Ghana: Obaapa Foundation Holds Durbar to End Child Marriage

Sokpe — A Non-Governmental Organisation(NGO), Obaapa Development Foundation, has held a community engagement with the people of Sokpe in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region to conscientise them on the dangers of child marriage.

The engagement which brought together queen mothers from across the country was part of activities to mark the Tortsogbeza festival of the people of the Sokpe Traditional Area.

It was on the theme "Queen mothers as advocates and community change agents: Addressing issues of child protection, adolescent sexual reproductive health rights and fight against harmful cultural practices."

Addressing the Women and Children's Day Durbar, on Thursday, on the topic "Taking action to end child marriage: The role of queen mothers" the queen mother of the Ada Traditional Area, NaanaKabukuorDumaaley I, charged the chieftaincy institution to guard against child marriage.

"As queen mothers, you must move out to the churches, mosques, market centres, schools and other social gatherings to champion the campaign against child marriage and other acts of violence against women," she said.

NaanaKabukuorDumaaley I said it was morally and legally wrong for traditional authorities to watch on for children to be married off to men who in some cases are old enough to be their grandfathers.

To the teenage girls who were also part of the participants, the Ada queenmother urged them to study hard to add value to themselves before venturing into marriage when they are legally qualified and cautioned parents against the act.

Executive Director of the Foundation and Development Queenmother of AfigyaKwabre in the Ashanti Region, NanahemaaAdwoaAwindor, underscored the roles queenmothers have to play in ending the menace which she said robs many young girls brighter future.

As queenmothers, NanahemaaAwindor said they should take up the duty of educating their subjects on teenage pregnancy, the need for the girl child to be educated, among other social interventions.

According to her, the teenage pregnancy and child marriage statistics in the country were on the increase which demands that all stakeholders took steps to stem the tide.

"To our girls, take time, make education your focus and be careful not to get yourselves into any trouble," she counselled.

Grace Karbo, the Integrated Programmes Director at World Vision, said every girl child must be allowed to have a full benefit of her potentials just like their male counterparts.

"These are girls who will change the dynamics of not only Sokpe but Ghana as a whole. We must make it our business to ensure that they are safe and protected from all forms of harm, danger, and violence and thus include child marriage."

The queenmother of the Sokpe Traditional Area, MamagaAdzesu II, on her part was grateful to the foundation for bringing the engagement to her area and pledged that her outfit would strengthen its role in educating her subjects on child marriage and other stumbling blocks in the path of girls in the area.

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