The Research and Counseling Foundation for African Migrants (RECFAM) has bemoaned the rising incidence of forced and child marriages in the country and called for closer collaboration between civil society organisations and the various public institutions to combat the menace.
It said the practice entrapped young girls and women into relationships that subsequently deprived them of their basic human rights.
These came to light when RECFAM in collaboration with the Nkwanta South and North District Assemblies in the Volta Region held a stakeholders meeting on how to combat child and early forced marriages.
The meeting was aimed at developing joint communication strategies and methodology to combat the menace of child marriage, which is a human rights violation. It often occurs in the shadows of poverty and gender inequality.
It is for this reason that RECFAM, an internationally recognised NGO, embarked on a mission to sensitise the most vulnerable communities in the Nkwanta South and North districts to the need to abolish the practice.
It was also to identify forced marriage children and reintegrate them into schools or offer them vocational skill of their choice.
Communities such as Mama Akurah, Lakpab, Ubunja, Sibi Hill top, Nabu, Tinjasi, Pibilla, Azua, Kabonwule, Abuyanya and Gbgesike in Nkwanta North were identified as most vulnerable communities leading in early forced child marriages in Nkwanta North District.
In the Nkwanta South District, the following communities were also identified, Alokpatsa, B-Zongo, Krachi-Akra, Pawa, Kwe, Ashiabie, Odumase, Ofosu, Nsodja, Gyato Akora, Partripo, Jumbo and Aleja-Akora.
It was realized that one out of every four girls in Ghana is forced to marry and RECFAM is out to rescue some of these vulnerable children and encourage them to go back to school or learn a vocation with the support from Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI).
An interim committee was formed to make entries into these selected communities and make their intentions known to the community people.
The committee members comprised of governmental agencies within the district assembly, DOVVSU of Ghana Police Service, NGOs, Traditional/Religious leaders and Opinion leaders.
The director of RECFAM, Mr. Mbinglo N. Alfred, addressing the stakeholders in Kpassa made it clear that Volta and Brong Ahafo regions are the fourth regions in the country with the highest rate of early child marriage statistically, and the Canadian High Commission was supporting the project to reduce the canker of early child/forced marriage in Ghana.
”We are working with various stakeholders in both Nkwanta North and South to address the issue of child and early forced marriage and child with a child to see how best we can educate these pro communities on the dangers of child/forced marriage effect on the children, the communities and the nation as whole. We will also identified and support some of the victims or would-be victims in a sustainable project so they can be better off tomorrow,’’ he said.