A community in Ghana has for the past 25 years been unable to have a female high school graduate due to child and forced marriages.
The community called Sawoubea in the Wa East district of the upper west region has a very high level of child marriage, a trend that worries authorities.
A regional education official in charge of girls’ education, Annacleta Viiru, was reported by Ghana’s News Agency as saying that the main school in the community, Sawoubea Junior High School is yet to have its first girl graduate.
The school was established 25 years ago and the highest educational level girls in the area had ever attained was a class before their final year.
Viiru told the Ghana News Agency that once the girls reach the class before they prepare to graduate they are sent for marriage.
Madam Viiru was quoted as saying that “Last year, about eight girls were sent for marriage and the teachers reported” the issue and “we picked the matter up”.
No punishment for perpetrators
She mentioned that there were hardly any punishment meted out to those perpetrate the crime as they are often cautioned and made to sign a bond of good behaviour.
Viiru said “Recently, a 15 year old girl was given out for marriage but when the girl’s parents and the man’s people were questioned they said there is nothing wrong with that”.
Postures such as what Viiru narrated to the Ghana News Agency have made it difficult to deal with child marriages in most parts of Ghana.
Many girls in Ghana are denied access to education due to forced marriages on the blind side of law enforcement agencies.
According to UNICEF, 1 in 5 girls aged 20-24 years are married before the age of 18.
Child marriage is considered a violation of human rights and a harmful traditional practice affecting many girls.
The practice leads to numerous negative health and developmental consequences and limiting girls’ economic and individual empowerment.