The Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), a human rights and a social development non-governmental organization has expressed grave concern about the alarming rate of forced marriages in the Karaga District, a situation which impedes the education of the girl-child. Madam Agnes Gandaa, Northern Ghana Programmes Coordinator of ISODEC, who expressed the concern, said a survey conducted by her outfit revealed that many communities in the district still practiced forced marriages, betrothal and other outmoded forms of marriages, which undermined many females in the area from progressing in education. She said the culprits, who were currently facing difficulties in their operations, have adopted a practice of refusing to send their female children to school to avoid the situation where teachers would attempt to prevent them from giving out their girls for marriage. Madam Gandaa expressed the concern in Karaga, on Wednesday, during a day’s forum on forced marriages and enrolment of girls in school, as part of an implementation project of the Alliance for Change in Education (ACE).
The forum forms part of activities by the ACE and ISODEC to address the challenges of education in the Karaga and Gushiegu districts. She said forced marriages were not only a form of domestic violence but also deprived females from advancing from the shackles of poverty and called on stakeholders in education, development partners, government and parents to help address the issue. Mr Eten Simon, Focal Person of ACE Project in ISODEC, who presented the research findings, indicated that out of the 20 communities that the research was conducted, 95 per cent of the respondents admitted giving out their daughters for marriage in all forms, including exchange, pregnancy-induced marriages and betrothal marriages.