Participants at the fair included children from Kpobikope M/A Basic School, Toman Sacred Heart Anglican School, Doblo Gonno Methodist School, Akotoshie M/A School, Samsam M/A Basic School and Oduman Anglican School in the Ga West Municipality of the Greater Accra Region.
The “End Child Marriage Campaign Project” which is being done in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) is ongoing in six regions namely Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Brong Ahafo, Cape Coast and the Greater Accra regions.
Since 2015, the effort has led to the formation of girls’ clubs in schools and helped educate girls on the negative effects of early marriages and trained many to acquire new vocational skills.
Madam Denise Dinah Oye Welbeck, the Municipal Director of Education of Ga Central – Sowutuom, said education is the key that opens many doors, however, emphasis has been placed on girls’ education because they are vulnerable to early marriages and pregnancies at an early stage that could destroy their future.
“Ladies I will plead with you, it is good to wait till the right time. In the Bible there is nothing about child marriage. Even Adam was of a certain age before God decided to give him a woman. You need to grow to a certain age before you leave your house to join your husband,” she said.
Madam Welbeck urged the students to attend to their studies with all seriousness saying; “take your books as your partners and learn hard so that you can be equal to the men in all fields.”
Madam She-Vera Anzagira, the Project Coordinator of the End Child Marriage Project, ActionAid-Ghana, said they have been working together with various institutions including the Social Welfare and Community Development Departments, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service and the Girl-child Education Unit of the Ghana Education Service.
Madam Anzagira said they have analyzed the rights and vulnerability of girl-child in marriages, hence, the formation of girls’ club in schools to build their skills and attitudes.
She said similar fairs would be held at in Ga East and Dodowa districts so that the girls could use such occasions to build networks among themselves, learn and support each other.
Ms Abena Anin-Adjei, a Coordinator of the End Child Marriage, ActionAid-Ghana, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, appealed for the resourcing of the child protection agencies to enable them carry out their duties effectively.
She said there is a law against child marriage but many are not aware of it hence the need to create awareness and the enforcement of the law.
Ms Anin-Adjei said the ActionAid-Ghana has engaged traditional, religious and opinion leaders to get them to appreciate the effects of child marriage on the child and the society.
“Some have started initiating bye-laws to prevent children, especially girls from moving around at night,” she said.
Nana Agyeiwah Koree I, a retired educationist who chaired the occasion, expressed gratitude to ActionAid-Ghana for the education on child marriage and its consequences to families in the society.