Gender activists on Wednesday called on the Ghanaian government to take urgent action to prevent thousands of young girls from being forced into marriage.

As Ghana joined the rest of the globe to mark the International Day of the Girl Child, a non-governmental organization (NGO), Girls Not Brides, is demanding that the government invest in solutions to end the practice.

This year’s theme focuses on empowering girls before, during and after crisis.

According to the 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, 21 percent of girls in Ghana are married before they reach 18, but rates are as high as 36 percent in the northern part of the country.

Ghana recently launched a national strategy on ending child marriage in the next nine years.

Under the Sustainable Development Goals, Ghana has committed to ending child, early and forced marriage by 2030.

“It’s time we turn this commitment into action by taking bold measures to overcome the complex drivers of child marriage in our country,” Aba Oppong, chairperson of the NGO, said in a release.

The J Initiative, a child and family focused organization in Ghana, has also appealed to the government to abolish taxes on sanitary pads which attract 20-percent import levy in Ghana.

It said the move would see more girls staying in school and increasing productivity at work.

United Nations Resident Coordinator Christine Evans-Klock said the day was an opportunity for all to collectively commit to actions that could make a difference for girls in Ghana. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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