School for Life, (SfL) a non-governmental organisation operating in the country, has indicated that 33,900 girls under 15 years get married annually in Ghana, contrary to the children’s Act of 1998.
Mr Abdul-Mumin Ahmed, Communications and Advocacy Officer of SfL told the GNA in an interview in Tamale on Wednesday that early marriages and child labour are seen as the commonest factors inhibiting children’s access to education, especially in the northern parts of the country.
He said data from a recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey shows that the national rate of child marriage is increasing.
“Girls are less vulnerable to early and forced marriages when they are in school where they learn their rights and empowering life skills,” he said.
Mr Ahmed indicated that based on the situation on the ground, SfL has entered into an agreement with UNICEF to implement a two-year project that would increase the learning opportunities of girls through the Complementary Basic Education model, so those who have dropped out of school would be reintegrated into formal schools.
He said UNICEF is funding a 330,926.06 dollars project, which would be implemented in Bulsa North and Bulsa South districts in the Upper East Region.
He said the project aims at mitigating a major cause of early marriages, adding that about 2,000 out-of-school children with girls being 50 per cent of the figure would be given basic numeracy and literacy skills.
Mr Ahmed explained that SfL would be working in collaboration with Girls’ Education Officers of the Ghana Education Service to create awareness and encourage change in the targeted communities on early marriage and other child protection issues.
He observed that parents would be unwilling to withdraw their girls for marriage after they have successfully been reintegrated into the formal school system.