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Parents decry early child-marriages in Mion district



Despite early child marriage not being a problem in their community, parents in the Salanpkang community in the Mion district of the northern region have, nonetheless decried the practice and other forms of child abuse.

Community members say the practice besides affecting the education of children, is dangerous to the health of children below 18 years old, especially during child delivery.

At a day’s training for four households on child marriage and related issues, organized by NORSAAC at the Salanpkang primary school, community members expressed divergent opinions on the causes of child marriage.

The four households included a member of a child protection committee, a patron of the community school club and a community focal person. UNICEF has developed three child protection tool-kits for the community, children and the households for easy appreciation of early child marriage and issues affecting children.

While men are blaming the situation on wives for not listening to their advice, the women were of the view that irresponsible behavior of some men are responsible for child marriage.

The men expressed displeasure about how some women denigrate their children with insults and their usage of the word vagabond to suggest that a child has no father. They cautioned women to desist from such behavior.

According to the men,  insults alone don’t constitute corrective measures but if parents project positive signals, signals children easily take a cue from those and stop engaging in wrong doing.

The men also frowned on the physical abuse of children but admitted that a minimum beating sometimes serves as a corrective measure. The only way to address the problems confronting children, they observed, was only if couples came together to give children a good upbringing without which it will be very difficult to protect children’s interests.

They called on couples to exercise patience and tolerate each other in the interest of their children’s  future. The men made a passionate appeal to women to stop cursing children because such words hurt them in whatever they do.

Fuseini Abukari, a trainee, told Zaa news that until women realize the importance of education rather than the money some men use to hoodwink them, girl child education will continue to decline. ” My wife did not support my decision that she finishes her education before we get married,” Mr Abukari stated.

He explained that most of the early child marriages are as a result of couples not agreeing on one thing for the good of the child.

The women, on the other hand, laid the blame squarely on the men for not showing concern about the welfare of their children.

Nimatu Alhassan, a female trainee, told Zaa News that unlike in the past where men used to visit their wives’ rooms at least three times in a night to be sure they are indoors, it is not the case now and that contributes to the children going wayward.

She said asking about the whereabouts of children in the night, particularly girls, was a mark of responsible parenting on the part of the fathers. “We cannot be blamed entirely for the current problems facing girl child education in the country because some men have reneged on their responsibilities”, Mrs Alhassan said. She admitted that child marriage is dangerous because delivering and managing the home is a huge problem for teenagers.

The Zonal Manager in charge of Karaga development area at NORSAAC, Mohammed Ukasha explained that the training formed part of a strategy aimed at reducing early child marriages in 15 communities in the Mion district.

Under the training to end child marriages, 15 clubs have been formed in the 15 implementing communities so that the training could be replicated in other communities..

A member of a child protection committee at Salanpkang, Pastor Alhassan Sayibu said the community’s major problem is young girls moving to the south for kayaye business. Pastor Sayibu said the child protection committee is making frantic efforts to ensure that the practice is eradicated.

Enrollment level among girls in the community, Pastor Sayibu noted, has increased and he called on all stakeholders to up their game to ensure that the girls stay in school.

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