Project title: Not Ripe for Marriage – Using Drama, Durbars & Cultural songs and Dance competitions to end Child Early and Forced Marriages.
Project region: 4 Communities in Tolon District, Northern Region, Ghana
Period of implementation: 04/2018 – 01/2019.
Local partner: PAORP-VWC (Pan-African Organisation for Research and Protection of Violence on Women and Children)
Our partners PAORP-VWC from Ghana and CREUSET from Togo met each other in October. They analysed possibilities of collaboration in fighting transnational child trafficking and early and forced marriage, i. e. via radio broadcasts in a common local language in the cross-border area. CREUSET also shared experiences in agricultural activities and other means of generating funds for child protection activities. Our president Horst Buchmann organised and accompanied the meeting in Togo before heading on to Ghana for working sessions with the PAORP-VWC team.
Although outlawed in Ghana, early and forced child marriage is still common practice, especially in Northern Ghana, where every 4th girl is being married before the age of 18. During an awareness-raising campaign on the dangers of child marriage in Tolon district, the community took initiative and asked for a follow-up meeting to draft By-laws that will help to effectively put an end to this hazardous practice. Our partner organization PAORP-VWC acted quickly to implement this meeting on short notice.
Peter Ndonwie, executive director of PAORP-VWC, reports:
“[The meeting] was highly successful with the participation of traditional and religious leaders, of representatives of women and youth groups, the director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Social Welfare District Director, District Assembly men and women, teachers and representatives of the Ghana Education Service (GES), parents and farmers – a cross section of Tolon Community members.
To be noted is fact that we gathered information on current challenges putting children, especially girls, at risk of early and forced marriage. Together with the community members we also explored ways and means to provide solutions to these challenges. The last phase of the meeting was geared towards putting together a list of proposed By-Laws which will facilitate and awaken perpetrators of child marriage to deceit from the crime of giving out girls of less than 18 years of age into marriage.”
A draft copy shall be presented to community leaders for review. Once approved and signed PAORP-VWC will proceed to publish this document.
In the Tolon District in Northern Ghana, 90% of the population live in rural areas. The average age is very low. Less than one third of the population is literate and only 37% of the literates are women. In this region, harmful traditional practices, in particular early and forced marriages are very common. Every forth girl in the region Northern Ghana is married before the age of 18. This goes along with sexual exploitation, child pregnancy as well as a high rate of school drop-outs among girls – with vast consequences. Despite national laws that outlaw early and forced marriage, traditions and habits lead families to ignore the age and the consent of girls when they are married. Thousands of girls are thus deprived of educational and professional opportunities as well as of an autonomous future.
Project costs: €12,099
This is a pilot project of KiRA with the new partner PAORP-VWC. The costs are covered by KiRA and PAORP-VWC.
Picture at top: sketch performed by children during a community event to raise awareness about the harms of early marriage. © Horst Buchmann
Kinderrechte Afrika e. V.
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Kinderrechte Afrika e. V.