Regional News of Saturday, 22 March 2014
About 407,000 young girls in Ghana, born between 2005 and 2010 are likely to be married by 2030.
The projections showed an increase of 47 per cent from the 2010 estimate of married girls, a report by the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), in Ho has shown.
The report said the increase in child marriages was compounded by high fertility and low mortality.
It therefore called for more sexual and reproductive health services, family planning and maternal health services in communities.
The report said child marriage occurred more frequently among girls who are the least educated, poorest and living in rural areas.
It said in 2008, women aged 20-23 and living in rural areas were about three times likely to be married or in unions before age 18 than those in urban centres.
The report said the urban-rural divide had increased 35 per cent since 2003, about 2.2 times and associated the lack of education to the prevalence of child marriages in Ghana.
“47 per cent of women aged 20-24 with no education and 42 per cent with primary education were married or in union at age 18, compared to only 15 per cent of women with secondary education or higher,” it said.
The report called for strategies for girls’ empowerment, change in social and cultural norms, legal reforms and policy action to reverse the trend.
It said it was necessary for the country to continue with the girl child education programme at least up to lower secondary level and institute programmes which could offer life skills, literacy, health information and services and social support to girls.