By Alimatu Fofanah
Kabala, June 23 (SLENA) - Vice
President, Ambassador Victor Bockarie Foh has emphasized that child marriage is
a violation of human rights and that its affects all aspects of the child’s
Child marriage, he said places children at risk for multiple
deprivation and hence constitute an obstacle to the achievement of nearly every
Millennium Development Goal.
The Vice President made this statement at the recent
commemoration ceremony of the day of the African Child at the Kabala Community
Centre on the theme “End Child Marriage in Sierra Leone”.
The theme, the Vice President noted, was more appropriate
and timely as the practice is still going on in some parts of the country.
He said His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has committed
himself and his government in addressing some of the social vices in society
which include but not limited to the National Strategy for the Reduction of
The Vice President went on to state that the increasing rate
of teenage pregnancy and child marriage top policy discussions at both
government and development partners levels.
The 2011 National Multiple Cluster survey, the Vice
President said, revealed that about 16% of children got married before age 15
and that about 58% got married at age 18.
The Vice President condemned the practice of child marriage
and encouraged all children with particular preference to the girls, parents,
family, traditional and religious leaders and stakeholders in the various
communities to commit themselves to end child marriage in the country.
June 16, 1976, Ambassador Foh recalled, was the day South
African children were brutally killed in an uprising while demanding for an
improvement in their educational system.
The commemoration of the day, VP Foh maintained, provides an
opportunity for the government of Sierra Leone and development partners
including NGOs and communities to renew their on-going commitment in improving
the plight of marginalized and particularly vulnerable children by ensuring
they are protected from all depressing customary and traditional practices that
will impede the accomplishment of their full potentials.
He said as a government, they will continue to prioritize
the human development of the people of this nation with special penchant to the
children as stated in Pillar 3 of the President’s Agenda for Prosperity.
He added that in Pillar 8 of the Agenda for Prosperity, the
government of President Ernest Bai Koroma has paid keen attention t and access
to all levels of education will be improved significantly.
Addressing the issue of children’s welfare and protection,
the Hon. Vice President said the government of His Excellency, through the
Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs has adopted a robust
Child Welfare Policy that would assist in strengthening the child protection
He concluded by expressing his gratitude to the Ministry of
Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs and all stakeholders and partners
for their tremendous efforts in making the occasion a success.
Speaking also was Country Director of Plan, Casely Coleman
who said the theme of the occasion accelerated their collective efforts in
ending child marriage in Africa, adding that his organization recognized the
importance of working in partnership with government and the specific role of
the organization in engagement with children, families and communities to
UNICEF Rep, Geofr Wiffin, in his address, emphasized on the
effect of child marriage stating that UNICEF will continue to work with the
Government of Sierra Leone in the fight to end Child Marriage.
addressing were the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs,
Alhaji Moijue Kaikai, Minister of Finance, Kaifala Marrah and Deputy Minister
of Youths who all made meaningful statements.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.