UE/R: Six Girls from One School Married in A Term
A basic school in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality of the Upper East region has lost six of out ten pupils who got pregnant in the last academic term alone to child marriage, a bond generally considered abominable in Ghana.
The Project Director of Our Lady of Mercy Community Services (OLAMCS) disclosed this to Starr News on the sidelines of a one-day training workshop organised Saturday for patrons of peer educators clubs selected from 30 schools in the Kassena-Nankana West District and the Kassena-Nankana Municipality.
“In one of the schools, in just a term,” said Emmanuel Atiiga, unwilling to mention the name of the school. “Ten girls got pregnant. And out of the ten, six got married, because they were forced to get married. Is this not worrying?”
Themed “Empowering Club Patrons towards Effective and Efficient Management of School Clubs” and funded by STAR Ghana, the workshop also brought together resource persons from the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the Ghana Education Service (GES).
The event comes at the rear of the abduction and rape of 17-year-old schoolgirl at Dogninga this week in the Builsa South District by a 34-year-old son to a traditional chief in the region. The suspect, who was arrested Thursday, abducted the final-year basic-school teenager to force her into marriage. She was captured whilst her mother, a widow, was at a funeral ground in another community.
“As most of the pregnant girls cannot face the shame, they are forced to marry whoever has impregnated them. And some of the parents would say since they did not know about it, their pregnant daughters should go and marry whoever is responsible for the pregnancy,” added Mr. Atiiga whose non-governmental organisation has been organising school-based peer educators clubs within the Kassena-Nankana zone on Navrongo-based Nabina Radio to educate adolescents.
Train your Pupils to save Public Purse— CHRAJ tells Club Patrons
Delivering an address to participants, the CHRAJ Director in charge of the Kassena-Nankana Municipality and the Kassena-Nankana West District, Issahaku Abdul-Gafaru, highlighted the importance of peer educators clubs in the country’s anti-corruption war.
“When you get them young, instil the issue of dignity and integrity in them, when they grow with it, public purse will be saved. There is nothing good about corruption. So, if you instil that in them at this stage— from JHS, SHS to the university level— and they imbibe it, it would have a greater impact on them and society would be saved,” the CHRAJ boss said.
Speaking to Starr News, the Kassena-Nankana Municipal NCCE Director, Felicia Ajongbah, urged parents and guardians to be as friendly and as close as possible to their children. This, she said, would help curb the region’s alarming rates of teenage pregnancies, early marriage and forced marriage.
“Girls in basic schools getting pregnant and married is a general problem. We in the NCCE are very worried about it. We are taking it up, doing our education in the various communities. But we need the parents as well to help prevent these pregnancies.
“Some parents have never been responsible. When you leave children on their own, they can’t get good nurturing. They should be more responsible to their children. They should be their children’s friends. They should ask of their needs so that the children can disclose to them issues bothering them,” she stressed.
The participants are expected to share their challenges, needs and ideas with the organisers of the event through plenary sessions as part of the way forward in making the peer educators clubs more effective and their impact as far-reaching as possible.