National laws are in place in Ghana to protect the rights of women and girls but are not thoroughly implemented and inequality remains very high is certain regions.
FGM has been illegal since 1994 but 4% of girls and women are still affected by the practice. In the area of highest prevalence as many as 60% of women aged 45-49 had undergone FGM but the prevalence was only 16% among 15-19 year olds. This indicates that people are choosing to stop the practice in some communities and no longer forcing their daughters to undergo FGM.
Marriage below the age of 18 is illegal in Ghana, though you can marry at the age of 16 with parental consent. However, 1 in 5 girls is married before the age of 18.
Association of Church Development Projects
FORWARD has worked with ACDEP in 2004 to build its capacity and provided training on integrating girls’ rights and empowerment into their programmes. ACDEP is now a well-established and independent organisation in Northern Ghana. FORWARD has partnered with ACDEP again in 2014 to research the situation of young female street porters, known as ‘kayayei’. Many young girls move from Northern Ghana to the capital, Accra, in order to become street porters. FORWARD will be working with ACDEP to carry out a baseline assessment of why so many girls are moving and what services are available, or may be lacking, to them in Northern Ghana.
Purim African Youth Development Platform
Purim African Youth Development Platform (PAYDP) is a small women-led nationwide network of girls groups that empowers and builds the capacity of girls, enabling them to be advocates against harmful traditional practises in their communities. FORWARD worked with PAYDP to carry out PEER research into issues affecting girls lives in Tamale, Northern Ghana. The issues that came out were of kayayei leading to dropping out of school, early pregnancy, also of polygamy amongst their fathers leading to less income to send girl children to school, also sexual abuse by teachers in schools came out as a major issue. This research informed the project approaches taken to working with girls and women in Tamale. The existing girls clubs and networks (consisting of hundreds of members all over the country) set up by the girls with support from PAYDP and FORWARD, supports other girls after school and in their community. These clubs and networks empower girls through education on rights, sexual and reproductive health issues and provide training and resources for income generating activities such as bread making and jewellery making.
PAYDP is based in Accra and FORWARD will be working with them to complete research into the conditions for the girl street porters working there.
Facts + Figures
Prevalence of FGM: 4% of women and girls have undergone FGM in Ghana (UNICEF 2013)
Campaign against FGM: 93% of girls and women think FGM should end (UNICEF 2013)
In the highest prevalence region 60% of women 45-49 are cut but only 16% of girls 15-19 (UNICEF 2013)
Legal status on FGM: Illegal since 1994
Prevalence of child marriage: 5% of girls in Ghana are married by the age of 15 and 21% are married by the age of 18 (UNICEF 2014)
Legal status of child marriage: It is illegal to marry under the age of 18 but you can marry from 16 with parental consent (UNDP 2011)
Maternal mortality ratio: 380 per 100 000 live births (WHO 2013)
Gender Inequality Index: 138 of 187 countries (UNDP 2013)