Child marriage and teenage pregnancy have become widespread in Zinye community in Wa East District of the Upper West Region impeding girl child education in the District.
Education officials who have expressed worry about the growing canker say in 2017, the District recorded 41 cases of teenage pregnancies and child marriages while three cases have been already recorded in January 2018.
The Acting Upper West Regional Director of Department of Gender, Madam Charity Batuure, told participants during a one-day community sensitisation durbar at Zinye that the practice undermined ability of girls to progress from Junior High School (JHS) to Senior High School (SHS).
She said the twin problem of child marriage and teenage pregnancy has become a nightmare to the Gender Department under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (GCSP).
“It is of great concern to us as a department and other stakeholders have an entire community where most girls fall victim to teenage pregnancy, child marriage and domestic house helps, hence, their inability to proceed beyond the JHS level,” she said.
Madam Batuure said the Gender Ministry was spearheading a number of campaigns such as the Ghanaian Against Child Abuse (GACA) and the “He For She” campaign to empower the girl child.
She explained that GACA was geared towards creating an enabling environment for children, especially the girl child and to canvass for male support to take actions that would lead to empowerment and gender equality.
The durbar created an opportunity for stakeholders to strategise as a community on how to reduce or eradicate all forms of negative practices and attitudes that hindered the growth of women and girls.
Madam Rafiskata Mohammed, the Wa East District Girls Education Officer, reminded the people that child marriage was unacceptable under the laws of Ghana and urged them to respect the laws of the country.
She said in 2017, the District recorded a total of 41 cases of teenage pregnancy and child marriage while three cases had already been recorded in January 2018.
In an attempt to fight the menace, she said, the Wa East District Education Directorate in collaboration with the Ghana Police Service has rescued some of the girls and sent them back to school.
Madam Rafiskata said the District Education Directorate and the Police intervened and rescued some brilliant girls from the Zinye community from early marriage.
Mr Mumuni Dindie, Director in charge of Basic Education in Wa East said the rate of child marriage and teenage pregnancy in the Zinye community was alarming and called for drastic measures to be put in place to address the menace.
Naa Abdulai Alhassa, the Chief of Zinye expressed gratitude to organisers of durbar and declared his full support to apprehend anyone who perpetuated child marriage.
He vowed to protect girls and their education in the community.