Early Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy are two issues that have regrettably come to stay in our local communities. They have become so common as to the norm in some places with rural and coastal Ghana recording quite alarming rates. It has not yet been established why their occurrence seem to be prevalent in these areas but research reveals that the situation curtails the education of victims and poses serious health challenges to a number of them.
The two problems usually occur in tandem either one taking place first leading to the other. Children who are given in early marriages are prone to early pregnancy in their teens while teens that get pregnant out of wedlock are forced to marry their sex partners which usually are earlier than approved ages. There are legislations protecting women and girls reproductively against such occurrences except that sometimes victims are oblivious of these and other times law enforcement agencies are indifferent.
On the backdrop of a successfully held congresses, and based on resolutions by various groups on different topics, ExLA Group Gender Group (EGGP) is running projects to directly implement the impact that is needed for the development of individual women and girls for national and continental development.
Known as Post-YAWC Projects, it will seek to drive real change at community levels through face-to-face engagements and stakeholders consultations. As part of the first series of projects under the scheme, EGGP will tackle the issue of “Early Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy” targeting coastal areas in Ghana where they are prevalent. The outcome from the presentation delivered by the group which discussed the topic during the congress gave a deep insight into the perpetrating damning effect they have on our progress as a continent. The presentations also revealed the deception that could arise in Africa’s current Gender Dividend and its expectations for development if we do not deal with early child marriage and teenage pregnancy.
Teenage pregnancy and early child marriage remain major challenges for girls to realise their full potentials as they grow into women.
We believe our ability to provide young people the tools they need for proper development would go a long way to impact our continent’s enviable resource base and potential for prosperity.