The legal age of marriage in Ghana is 18, but a staggering one in four girls from Northern communities are already married by then
Child marriage and adolescent pregnancies have significant negative consequences on girl’s physical and psychological well-being, and general development of girls including their education opportunities and future livelihood outcomes. Girls are marrying at a young age for different reasons.
Religious practice, social customs, and reinforcing links between families are just a few of the reasons girls are married so young, but for a family living in poverty, arranging a marriage for their daughter secures her survival and their own – reducing the economic burden on their household, and ensuring she is fed and supported financially.
Last July, working in partnership with NORSAAC, we launched our first of its kind ending child marriage advocacy and vocational training project, working with communities in Northern Ghana to educate schoolchildren and their families about the harm it causes when girls marry young.
40 young people in the rural communities have been trained in bee keeping, electrical installation, welding and fashion design skills. The opportunity to be equipped with skills and tools can enable young people and their families to make the decision whether a girl is married young or is able to stay with her family.
Visiting a local school as part of the community outreach (photo taken pre covid-19)
As well as vocational training, our project has been working with schools and communities to start conversations about the damage child marriage has on young girls lives and their families, and educate young people about safe sex. Community outreach work not only supports young people to understand their options, but also their families.
The project paused in April as Ghana went into lock down. Schools have now reopened in Ghana and the country maintains strict social distancing and compulsory mask wearing.
Posters using imagery to reach everyone in the community have been displayed amongst the community to spread awareness on the damaging consequence of girls marrying young.
NORSAAC have continued to deliver their community outreach training whilst supporting rural communities with the mean for people to wash their hands. This extraordinary project was generously funded by Kennington Overseas Aid.