Child Marriage Still High in Northern Region – Otiko
The Northern Region has so far recorded a 39% increase in cases of child marriage which the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisah Djaba, has described as “totally unacceptable.”
She has therefore tasked Social Welfare Officers to put up their best in overturning the situation that is hampering girl child education.
She raised the red flag at a day’s sensitization workshop which brought together District Social Welfare Officers, Officers of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, and some selected rights abased Non-Governmental Organizations from the three regions of the north.
The workshop, which was held in the Sagnarigu Municipality sought to proffer solutions to the increasing cases of child marriages, female genital mutilation, and widowhood rites among others prevalent in the three regions of the north.
Otiko Afisah Djaba highlighted the significance of a new policy dubbed, “The Helpline of Hope Call Centre” seeking to track early warning signals on all forms of human rights abuse.
“Issues such as human trafficking, domestic violence, rape cases, child labour, early marriage, mental and psychological issues, special financial assistance, employment or seeking for ways to resolve them can be lodged through the Helpline of Hope Call Centre.”
She reaffirmed government’s determination to stop the wanton abuse of people’s rights, and urged the Social Welfare Officers to work hard.
“I am challenging you to walk the talk. I am challenging you to reduce the abuses of child marriage, female genital mutilation, widowhood rites, rape, domestic violence, suicide and all the other issues of discrimination and abuse that marginalize people, that weaken people, that makes people feel as if they are inadequate.”
“That you live in Nakpanduri or you are in the far ends of Fielmuo in the Sissala District, or you are in Sogakope, or you are in Dadientem. Never again should anybody say that I have no means to attend to a case or I am tired, and I am sleeping.”
The Minister said her ministry would soon institute an award scheme to reward hard-working Social Welfare Officers.
‘The awards scheme will begin this year, 2018, to reward hard work, and the winner will be given a pickup vehicle.
“We will only reward hard work. It will no longer be uninformed. This business of providing all 216 social welfare officers motorbikes has to stop.”
She encouraged the Social Welfare Officers to subscribe to social media use as the fastest channel for reaching out to the masses.
“Reach out to a lot more people in their catchment areas and educate them about the essence of social welfare and what we can do for them.”
The Help Line of Hope Call Centre is a channel through which citizens whose human rights have been violated or who have any grievances related to any of government’s flagship social protection programmes can call to lodge a complaint. The toll free number is 0800800800 or 0800900900.