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Child marriages still disrupting education of girls in Talensi – District Girl Child Education Officer

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Child marriages continue to disrupt the education of girls in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region, according to Evelyn Abingde, the District Girl Child Education Officer. 

Speaking with A1 Radio’s Mark Smith on the Day Break Upper East Show on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child, Madam Abingde explained that child marriages have taken a new twist, with a good number of the girls voluntarily truncating their education due to marriage.

The new twist, Madam Abingde explained, is very worrying and poses significant challenges to stakeholders working to end child marriages in the district.

“As of now, we have realised that most of the marriages are not being forced by parents. They are mostly by the children themselves. You will see some of these girls just run [from home] and go and get married. Most of the marriages we are recording are the children themselves. “

“Sometimes the parents even make efforts to let these children come home or let her, the girl, know that it is not time for her to get married but the girls would say that they want to get married.”

The Talensi District Girl Child Education Officer recounted a recent situation where a 14-year-old girl, by herself, relocated from Nungu, a community in the Talensi district, to her ‘husband’s’ home in Kotintaabig, a community in the Nabdam district of the Upper East Region. The girl, even though persuaded to return home by the boy’s father, refused and, on several occasions, threatened to kill herself if forcibly evicted. Eventually, stakeholders reached a compromise where the girl stayed in the boy’s house, attended one of the community schools in Kotintaabig, and wrote her BECE.

The situation has been exacerbated by the new wealth acquired by many young individuals due to the exploration of gold in the area.

“You know this is a mining area. A lot of the boys, they even drop out of school and go to do mining or on holidays or after school. So when they get a little money, they come and then entice the girls. So if you, the boy, can give me Ghc10 or Ghc20 everyday and I don’t get that at home, I run and go and marry,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Madam Abindge still blamed the development of the lack of proper care of these girls by their parents.

AfriKids, a child rights organisation headquartered in the Upper East Region, has joined the call for a reduction in taxes on the prices of sanitary products.

Speaking on behalf of the organisation on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show, Raymond Ayinne, External Affairs Manager of AfriKids, mentioned that the consequences of the high prices of sanitary products for girls in rural areas are significant.

“Government has to take a second look at the sheer number of taxes on sanitary pads. I mean, we are not talking about dresses. We are not talking about hair braids. We are talking about something every woman needs at least once a month and she needs it for between 4 and seven days or more. Because of period poverty, you find girls putting on one sanitary pad a day. This is not acceptable.”

International Day of the Girl Child is an international observance day declared by the United Nations; it is also called the Day of Girls and the International Day of the Girl. October 11, 2012, was the first Day of the Girl Child. The observation supports more opportunity for girls and increases awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender. This inequality includes areas such as access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, and protection from discrimination, violence against women and forced child marriage. The celebration of the day also “reflects the successful emergence of girls and young women as a distinct cohort in development policy, programming, campaigning and research.”

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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