Pornyamayiri Junior High School (JHS) put up an impressive performance to win a closely contested debate competition on the topic: “Ending child marriage in the Wa West District.”
The school scored 75.7 per cent marks to beat Baleufili JHS, which scored 72.7 to place second and Ga JHS, third with 71.3 per cent.
The all-girls affair debate saw contestants displaying their knowledge on what child marriage is; its causes and effect on victims, their families and communities; legislations against the practice and penalties for perpetrators; and the role of parents, communities, the girls themselves and other stakeholders on ending child marriage in the district.
Contestants of all three schools demonstrated good knowledge of all areas but Pornyamayiri JHS distinguished themselves by displaying extensive knowledge on the legislations against the practice and thus carried the day.
Contestants from the winning school took away three note books, a dictionary, a mathematical set and school bag each as their prizes while the second and third positions took home the same prize excluding the school bag.
The debate was organised by the Department of Children in partnership with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) with sponsorship from Plan International Ghana.
Mr Sebastian Ziem, a Principal Investigator at CHRAJ explained that the purpose of the debate was to expose the girls to the menace of child marriage, which was high in the district in order that they would know their rights and resist anybody who wanted to abuse such rights.
He said it was also to build the capacity of the young girls to be assertive in standing up for their rights and to help in educating their parents and peers for them to understand the consequences of the practice and help to stop it.
Mr Nelson Bamfo, Sponsorship Coordinator of Plan Ghana commended contestants of the debate and urged the girls not to keep the knowledge to themselves but share it with their community members for them to understand and help fight to eradicate the menace.
Madam Charity Batuure, Acting Regional Director of the Department of Gender commended Plan Ghana and its collaborators for what they were doing to impact the life of the girls.
She said such interventions were what the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social protection needed to achieve a better future for women and girls in the country.
Mr Haruna Sulemana, Upper West Regional Director of the NCCE said the programme had travelled far as they have been able to establish community base child protection committees and girls clubs in some communities and schools to help bring some of the issues affecting children to their attention.
Mr Petro Ankole, District Coordinating Director and Acting District Chief Executive said the Assembly had resolved that social events such as record dance and funerals among others that gave rise to negative social vices in the district should have girls banned from participating.