Ghana urged to step up action to eliminate child marriages

ACCRA, Oct. 12 — Gender activists on Wednesday called on the
Ghanaian government to take urgent action to prevent thousands of young
girls from being forced into marriage.

As Ghana joined the rest of the globe to mark the International Day of the
Girl Child, a non-governmental organization (NGO), Girls Not Brides, is
demanding that the government invest in solutions to end the practice.
This year’s theme focuses on empowering girls before, during and after
crisis. According to the 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, 21
percent of girls in Ghana are married before they reach 18, but rates are
as high as 36 percent in the northern part of the country. Ghana recently
launched a national strategy on ending child marriage in the next nine

Under the Sustainable Development Goals, Ghana has committed to ending
child, early and forced marriage by 2030. “It’s time we turn this
commitment into action by taking bold measures to overcome the complex
drivers of child marriage in our country,” Aba Oppong, chairperson of the
NGO, said in a release. The J Initiative, a child and family focused
organization in Ghana, has also appealed to the government to abolish taxes
on sanitary pads which attract 20-percent import levy in Ghana. It said
the move would see more girls staying in school and increasing productivity
at work.United Nations Resident Coordinator Christine Evans-Klock said the
day was an opportunity for all to collectively commit to actions that could
make a difference for girls in Ghana. – XINHUA