She said Wulomei were considered as custodians of the highest power of the Ga land and could help protect the welfare of people, especially girls, who were victims of child marriage.
Speaking on the theme: “The Role of Wulomei in Ending Child Marriage in Ga Communities,” at a workshop in Accra, the sector Minister, Nana Oye Lithur, said priests and priestesses played major roles in the development of communities, and should be advocates for ending child marriage.
She said the national prevalence of child marriage in Ghana had not declined since 2011, remaining stable at 21 per cent as at 2014, adding that child marriage in the Upper West, Upper East and Northern Regions, had increased to 34 per cent.
“Child marriage remained a huge social issue, which had a lot of negative consequences on our society. It is estimated that one third of girls in developing countries are married before the age of 18 and one out of 9 were married before the age of 15. In 2012, and 70 million women in the world had been married before the age of 18,” Nana Oye. Lithur noted.
She said most incidences of child marriage in the country has resulted in the termination or delay of education, especially on the party of girls, verbal and physical abuse, health complications, and poverty of the child out of the marriage.
According to Nana Oye Lithur, with support from government and UNICEF her outfit had developed a national strategic framework on ending child marriage in the country.
She expressed worry that some traditional and culture practices supported child marriage.
“Often under the disguise of safeguarding the child against immoral behaviour and avoiding disgrace from teenage pregnancy, some traditions and religions promote child marriage,”Nana Oye Lithur said
She said Accra recorded more than 10,000 teenage pregnancies last year, and research showed that the rate of teenage pregnancies were higher in coastal areas than in the hinter areas.
Nana Oye Lithur said some families forced their teenage pregnant girls into early marriage to avoid disgrace and also to escape extra cost of the unborn child.
She appealed to wulomei to join the fight against child marriage and teenage pregnancy, to enhance the development of girls.
By Agnes Opoku Sarpong