The Action Aid Ghana (AAG) has asked African governments to do more to protect girls against practices inimical to their holistic development.
Mr Kwame Afram Denkyira, the Acting Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regional Programme Manager of AAG, a non-government organisation, made the call at a forum in Sunyani to mark this year’s celebration of the International Day of the Girl-Child.
The Young Female Platform (YFP) in collaboration with the Young Urban Women Movement (YUWM), civil society groups with support of the AAG organised the forum on the theme, “Our Time is Now – Our Right, Our Future.”
He expressed regret that the violation of the rights of girls were alarming in the continent and appealed to the governments to increase efforts to stem child and forced marriages, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and other outmoded cultural and traditional practices inimical to the development of the girl-child.
“These harmful practices are often rooted in discriminatory tradition, economic and religious biases against women and girls,” Mr Denkyira observed.
He expressed concern about sexual abuses among girls, thereby contributing to high cases of teenage pregnancies leading to high school dropouts among girls in Africa.
“Child marriage blocks girls from making their own life choices, thereby disrupting their education and denying them the full participation in socio-economic and political lives,” Mr. Denkyira said.
Ms. Kubura Yakubu, the Chairperson of the YUWM noted empowering young women and girls remained crucial to accelerating and sustainable development.
She called on the government to prioritise and increase investment in girl-child education for more girls to access quality education to better their lives.
“Young girls must also be empowered through vocational skills training and provided with start-up tools for decent work,” Ms. Yakubu stated and added that would greatly help in tackling girl-child abuses in the country.
Ms Bernadette Ekua Bedua Afful, the Programmes Manager, Africa ICT Right, an NGO explained “women are powerful, but exploring that power requires higher concentration on education and mentorship.”
Ms Bukari Hafiza Kaana, a student of Sunyani Senior High School and a member of the YFP told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the forum had inspired and enlightened them to understand that becoming successful in life depended on total belief and reliance on God, determination, and hard work.