The Yendi Child and Vulnerable Protection Centre, under the Yendi Diocese of the Catholic Church, has sensitised residents of Sangbana in the Chereponi District of the North East Region on child marriage. Various stakeholders in the area including traditional authorities, Ghana Police Service, Department of Social Welfare, Department of Children, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice among others were the participants. It formed part of the Yendi Child and Vulnerable Protection Project implemented early last year to create awareness on the negative implications of child abuse within the Diocese. The project, funded by Kindermissionwerk, a German Catholic funding agency, was aimed at ensuring that children within the area were protected against any form of abuse to help them maximise their potentials. Reverend Father Gregory Dery, Director of the Yendi Child and Vulnerable Protection Centre, speaking at the event, underscored the importance of community support towards the growth and developme
nt of children. He called on community members and other stakeholders in the area to prioritise safeguarding children against child marriage, teenage pregnancy and forced marriages. He noted that child abuse was against the laws of the country and advised parents to desist from abusing their children. He said, ‘You could be punished by law if you continue abusing your children by forcing them into early marriages and denying them access to education.’ The Reverend Father Emmanuel Ujunwa, Parish Priest of Saint Brigid’s Catholic Church at Chereponi, said children were precious gifts from God and required special attention and nurturing to grow into adulthood. He said most of the violence meted against children was often done by relatives, parents, caregivers, and called for collective support to protect them. Mrs Akuffu Gifty, Girl-Child Education Officer at the Chereponi District Education Office, lamented over parental neglect in the area and said it had contributed to the rising cases of child marriages, sc
hool drop-out and teenage pregnancies in the area. He urged parents to discharge their responsibilities effectively to ensure that the children stayed in school to complete their education. Nanyame Kofi Malba VIII, Paramount Chief of the Chereponi Traditional Area, who was represented at the event, commended the Catholic Church for showing interest in the welfare and protection of children in the area. He expressed the willingness of the traditional authorities in the area to support advocacy efforts to safeguard children and other vulnerable groups.
Source: Ghana News Agency