52 Regions In Ghana Are Now Officially Child-Marriage Free, Increasing The Life Chances Of Girls And Women Across The Country

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52 Regions In Ghana Are Now Officially Child-Marriage Free, Increasing The Life Chances Of Girls And Women Across The Country

In the West African nation of Ghana, 52 regions of the country have been declared child-marriage free following a campaign by the Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA) and the International Child Development Programme (ICDP). These 52 regions account for a total of 84 regions the projects were set up in during 2016 and is being heralded as a great success.


UNICEF estimates that 1 in 5 girls aged between 20 to 24 in Ghana were married before the age of 18. This is often the result of girls becoming pregnant and being married off to avoid social stigma or because men with money are able to purchase the girls who are sold by their families and often believe it is their only chance of a better life.


Chief Executive Officer of ICDP, Joyce Lanyo, outlined the problem reporting to Global Citizen:


"Child marriage was quite predominant in the communities, but was a hidden agenda that was perpetuated by parents, mothers, fathers into the communities."


These anti-child marriage projects have sought to utilise cross-community support from community leaders, parents, legal services and the police to stop the practice. It is now hoped that going forward the practice will be halted across the whole of Ghana.


As part of this cross-community action, the GAA selected influential leaders called 'Champions of Change (CoC)' to operate as influencers within the community.


Plan International Ghana's Anna Nabere, outlined the role of these Champions of Change:


"The CoC lobbied other influential leaders with clear messages on ending child marriage; organized community durbars to sensitize community members; engaged with paramountcies, chief Imams, speaking on sensitive traditional and religious practices on various radio stations, churches, mosques, and at funeral grounds; sensitizing girls to remain in school and progress in their education as one way of avoiding child marriage; as well as engaging in house-to-house education. These activities by the Champions of Change built community solidarity and vigilance that stopped child marriage."


Child-marriage is one of the biggest things holding back poverty reduction and opportunities for women in the developing world. This is largely because these women often fall pregnant and instead of being able to continue their studies, go to work, or simply have their own lives, they are required to take up child-care full-time. It also means that they are unable to gain vital knowledge of the adult world that they can then impart on their own children, thereby creating a viscous cycle of poverty.


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Thinking Humanity: 52 Regions In Ghana Are Now Officially Child-Marriage Free, Increasing The Life Chances Of Girls And Women Across The Country
52 Regions In Ghana Are Now Officially Child-Marriage Free, Increasing The Life Chances Of Girls And Women Across The Country
In the West African nation of Ghana, 52 regions of the country have been declared child-marriage free following a campaign by the Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA) and the International Child Development Programme (ICDP). These 52 regions account for a total of 84 regions the projects were set up in during 2016 and is being heralded as a great success. UNICEF estimates that 1 in 5 girls aged between 20 to 24 in Ghana were married before the age of 18.
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