Former Minister warns against early marriage and teenage pregnancy
Due to the high rate of teenage pregnancies and early marriages in the Tonkolili district, the former Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, now the National Coordinator of Women in Action for Rural Development (WARD), Madam Rosaline Oya Sankoh, has warned Chiefs and parents in that community to discourage the act of teenage pregnancies and early marriages in their families. (Photo: Madam Rosaline Oya Sankoh)
Speaking at a day’s sensitization meeting at the Court House in Matotoka in the Taneh Chiefdom, north of the country, she said early marriage and teenage pregnancy were counterproductive and harmful to both the individual and community.
She disclosed that from a study they conducted in the district, it was discovered that two thirds of the fistula implications are caused by early marriage and teenage pregnancy.
Madam Oya Sankoh made reference to traditional rulers who often prefer to marry young girls at the age of ten to fourteen, which she said was against the laws of the country. She warned the chiefs and elderly men to refrain from such practices as it is very harmful to the girl child.
In his remarks, the Consultant, Mr. Mohamed Kellah from the United Kingdom, said rural women have always been oppressed by male dominance but thanked God that gender advancement is taking momentum through gender advocacy programmes. He maintained that the country was now moving away from some of the cultural barriers and male dominance through awareness raising and sensitization programmes.
He said WARD is providing seed rice, cassava tubers and vegetable seeds to the Koya Rural Community Women’s Group, the Taneh and Gbonkolenkeh women.
He noted that from their research and visitations in these communities they have discovered that there was a high number of teenage mothers especially in the Tonkolili district with very limited opportunities for these mothers to acquire skills that could increase their chances of earning incomes.
Other speakers were the Paramount Chiefs, Chiefdom Speakers, Mrs. Zainab Mansaray and Mr. Hassanatu Jalloh.
By Sheikh Ahmed
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