Awutu Senya develops plan to address child marriage
Forty participants who attended a two-day capacity building workshop have developed a six-month action plan to address early child marriage and other forms of child abuse in the Awutu Senya District in the Central Region.
The participants were drawn from identified actors such as assembly members, civil society organisations, women’s and youth groups, among others in the five beneficiary communities, as well as representatives from some decentralised departments.
They were trained in early child marriage, its causes, effects, as well as how to prevent it in the district.
The objective of the project is to reduce the prevalent rate of early child marriage in the district through awareness creation among the people in the beneficiary communities.
The two-year project, which is being executed by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), is sponsored by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in two districts in the region, namely the Agona East and Awutu Senya.
The beneficiary communities in the Agona East District are Ninta, Mensakrom, Kenyankor, Oketsew and Duotu, while in the Awutu Senya District, the project is being implemented in towns such as Ayensuako, Papase, Senya Beraku, Bontrase and Ofadaa.
The action plan includes regular community sensitisation durbars on child protection issues, as well as early child marriage, community and house-to-house meetings and focus group discussions.
It would also involve interactions with pupils from the basic to the senior high school levels and education in churches and mosques, all tailored towards reducing early child marriages in the district.
Addressing the participants, the Central Regional Director of the NCCE, Mr Nicholas Ofori Boateng, said the project was intended to assist the girl-child to develop her talent and potential to the maximum level so that they would be able to take responsible positions in their families and the community.
He stated that in order to achieve the objectives of the project, it was incumbent on parents to embrace the idea of stopping child marriage and appealed to the stakeholders to make sure the plan was implemented to the fullest, and urged them to contribute their quota towards the successful implementation of the action plan.
He thanked UNICEF for the support as the project would go a long way to address early child marriage in the region and the nation at large.
The Awutu Senya District Director of the NCCE, Mr Andrews Ofori Larbi, told the Daily Graphic later in an interview that his outfit undertook a research that pointed out that early child marriage and child abuse were on the ascendency in the district.
According to him, some of the children interacted with during the research expressed interest in pursuing further education, hence the need to ensure that such children realise their potential.
He stated that the action plan, when well implemented, would ensure a reduction in early child marriage so that the girl-child would be allowed to stay in school to pursue her dreams and aspirations.
He noted that the situation could not be attributed to poverty but rather the lack of proper parental guidance that had forced some young girls into bad companies.
He advised parents to strive to provide the basic needs of their children, especially the young girls, so that they would not be compelled to seek financial and material support from male friends who may abuse them sexually.
He further admonished the participants to be worthy ambassadors who would propagate the plan to the target audience to eliminate child marriage in the district, and advised parents to make their homes comfortable for their children.