Three communities in Wa West District of Upper West Region have been honoured for their outstanding performances in protecting child rights and fighting child marriages in their areas.

The communities included Torkali, Dabo and Gaa. Torkali came first and was given a certificate of merit and 50 exercise books while Dabo and Gaa communities took away 40 and 35 exercise books and a certificate of merit each for placing second and third positions respectively.

Madam Matilda Chireh, the Acting Upper West Regional Director of the Department of Children during a flag raising ceremony at Torkali stated that the award was in recognition of the commitment put in by the communities towards eradication of child marriage.

She said a baseline survey conducted by Endogenous Development Services on the prevalence of child marriage in the Upper West Region revealed that it was most prevalent in six districts namely; Wa West, Wa East, Sissala East, Sissala West, Jirapa and Lambussie.

Madam Matilda noted that based on the survey, Plan International partnered the Department of Children, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to implement some strategies aimed at ending child marriage in the Wa West District across 30 communities.

Mr Sebastian Ziem, the Deputy Chief Investigator at CHRAJ, said the goal of the one year project was to ensure that children, families, communities and institutions were aware, willing and capable of taking actions that guaranteed the safety of children in the communities.

He mentioned strengthening of district and community level child protection systems and promoting community mobilisation to address negative socio-cultural attitudes and practices against child marriage as some of the strategies being implemented in order to achieve the project goal.

Mr Edward Laabir Sabo, the Wa West District Chief Executive (DCE) commended Plan International and its partners for bringing the project to his district to help in ensuring that child marriage was uprooted to save the future of the girl child in the district.
He pledged his support to the police to arrest and prosecute anyone one who either engaged or abetted the criminal act of child marriage in the district.

Mr Kamal Iddrisu, an Official of Plan Ghana appealed to the rest of the communities to emulate the example of the three communities especially; Torkali to ensure that child marriage became a thing of the past in the district.

Naa Walaman-i Danyagri II, the Chief of Torkali commended the Community Child Protection committee, the Teachers and the Child Rights Club for working closely with him to chalk the feat for the future of children in the community.

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