CHILD MARRIAGE IS ALARMING IN UPPER WEST REGION SILDEP CEO BEMOANS

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The spate of Child marriage in the Upper West Region of Ghana is alarming CEO of SILDEP Mr. Moses Luri bemoans as he calls for joined hand to fight and stop the various issues affecting women and girls such sexual violence, exploitation, child marriage and any form discrimination and inequality. He said this in Wa on the International Women’s Day celebrations and indicates that girls often face various impediments which threatens the fulfillment of their potentials which has an underling root from culture and traditions, religion, politics and economic factors. Giving evidence about the growing trend of child marriage in the region, Hon. Moses Luri presented figures from the 2010 Ghana’s population and housing census data that shows 8220 children from 12-17 years of the 99,945 of the region’s child population are married. Child marriage in Upper West is evident, the 2010 population and housing census data Shows that for age group 12-14 years 11.18% are married, followed by age group 15-19 Years (17%). It is interesting to note that early marriages, which can be called child marriages–amount to almost one tenth (7.4%) of the married population. Many girls in Upper West Region are victims of child marriage he expressed. For instance 4,282 out of 8, 220 people are Girls representing 52%. About 200 (197) of them willingly get married without any customary rites, 24 of the get separated due one or two misunderstandings, 14 completely divorced and 43 of them get widowed while 7,942 of them live a relatively stable marriage. Even though Act 560 of 1998 makes child marriage criminal, most people are not aware of the provision in order to take action. Poverty, Curiosity, Societal orientation, Religion, Cultural practices, Peer influence, Irresponsible Parenting, and rejection by family members (death of parent) are the cause of this he stated. “The disproportionate burden is detrimental to the development of girls, which puts girls at risk of not reaching their full potential”. I want to use this platform to call on all stakeholders in the Upper West particularly; Chiefs, religious leaders, government agencies, the court; Ghana polices service, CSOs and the media to collectively enforce laws and policies to safeguard girls from child marriages in Upper West Region in particular.

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