The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has expressed worry about the increasing cases of child marriage and teenage pregnancy in Ghana since 2014.

The UNFPA has therefore called for more measures to enable girls to reach their full potential.

Quoting figures from the Ghana Statistical Service, the Head of Gender Unit at the UNFPA, Dr. Doris Mawuse Aglobitse, says child marriage has increased from 14.1 percent in 2014 to 14.4 percent in 2017.

“Today, almost 80,000 girls in Ghana aged between 12 and 17 are already married or living with a man,” she said.

Dr. Aglobitse was addressing residents of Ayeduase in the Oforikrom Municipality of the Ashanti Region as they celebrated this year’s International Day of the Girl Child.

She said Ghanaians need to work together towards changing the narrative.

She cited COVID-19 pandemic, conflict and climate change as aggravating threats against girls over the years and therefore renewed commitments must be taken to end child marriage.

Dr. Aglobitse also advocated for girls to be given quality education devoid of harmful gender norms and stereotypes.

Regional Director of the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection, Farida Ahmed indicated girls’ empowerment as crucial element to the development of every nation.

She revealed that the Gender Ministry is working assiduously in partnership with other stakeholders to develop policies towards empowering girls to realize their full potential.

Madam Ahmed calls for a collective effort from various sectors to accelerate progress on gender equality in the country by ensuring that women participate in effective decision-making.

Queen mother of Ayeduase, Nana Yaa Saah also believes girls must be enlightened to prevent themselves from unwanted pregnancies and STIs in order to achieve their dreams.

She said if a girl child is educated, almost half of the population is literate and that will undoubtedly inure to the success of the country.

Nana Saah also notes that failure to address the needs and aspirations of girls will lead to unsustainable development and retardation.

The event which was on the theme “Our Time is Now- Our rights, Our Future” was held in collaboration with the Obaapa Development Foundation

Credit: My Joy Online

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