The Wa East District Education Directorate and the Ghana Police service have rescued Ms Gladys Bassah, a 17-year-old Junior High School graduate from being given out for early marriage.
Ms Gladys, who became a victim of child marriage immediately after her Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), scored aggregate 18 and subsequently gained admission to read General Science at the Wa Senior High School (SHS).
Madam Rafiskata Mohammed, Wa East District Girls Education Officer who disclosed this during a community sensitisation durbar at Zinye, where the girl comes from, said the swift intervention enabled them to rescue the girl to take up her admission at the school.
She disclosed that in 2017, the district recorded a total of 41 cases of teenage pregnancies and child marriage, while three cases had already been recorded in January 2018.
Madam Rafiskata said child marriage was unacceptable in Ghana and urged the public to respect the laws of the country.
She noted that the District Education Directorate, in collaboration with the Ghana Police Service, has also rescued many girls in similar situations.
All the girls rescued, she said, have been sent back to school.
Madam Charity Batuure, Acting Upper West Regional Director of the Department of Gender lamented the rate of child marriage in the district especially in Zinye community, adding that the practice had become a blockade to girl’s ability to progress after Junior High School (JHS).
She said the issue had become a source of worry for the Department of Gender and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (GCSP).
“It is of grave concern to us as a department and a Ministry”, she said and stressed that to have an entire community where most girls fall victim to teenage pregnancy and child marriage, or become domestic helps was bad for the future of girls in the community.
Madam Batuure said the GCSP Ministry was spearheading a number of campaigns such as the Ghanaian Against Child Abuse (GACA) and the “He For She” campaign.
She explained that GACA was geared towards creating an enabling environment for children especially the girl child and to canvass for male support to take actions that would lead to empowerment and gender equality for both men and women.
She said the durbar was to afford them the opportunity to strategise as a community on how to reduce or eradicate all forms of negative practices and attitudes that hindered the growth of women and girls.
Mr Mumuni Dindie, Director in charge of Basic Education in Wa East said the rate of child marriage and teenage pregnancies in the Zinye community was alarming and called for drastic measures to be put in place by stakeholders to address the menace.
Naa Abdulai Alhassan, the Chief of Zinye thanked the organizers of the sensitisation durbar and gave his support to apprehend anyone who engaged in the practice in order to protect girls and their education in the community.