Written by Irene Dede Sawerteh (Campaigns Coordinator)
On June 29th, 2018, World Vision Ghana joined its key stakeholders from government, INGOs, Donors, Traditional leaders, faith leaders and children to launch a child led research report on violence against children.
This was towards celebrating the achievements made after a year of running “It Takes a World” campaign to end child marriage.
The research which was conducted from November, 2016 to March 2017 by children of World Vision’s Kids Club in Akotoshie within the Ga West municipal focused on the causes and effects of teenage pregnancy, a major driver of child marriage.
According to the research findings, the child researchers recommended the need for more collaborative efforts to be done by all stakeholders to realise the goal of ending child marriage in Ghana.
Abigail, 14 and a member of the Kids club who presented the research findings highlighted the following as some of the responses from girls who had suffered from teenage pregnancy.
• “I needed money to register for my basic school certificate examination when I was in my final year and could only do so sleeping with boys to get money leading to pregnancy”.
• “For me, it was lack of sex education .Since I was not enrolled in school. I engaged in sexual activity and that is how I got pregnant”
Reverend Dr. Joyce Aryee, Executive Director of Salt and Light Ministries who chaired the occasion, bemoaned that, child marriage was one of the main causes that deprived girls of education and economic empowerment. She lauded members of the Kids club for conducting such a research and coming out with thought provoking findings which needed to be addressed by all and sundry.
In addition, Mr. Emmanuel Baba Mahama, WVG-Board Chair who launched the child led report, emphasized that, due to the pervasive nature of violence against children, it was critical for everyone to advocate against child marriage to make it a thing of the past. He said, “The campaign to end violence against children is such that no one person, organisation or entity can fight this battle alone irrespective of the resources available. It will take us all to end this social canker."
Continuing, Sarafina, 15, a young advocate of the Child Parliament in Savelugu, reminded guest that, when parents give their young children out for marriage and deprive them of education, their future becomes bleak. She said, “The cost of dowry or bride price cannot in anyway reduce the poverty of families who give out their children especially girls in marriages but rather entrenches them in a cycle of poverty.”
Stories of child marriage survivors moved aroused emotions among guest who further pledged and signed to support the campaign to end child marriage.
Photo credit: World Vision/Joseline N. Annan