Ya-Na, Abubakari Mahama II, the Overlord of Dagbon has said he is committed to supporting government and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)in the fight to end girl child marriages in the Northern Region.
He said cultural practices that allowed child marriages were outdated and must be outlawed to give girls the opportunity to blossom to greater heights. He urged all stakeholders and chiefs in the area to collectively support in raising community awareness among men, to show that it was unacceptable to marry out underage girls.
The Ya-Na pledged his commitment on Thursday during the launch of a Child Marriage Video Documentary in Yendi organised by Renel Ghana Foundation (RGF), a Non-Governmental Organisation focusing on health, education and rural development, in partnership with Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition and the Northern Network for Education.
The documentary, which formed part of the RGF's ‘Let's End Child Marriage Now Project”, sought to raise awareness on the effects and dangers of early child marriages in society.
The documentary is translated in seven local dialects including; Dagbani, Gurune (Frafra), Gonja, Wale, Twi, Ewe and Ga.
The Ya-Na, who chaired the event also declared his intentions to liaise with some development partners to set up a fund to support females interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics programmes at the tertiary level, and called on well-meaning Ghanaians with the girl child at heart to support his plans to give them the opportunity to realize their goals.
Mr Nelson Richardson Mandela, the Executive Director of the RGF said the impact of the documentary was to echo the need for pragmatic steps to end child marriage and to increase advocacy against gender discrimination.
He said girls who married before the age of 18 were mostly deprived from accessing opportunities such as education and healthcare among others in society and often ended up into the cycle of poverty.
"According to the 2018, UNICEF global database, 21 per cent of women aged 20 to 24 years were married before age 18. A break through of the above reveals that 37,000 girls under the age of 18 are married each day; 23 girls get married every minute and a girl gets married every two seconds," he noted.
Mr Mandela said the RGF and its partners had come to collaborate with the stakeholders and people of Dagbon to develop pragmatic actions to end the child marriage canker and to mitigate its effects on survivors and victims.
Alhaji Hammed Abubakari Yussif, the Municipal Chief Executive for Yendi, commended the RGF and its partners for the sensitisation and gave the assurance of reaching out to rural populace on the effects of early girl child marriages and ensure enforcement of laws against it.