Sheikh Ilyas Umar, Director of Hablullah Islamic Institute, has called for collaborative efforts by all stakeholders to deal with child marriage in the country.
He said child marriage was having serious repercussions on the economic health and education of children, hence need to nip it in the bud.
He made the call while presenting at this year’s Northern Regional Teens Summit, held in Tamale, to seek the support of various stakeholders in addressing issues affecting the holistic growth and development of young people.
It was organised by Tiyumba Hope Foundation in partnership with Plan Internationa Ghana on the theme: “Reproductive Health: A Measure of Equity and Human Rights.”
It brought together key stakeholders and students at selected Senior High Schools as well as Junior High Schools in the Tamale Metropolis to solicit their support towards enhancing the well-being of young people especially their reproductive health rights among others.
Sheikh Umar said, “Islamic religion does not endorse child abuse, child marriage and other discriminations against children.”
He added: “The enemy of Islam is the ignorant Muslim, who channels falsehood. The Prophet Mohammed (SAW) is noted to have described women as precious as jewel. It tells you the respect and reverence Islam place on women.”
He called for reforms and attitudinal change towards the reproductive and health needs of the youth saying, “Regardless of our religious differences, there is the need for collective efforts that guarantee the rights of women
Ms Fadila Fusheni, Executive Director of Tiyumba Hope Foundation said: “Young people need support and opportunities to develop skills that will help them prepare against abuses hence the summit.”
She indicated that when the youth were equipped and empowered, it significantly contributed to the socio-economic development of the country.
She urged traditional authorities, faith-based organisations, and the media to use their platforms to sensitise members of the public against early and forced marriages.
Hajia Alima Sagito Saeed, Executive Director of the Savannah Women Integrated Development Agency advised young people to acquire requisite knowledge and information about their reproductive health rights. “Your knowledge about your reproductive health will help you demand appropriate policies and programmes from government and other stakeholders.” she added.
She urged young people to lead the crusade against all forms of violence, abuse, and discrimination against them saying “It is enough to know your reproductive health rights. It is also up to you to take the necessary steps through sensitisation and awareness creation to safeguard it.”
Ms Mohammed Rahama Wunnam, a pupil of Tamale International School commended Tiyumba Hope Foundation and partners for the initiative called on government and other stakeholders to implement policies and programmes that guaranteed their safety.