GARCC organises dialogue session on child marriage, GBV

The Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council (GARCC), through the Department of Gender, has organised a dialogue session on ending child marriage and Gender Based Violence (GBV).

It was organised with funding from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Canadian Government to sensitise participants on their role in reducing GBV, the child marriage legal framework and the implications on the mental health of the child.

The workshop brought together identifiable groups such as Okada riders, apprentices of garage operators and Unit Committee Members at Medie in the Ga West Municipal Assembly, between the ages of 18 and 60 years.

Madam Matilda Banfro, the Greater Accra Regional Director, Department of Gender, said marriage must be consensual and parties must be of age.

She said child marriage occurred when either of the partners was below 18 years.

Madam Banfro said research showed that child bride rate in the Greater Accra Region was 11 per cent.

The Regional Director said girls in the rural areas were twice more likely to be child brides.

Madam Banfro acknowledged that there were legal frameworks which prohibited children under 18 years from marriage, but the children were powerless to refuse, when forced into it.

Madam Matilda Banfro

Madam Juliana Abbeyquaye, Eastern Regional Director, Department of Gender, explained that child marriage could be formal where rites were performed or informal where there was no rite, but partners cohabitted.

She said child marriage was mainly caused by poverty, low educational rate, strict adherence to culture and religion, low access to higher education and teenage pregnancy among others.

Madam Abbeyquaye said the most successful strategy to prevent child marriage was the investment in girls’ education and keeping them in school.

She called on community, traditional and religious leaders to work together to address gender inequalities and harmful cultural practices that contributed to child marriage.

Madam Jemima Marfo, a health officer, Ga West Municipal Health Directorate, said the health implications of child marriage included teenage pregnancy, urinary tract infection, obstetric fistula, cervical cancer and depression.

She said according to studies, three out of every five Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infected persons in Ghana were between the ages of 15 to 24 years.

Mr Rees Oduro, a Deputy Director, National Narcotics Control Commission, described drugs as any substance that brings changes to the body after using them either internally or externally.

He said any drugs taken without doctor’s prescription was drug abuse and people usually abused drugs for the pleasure, high performance, as stimulants and depressants.

The Deputy Director said research revealed that a married girl below the age of 18 years risked mental depression, which usually leads to her abuse of drugs.

By Priscilla Oye Ofori



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