Mr. Mohammed Bakor, Sissala West District Chief Executive (DCE) has expressed concern that over 80 per cent of adults in the district is illiterates according to data by the USAID Monitoring Evaluation and Technical Support Services (USAID-METSS).
He said it was not surprising that the District was also the poorest among the 11 districts in the Upper West Region as there was a direct relationship between education and poverty.
Mr. Bakor expressed this concern during the “Let Girls Learn; End Child Marriage Campaign” launched in Gwollu, by Community Development Alliance (CDA-Ghana) with funding from STAR Ghana, under the Gender and Social Inclusion program window.
The DCE noted that before the situation could be changed, there was the need for parents to prioritize their children’s education over any other thing and also make sacrifices to ensure that all their children especially girls went to school and stay till completion.
He said for him, educating the girl child was more beneficial because successful girls arguably took better care of their parents than the boys, because of the herculean task the boy child has in building his own family.
Mr. Bakor lamented over issues of child marriage in the District and appealed to community leaders to enact laws to punish perpetrators to serve as a deterrent to others in order to help end child marriage in the District.
Mr. Salifu Issifu Kanton, the Executive Director of CDA, said the high illiteracy rate in the Region, with women constituting the larger number, was the major reason why the Region had been tagged as the poorest in the country.
He said the provision of educational infrastructure would be useless, if girls would not be allowed to go to school and stay to complete successfully, against child marriage.
Madam Cecelia Kakariba, the Sissala West District Director of Health, disclosed that the district had no good record in the area of adolescent (14 – 19 years) pregnancies.
She said usually when they go for community sensitization on adolescent pregnancies; men often put the blame on the women for not bringing up the girls well, adding that until men accepted that they had a responsibility towards the upbringing of their children, adolescent pregnancies would continue to persist.
Madam Kakariba noted that teenage pregnancies were contributing significantly to maternal mortality in the District and the Region at large, as some girls often had their uterus ruptured during delivery because they are not matured enough to carry a pregnancy.
The overall goal of the project was to end the practice of child marriage while enabling girls to pursue their educational and vocational aspirations.
It will directly benefit 10 communities in the district namely Wasai, Duwie, Kuntulo, Du-West, Nyentie, Bullu, Kankaduali, Tiiwi, Desima and Timmie.