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Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme (SILDEP) fights against early child marriage in the UW/R

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The Upper West Region is still grappling with alarming cases of child marriages. About 84 cases of child marriage and elopement were recorded in about thirty communities across two Districts and one Municipality of the region.

This year, another 75 children have been married off in the same parts of the region, namely Wa West, Sissala West Districts and the Sissala East Municipality.

The Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme SILDEP, Benin Yakubu disclosed this to Radio Ghana in Wa.

Mr Yakubu said in some cases before the Community Child Protection Teams could rescue the girls from forced marriages, they had already become pregnant.

The Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme SILDEP with Support from Plan International Ghana is implementing the Advocacy Alliance GAA project.

The project which started in June 2015 is a continuation of the Girls Power Project GPP which ended in 2015.

It is aimed at helping 30 communities in the Wa West District, Sissala West District, and the Sissala East Municipality.

The Monitoring and Evaluating Officer for SILDEP Benin Yakubu said in some cases, Community Child Protection Teams had to travel to the Southern parts of Ghana to enable them to return the girls to school.

The Executive Director of SILDEP Moses Luuri said it was unfortunate that child marriages still persist. He said the Child Protection Teams have been instrumental in the fight against child marriage.

The Headteacher for Buo Basic School, Godfrey Yuormwaa mentioned that 6 girls in his school who are between the ages of 12 and 16 were forced into marriage this year.

He disclosed that together with the Ghana Police Service, the District Education Directorate and Chief of the area, they rescued all 6 girls while 2 have returned to school. He called for stiffer punishment for parents of girls who force their children in marriage.

The Sissala West Police District Commander, ASP Victor Akakpo encouraged community members to share information about child marriage with the police so that the necessary action can be taken to curtail such activities.

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