
According to the 2011 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, one in four girls are married off before their 18th birthday with the practice recording 39.2 per cent in UER, 36.7 per cent in Western Region, 36.3 per cent in UWR and 27.4 per cent in the Northern Region, placing the country among countries with highest prevalence of child marriages in the world.
Madam Bushira attributed the driving factors of the practice to poverty, gender-based cultural norms, as well as some traditions and customs that permitted girls to be given as gifts to big and titled men, or as means of compensation and settlement of family/communal issues amongst others.
She urged traditional and religious leaders to be at the forefront in efforts to prevent and end child marriages in the district, the region and the country at large to ensure that girls enjoyed their full rights.
Meanwhile, the Northern Regional Department of Gender also held a similar sensitization forum for traditional and religious leaders at Tolon to help fight the practice.