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Regional News of Sunday, 11 October 2015

Source: Gender Ministry

Ghana celebrates International Day of the Girl Child

Nana Oye Lithur, Gender Minister Nana Oye Lithur, Gender Minister

Sunday 11th October is International Day of the Girl Child. The day is set aside to highlight key issues that affect the welfare of the girl child and create awareness of the specific problems that girls in many parts of the world face.

The theme of this year’s celebration is The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030. The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection believes that as we reflect on the achievements of the past 15 years of the MDGs and plan Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the next 15, it is an opportune time to consider the importance of social, economic, and political investment in the power of adolescent girls. This is fundamental to breaking the intergenerational transmission of poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination and to achieving equitable and sustainable development outcomes. We are firm in our belief, that if effectively supported during the adolescent years, girls have the potential to change the world – both as the empowered girls of today and as tomorrow’s workers, mothers, entrepreneurs, mentors, household heads, and political leaders.

It is for this reason that the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is investing in eliminating certain challenges that militate against the power of adolescent girls for a more equitable and prosperous future, one in which half of humanity is an equal partner in solving the problems of economic growth, disease prevention, and global sustainability.

One of such challenges is child marriage, which is a situation where any child below the age of 18 is married off for various reasons, such as poverty, teenage pregnancy and betrothal. The prevalence rate of child marriage in Ghana ranges between 12.2% and 39.2%. The Ministry is concerned about the prevalence of this menace in our society as it poses a huge threat to the development of the girl child. As a result, the Ministry in partnership with UNICEF has held high level dialogues with traditional and religious leaders, engagements with senior media personnel and stakeholders, a youth dialogue and setting up of regional networks on child marriage to sensitise the public to the dangers of child marriage. A strategic framework is being developed as well. In December, the Ministry will launch the end child marriage project to kick start activities aimed at ending child marriage in Ghana.

Another focus of the celebration is to invest in puberty education, menstrual hygiene management, sexual and reproductive health education and services. UNICEF estimates that one in ten girls on the African Continent either misses days at school during menstruation or drops out of school entirely because they do not have access to appropriate facilities to manage their menstruation. Therefore, as part of activities to mark the day two main events have been planned. The first activity will be an engagement with 2000 school children in the upper primary, JHS, SHS from seven (7) selected circuits at Afram Plains in the Eastern region to teach them on menstrual hygiene management. The second activity will be to engage 225 girls in two correctional centers in Accra (Osu and Bostal institute) to climax the celebration for this year.

We wish all Ghanaian Girls a happy International Day of the Girl Child.

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