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Polygamy rife in Brong-Ahafo Region

By
Dennis Peprah, GNA
    

Banda-Ahenkro, (B/A),
July 21, GNA – Many girls from 10 to 15 years are into polygamous marriages in
Banda, Jaman North and Asutifi South Districts of the Brong-Ahafo Region.

These marriages were
orchestrated by parents of the victims and close relatives, ostensibly to
preserve traditional values and heritage, according to investigations by the
Ghana News Agency (GNA).  

The husbands of the
victims are mostly from 45 to 65 years and many of them are already married to
two or more wives with children and grandchildren.

Many of the marriage
rites of the girls were are held in secret.

These came to light at
training workshops for 30 Child Labour volunteers at Sampa in Jaman North
District, Banda-Ahenkro in Banda District and Hwidiem in the Asutifi South
District.

Each of the 10
volunteers, were selected from the communities where child labour, trafficking
and forced marriage are rife.

They were chosen from
Asiri, Kabile, Duadaso, Adadiem, and Jimini-Zongo in Jaman North, Akanyakrom,
Saase, Nsuo-Ano, Bui and Biema in Banda and Subriso, Woromumuso, Nkasiem,
Amanfrom and Obengkrom in Asutifi South.

The training workshop
was organised by MIHOSO International, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in
line with a year’s project the organisation is implementing in the three
districts.

The project being
funded by STAR Ghana is titled: “MIHOSO/STAR- Ghana: Responding to child
labour, trafficking and forced marriage,” is aimed at ensuring that the
practices are either alleviated or reduced to the barest minimum by the end of
May 2018.

Some of the volunteers
who spoke to the GNA on condition of anonymity said child marriage was rife in
the districts because of poverty and tradition.

They expressed
discomfort that girls who resisted such marriages were either molested by their
parents or were stigmatised.

The volunteers said it
was a taboo for a girl to fail to go into the marriage and the only way for her
to escape was for to run away from the community.

As change agents, the
volunteers observed that the task to end the practice was not easy and
therefore rallied the support of District Security Councils in the project
implementing areas.

Mr Pontius N Ninwiiri,
the Project Co-ordinator of MIHOSO, said the debilitating effects of child
marriage were enormous and appealed to the District Assemblies and community
members to help control the practice.

He said child marriage
was a serious offence punishable by law, and warned the perpetrators to desist
from the act or be prosecuted when caught.

Mr Ninwiiri said the
practice had caused psychological trauma of many girls and impeded their growth
and development.

He advised couples to
settle their differences amicably instead of going in for divorce, which could
ruin the future of their children.

The volunteers were
taken through child rights curriculum, child rights issues, conflict
management, group dynamics, community register keeping and basic laws
protecting children.

They would also support
the formation of District Child Protection Panels in each of the three project
implementing areas in accordance with section 17 of the Children’s Act 560.

GNA

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