GHANA’S TRADITIONAL PRIESTS URGED TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST EARLY MARRIAGES

Ghana’s Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye-Lithur, has called on the country’s traditional priests and priestesses to use their influence as spiritual leaders to advocate against child marriage.

Noting that tradition and culture had been identified as among the major driving forces behind child marriages because of certain beliefs and practices which condone the practice, she voiced concern that most cases of child marriages resulted in the termination or delay of education, especially for girls, apart from verbal and physical abuse, health complications, and poverty.

The Minister was speaking to a group of traditional priests and priestesses on ending child marriage in the country. The engagement provided an opportunity to discuss and assess customs and traditions which condone child marriages and how to eliminate them.

She said the engagement was critical because the priests and priestesses played an important role in the communities and were great influence in ending child marriages.

Nana Oye Lithur said it was estimated that one third of girls in developing countries were married before the age of 18 and some before 15.

The national prevalence of child marriage in Ghana has not declined since 2011, remaining stable at 21 per cent as at 2014. For girls living in Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions (Provinces), this percentage had increased to 34 per cent.

The Minister explained that child marriages caused high illiteracy rates, especially among girls who fell victim to poverty, limited human resource, and health risks, resulting in serious implications for the growth and development of the country.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK.

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