September 28, 2021 5:22 pm

On Tuesday, 28th September 2021, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) through the Domestic Violence Secretariat (DVS) launched Ghana’s first ever ‘Domestic Violence Information Portal’.

This historic move demonstrates MoGCSP’s commitment to provide a one-stop-shop database on Domestic/Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Child Marriage in Ghana.

The Domestic Violence Information Portal was developed by the Ministry of Gender in collaboration with UNFPA to provide and enhance data sharing amongst all stakeholders in the fight against Domestic/Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Child Marriage.

Dr. Afisah Zakariah, Chief Director for the Ministry of Gender, said child marriage is a form of domestic violence that limits a young girl of her skills and abilities, resources, knowledge, social support, mobility and autonomy. She indicated that the Sustainable Development Goal Five has called for Gender Equality through putting an end to all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls.

In order to effectively address the issue of child marriage, the Ministry together with its Development Partners in 2016 developed a ten-year Strategic Framework and Monitoring and Evaluation plan to end child marriage in Ghana. The Ten-year Strategic Framework according to the Chief Director is being implemented by partners both in government and non-governmental organizations.

Dr. Afisah Zakariah opined that the importance of a credible information and data cannot be over emphasized as data is needed to inform future policy directions in the effective implementation of the 10-year strategic framework (2017-2026) and its Operational Plan.

“To complement national efforts by Government and Civil Society partners, the UNFPA Ghana Office, assisted the Ministry to develop the Information Portal in 2020” She said.

She therefore entreated partners and stakeholders to share information on programmes/activities, interventions to enable others learn and draw experiences and best practices to ensure that interventions are directed to the right target group.

According to the UNFPA Deputy Country Representative, Dr. Agnes Kayitankore noted that Child marriage remains widespread despite laws against it. She revealed that globally, one in every five girls is married or in a union before the age of 18. This, she said threatens their lives, health, and also limits their future prospects.

She added that girls forced into marriage often become pregnant while still adolescents, increasing the risk of complications in pregnancy and childbirth. These complications she said are the leading cause of death among older adolescent girls.

The Domestic Violence Information Portal according to Dr. Agnes Kayitankore serves as a central repository of up to-date knowledge on Child Marriage to the general public since it will help to ensure that policymakers, academics, practitioners, and the general public have access to updated and relevant information on the subject matter and use it appropriately.

As part of the Launch, a 7-member Editorial Team made up of astute professionals from academia, judicial, non- profit and other relevant sectors has been inaugurated.

The committee agreed to ensure that data and information uploaded on the portal is of international standards.

Mr. J. Oppong-Mensah, Chief Director of the Local Government Service pledged to ensure that his outfit will continue to deepen its collaboration with the Ministry to ensure the fight against child marriage at the local level

The Portal will among others,

* Provide relevant information on the interventions by partners and serve as a platform for increasing awareness about laws, frameworks as well as best practices on eliminating child marriage.

* Host relevant reports and publications that have been published by the government, civil society organizations and UN agencies on related issues

* Provide external links for accessing information and services including hotlines for reporting abuses, among others

* Support the country to report on its commitments at the international level on protocols and frameworks that have been ratified.

Source: MoGCSP