As part of efforts to strengthen and accelerate national consciousness and action towards ending child marriage, the Government of the Republic of Ghana has recently launched the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa.
In a keynote address, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana, noted that, “Child marriage is the most obnoxious practice of the 21st century and a total violation of the rights of children, especially the girl-child”. The Launch of the campaign took place on the margins of the 7th African Conference on Sexual and Health Rights hosted by the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA).
The Republic of Ghana is the 11th African Nation to launch the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage. The Ghanaian launch of the campaign took place in Accra at the State Banquet Hall, and was hosted by H.E. Lordina Mahama, First Lady of Ghana and President of OAFLA. The First lady was among 11 first ladies present at the launch, which included the First Ladies of Ethiopia, Kenya and Sierra Leone. Other prominent attendees included Prof. J.S. Nabila, president of the National House of Chiefs, as the voice of traditional leaders. The Ghanaian First Lady noted the need for immediate and widespread action in addressing the implications of child marriage as well as the disempowerment of African girls and women.
Ms. Christine Muhigana, the UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa noted that keeping girls in school and allowing them pursue their dreams would contribute immensely to the socio-economic development of the continent.
On behalf of the African Union Commission, the Commissioner for Social Affairs, His Excellency, Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko congratulated the Government of Ghana on the bold step of launching the AU Campaign and a national strategy on ending child marriage. The Commissioner emphasized the need to ensure that the implementation of the strategy reaches the communities mostly affected by the harmful practice of child marriage and encouraged all stakeholders to collectively work towards assuring that the campaign launch delivers the required change and relief for young girls and adolescents.