Institute bye – laws against child marriages – Assemblies told

The Upper East Regional Director of Department of Children, Mrs Georgina Aberese-Ako, has appealed to traditional rulers to team up with the district assemblies to institute bye-laws to help deal with the spate of child marriages and teenage pregnancies among the girl-child.

The regional director who made the call in Bolgatanga on Friday, as part of this year’s International Day of the Girl Child which falls on October 11 annually,    expressed concern about the spate of teenage pregnancies, Female Genital Mutilation, child trafficking and child labour, among others in the region, and urged all stakeholders, particularly traditional rulers to join in the fight against the canker.

The occasion on the theme “With her; A skilled girl force,” attracted a lot of stakeholders including parents, women groups, health professionals and some traditional and religious leaders.

Mrs Aberese-Ako stressed that traditional rulers apart from wielding much power and influence in their respective communities, they were part of the Child Welfare Policy Committee and therefore could play leading roles by ensuring that byelaws were instituted to deal with all sorts of exploitation meted against innocent children.

The regional director attributed the spate of child marriages and teenage pregnancies including other exploitation of children partly to the shirking of responsibility of some parents and appealed to such parents to make amends.

The regional director who  mentioned that this year’s theme  fits into the Sustainable Development Goals with emphasis on  leaving nobody behind, stated that the  empowerment of  the girl-child with more skills and education would help fight against exploitation of them.

She cited instances where some parents fail to provide basic things like pants and menstrual pads for their daughters forcing them to fall prey to men who provided for them to exploit them.

She told parents that with a lot of the government social intervention programmes such as the Free Senior High School, the burden of parents had been reduced and appealed to them to provide the basic needs for their children particularly the girl-child.

“Every child is vulnerable but the girl child is the most vulnerable.  I urge everyone to empower the girl-child through education and skills acquisition and as parents – monitor, advice and make friends with them to enable them confide in you about issues affecting them”, she added.

FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA

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