Story By: Rahamatu-Lahi Zakaria || Sanatu Zambang
On Tuesday 13th April, 2021, World Vision in partnership with Swida-Gh held a high level regional dialogue on end child marriage in Damango at the Savanah Regional Coordinating Council on the theme Combating teenage pregnancy to end child marriage.
The event brought together, chiefs, queen mothers, Ghana education services, social welfare, religious leaders, Ghana education service, and Ghana health service, parents as well as the West Gonja Child Parliament. The stakeholders in the event discussed the causes, effects and the way forward.
The campaign coordinator for World Vision Ghana, Ms. Barbara in her speech said early child marriage is violence against children and it robs them of their dignity. She also highlighted the impact of the covid-19 on girls.
Saying, the number of teenage pregnancy rose and this led many girls into forced early child marriage. This menace she says continue the circle of poverty in our society and so there is the need to combat it. According to Ms. Barbara, it takes everyone in the community to end teenage pregnancy and tasked the traditional leaders to make byelaws to punish the perpetuators.
The moderator for the event, Hajia Halima Saeed Sagito, the executive director for Swida-Gh called on our chiefs, queen mothers, religious leaders and parents to make a pledge in the fight against teenage pregnancy and early child marriage in the community. She appealed to parents to be responsible and let their girl child finish school before given them out for marriage.
In one of the communities, the chief is building a junior high school for children to continue their schooling in the hope of inspiring them to see the need for education and also reduce school dropout, teenage pregnancy and early child marriage.
Some children from the West Gonja Child Parliament also made inputs by asking parents and the community to report any form of violence against children to the police and not the family head. They also asked the chief to help in making the community an environmentally safe place for children.
At the end of the program, the West Gonja Child Parliament was inaugurated and the child parliamentarians presented a communique to the Regional Minister. This communique contains policies and actions that they want duty bearers to perform to combat teenage pregnancy and early child marriage in the country.