Information portal on child marriage launched

BY: Rebecca Quaicoe Duho
Sarah Adwoa Safo- Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection.
Sarah Adwoa Safo- Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection.

A national information portal on child marriage has been launched in Accra as part of a campaign to end the practice.

The portal is intended to provide accurate data and information on child marriage in the country and to provide a link for people to report such issues in their communities.

Launched by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the portal would also serve as a reference point on child marriage for the country.

At the launch of the portal, the Chief Director of the ministry, Dr Mrs Afisah Zakariah, said the ministry and its stakeholders were working to ensure that the menace of child marriage was ended in the country.

Referencing the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2017/18, she said the Greater Accra Region had the least cases of child marriage of eight per cent, while the Northern and Upper East regions recorded the highest cases of 28 per cent each.

She said child marriage was an offence given that the 1992 Constitution pegged the acceptable age of marriage at 18 years, adding that child marriage had implications on the health, economic, social and the general development of the individual, the family and the nation as a whole.

Also, she said, child marriage limited a girl's potentials, her goals and also made her vulnerable to domestic violence.

Dr Zakariah called on stakeholders to help to end child marriage in the country.

Policies, programmes

The Deputy UNFPA Representative in Ghana, Ms Agnes Kayitankore, said child marriage was widespread despite efforts across the world to stop the practice.

She said at least one in five children were married or were in a union before they turned 18.

Such children, she said, were at a greater risk of losing their lives through complications during pregnancy or child birth.

"We at UNFPA promote policies, programmes and legislation designed to end child marriage and all other forms of harmful practices that disproportionately affect women and girls," she said.

She added that "the quest to end gender-based violence in all its forms is central to our mandate, which is anchored on our three transformative goals aimed at accelerating results and securing the rights and dignity of all by 2030".

She expressed the hope that policy makers and others would use the portal to get information that they could use appropriately.

She commended the ministry and the Domestic Violence Secretariat under the ministry for their effort at helping to stop child marriage and other forms of violence against women and girls in the country.