Some Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the Central Region have begun amending their bye-laws aimed at ending child marriages in the region.
The measures include a ban on camping of Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) candidates and a total ban on what is called ‘leavers jams’ that are organized for BECE graduates.
According to the Assemblies, apart from the many factors that cause teenage pregnancies and early marriages, the camping of BECE students and the leavers jams cannot be ruled out.
The Districts report that teenage pregnancy and its attendant child marriages involving basic school leavers are on the ascendancy.
UNICEF in partnership with INTERNATIONAL NEEDS GHANA is thus collaborating with 16 communities in the Central Region to fight the canker of child marriages.
At the celebration of the day of the African Child at Abeadze Charkor, some of the District Assemblies in the affected areas told Joy News’ Richard Kwadwo Nyarko how they intend dealing with the issues of Child marriage.
Speaking on the day of the celebration of the African Child, Municipal Chief Executive for Mfantsiman, Kenneth Kelly Essuman, said the Assembly has abolished the camping of BECE candidates and leavers jams that are organized for BECE graduates.
According to him, several girls get pregnant as a result of these programs.
“As soon as I assumed office, I ordered for the ban on these programs. In one of the senior high schools in the municipality, 11 girls who were admitted into the school, were found to be pregnant. This was really heart-breaking and it all started from such practices,” he alleged.
The Mfantsiman MCE stressed that the Assembly is fine tuning its bye-laws to review activities that promote such practices.
“We will punish all people including parents whose work promote early marriages and teenage pregnancies. We are happy all stakeholders including the traditional authorities are in agreement with us. We will end child marriages in our communities,” he stressed.
According to International Needs, child marriage limits opportunities of the career and vocational advancement of girls, as well as places girls at the risk of being victims to domestic violence.
Program officer at International Needs, Lily Clottey says, the organization will continue to partner with UNICEF and the various communities in the Central Region through increased education to end Child marriages.
“We are implementing so many programs that have begun bearing fruits. The traditional authorities and the parents are supporting us. Our aim is to reduce child marriages and teenage pregnancies,” she added.