From Left: Mr Barima Akwasi Amankwah - National Coordinator, Ghana NGO Coalition on the Right of the Child and Rev. Doc Comfort Asare; - Director of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with the Office of the First Lady Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo and the African Union Commission is set to hold a conference on ending child marriage and other negative cultural practices.

The conference on the theme, “Enough of the Silence” will be organised from Thursday November 21 to 24 at the La Beach Hotel in Accra.

Speaking on Uniiq FM Breakfast Show, the National Coordinator, Ghana NGO Coalition on the Right of the Child (GNCRC), Barima Akwasi Amankwah said, the extent to which child marriage is embedded in our culture makes it very difficult to address.

He said it is crucial for all to come on board and be actively involved if the issues of child marriages and negative cultural practices are to be addressed.

He noted that the child marriage frame work has been developed to ensure that traditional leaders, parents and families are involved in curbing the practice.

He said because some communities are not bold enough to report such issues, the Ministry of Gender has come up with Child and Family Welfare Policy and integrated the Communication for Development to educate and empower people within communities.

“Parents should improve communication with their children. In Africa they say children are supposed to be seen not heard. It is time the children of today are given the opportunity to participate in activities in the home. Let them share their experience.Let us improve our communication with them so that when issues of abuse happen in the homes, schools and environment they will be able to share with you. Let us familiarize ourselves with their activities to be able to correct them when go wrong.”  he concluded.

For his part, the Director of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Rev. Doctor Comfort Asare said child marriage is still very high in Ghana. She revealed that last year alone, Ghana recorded 57,000 teenage pregnancies.

“The issue of child marriage is a big issue not only for Ghana but the African region as a whole” she said.

She appealed to parents to give birth to the number of children they can take care of rather than giving birth to many children and marrying them off at early ages.

Story by: Mavis Arthur

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