They have also been asked to demand from political parties specific policies outlined in their manifestoes, to ensure the safety of children in the country.
The End-Child Marriage Campaign Coordinator of ActionAid Ghana, a non-governmental organisation, Vera Anzagira, made the call at a sensitisation programme on child marriage, for traditional rulers in the Adenta Municipality, in Accra.
She said: “traditional rulers are the true representatives of the people and must ensure that the welfare of children is prioritised above personal gains”.
Ms. Azangira said the country could not witness any desired development when its future generation was maligned, stressing that, “politicians can only achieve their objectives when the majority of its population is well educated and free to live a dignified life”.
She disclosed that most reported cases of child marriage went unpunished as a result of customs and traditions that infringe on the rights of the girl-child.
Ms. Azangira said “It’s important we know the stand of our traditional rulers against this outrageous practice, to allow these girls realise their full potentials.”
She urged for intensified public education on child marriage and the creation of homes for children rescued from the practice.
“In Greater Accra almost every day we receive reports of attempted child marriage and in some cases, the girls really need to be taken away from their families to resolve the issues but because we are handicapped we are unable to”, Ms. Azangira bemoaned.
Mrs. Christiana Osei Bonsu of the Social Welfare Department in the Municipality, urged stakeholders to increase allocation of resources to the department, to enable it to discharge its duties effectively.
The NGO in partnership with UNICEF last year, launched the End Child Marriage Campaign, to reduce the incidence of child marriage, prevalent in Upper East, Upper West, Brong Ahafo and Greater Accra regions.
Statistics from the Ghana Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) indicated that one out of four girls in Ghana was married before their 18th birthday, and the number could double by 2030 if pragmatic steps were not taken to address the issue.
By Abigail Annoh