Ghana: Not Ripe For Marriage!

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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)

Project news: Community initiative to end child marriage

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 will proceed to publish this document.

Background

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.

Target groups

Direct beneficiaries:

  • 5,000 girls who were forcefully married or are particularly at risk

 

As intermediates:

  • 5 traditional authorities
  • 10,000 women in traditional and religious communities
  • 5,000 men and 3,000 boys who have decisive power as fathers, brothers and husbands

Project Activities

  • Social drama, Cultural Songs and Dance Competition as well as Community Durbars and Debates to raise awareness
  • Workshops and Seminars in which leaders and representatives learn to identify harmful practices and find solutions
  • Sensitization of children in After School Learning and Play Centers, where they learn about their rights
  • Collection of Traditional African Proverbs and Sayings that underline the cultural heritage that protects children’s rights

Expected Results

  • Expand education for girls, and improving learning outcomes for the most marginalized girls, up to secondary school.
  • Strengthen local child protection systems through community committees that address threats of child marriage, resolve them or refer the cases to district authorities.
  • Accelerate the registration of births and marriages.
  • Increase awareness and knowledge about Human right of children and the law.
  • Help marginalized communities dotted within target communities to enrol their children in school to acquire the least basic education.  

Funding

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.

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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.

Schillerstraße 16

D-77933 Lahr

 

Tel.: 07821/38855

Fax: 07821/985755

info[at]kinderrechte-afrika.org

 

Spendenkonto:

Sparkasse Offenburg/Ortenau

BIC: SOLADES1OFG

IBAN:

DE69 6645 0050 0076 0040 44

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