Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana

by Hats Community Empowerment Programme (HACEP-Ghana)
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana
Beneficiary Rita
Beneficiary Rita
Dear Donors,
We are writing to you today to ask for your support in our mission to end child marriage in Ghana through education for girls.
In Ghana, one in three girls is married before the age of 18, with some as young as 12. This practice is harmful to the physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of these girls and has long-lasting negative impacts on their lives. It also perpetuates the cycle of poverty, as girls who marry young often have fewer opportunities for education and employment.
That is why we are committed to providing education for girls in Ghana, as it is a proven way to combat child marriage. When girls are educated, they are more likely to delay marriage and childbirth, have healthier children, and be active members of their communities.
However, access to education is a challenge for many girls in Ghana, particularly in rural areas. Many face barriers such as poverty, cultural practices, and a lack of schools and teachers. That is where your support comes in.
With your help, we can provide scholarships for girls to attend school, build and renovate schools in underserved areas, and train teachers to ensure that girls have access to quality education. We also work with community members to raise awareness about the importance of education for girls and the harmful effects of child marriage.
By supporting our efforts, you can help us make a lasting difference in the lives of girls in Ghana and contribute to the larger goal of ending child marriage globally. Your generosity will have a ripple effect, not just for the girls you are supporting, but for their families and communities as well.
Thank you for considering a donation to our cause. Together, we can create a brighter future for girls in Ghana and beyond.
Sincerely,
[HACEP-Ghana Team]
Beneficiaries in Reproductive Session
Beneficiaries in Reproductive Session
Beneficiary Asana a Brriliant but Needy Girl
Beneficiary Asana a Brriliant but Needy Girl
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Martha, Gynecologist at Tamale Teaching Hospital,
Martha, Gynecologist at Tamale Teaching Hospital,

Help us raise $500,000 to educate the next generation of 50,000 girls

Educated Women are Game Changers

Young women educated with HACEP-Ghana’s support are game changers – using their lived experience and community connections to lead the change they want to see.

Donate today, and join our national movement making Africa and the world a safer, healthier, more prosperous place through the education and leadership of Girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa.

Meet Young Women like Martha, in Ghana, our First True Success Story

“I used to learn in the middle of the night because we had one single battery-touch light and lived in a single room with my mother and 5 siblings, and it was noisy all the time. Affording 3 (Three) square mills per day was impossible for my mother, when we are sick, there was no money to go to hospital, there was no one in the family willing to help me pay my school fees since the passing of my dad. Men were putting pressure on me to accept their marriage proposal or have sex with them in exchange of small amount of money (Less than $1) to feed the family only for a day.

 

“With all these struggles and no money, I saw just a great impossibility of achieving my educational goals and the dream of becoming a medical doctor. I thought of stopping schooling, throw away all my educational ambitions, aspiration and my passion to be a Gynecologist so that I can help ensure that no woman dies trying to give life. In fact, my life was so chaotic to the extent that I thought of forgetting everything and get married, at least my mother will have 1 less mouth to feed and I will free up space so that my siblings could stretch and have a good sleep”.

 

I resolved to try one more time and started looking for support, and that was when I was referred to HACEP-Ghana Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana through education beyond secondary school.

After my application for support was approved through a rigorous selection process based on financial need, passion for education and the potential to be a Champion of Change to inspire other young girls and women in a similar situation like mine in my community and district, I felt truly satisfied that I had stumbled on the right foundation towards my educational journey.

The comprehensive and holistic nature of the support services offered by HACEP-Ghana’s educational programme inspires and empower girls and young women to realize that they can achieve their dreams, set almost any goal in their education and personal life and successfully achieve their full potentials.

“From then on, I knew I was going to be a doctor. The first female doctor from my district!”

7 years down the line, today, I have successfully graduated from medical school, completed my mandatory rotation and finally begin working as a medical doctor in The Gynecology ward at the Tamale Teaching Hospital since June, 2022.

 

Our regular year-end appeals for support and donations are a chance for us to show you the impact of your support and invite you to continue to support girls’ education across Africa.

Every December, we share an appeal like this for new as well as current beneficiaries for the beginning of new academic year in January. In the past, this has been for urgent relief following a crisis like the COVID-19 Pandemic where jobs are lost resulting in girls dropping out of school because parents are no more able to support their daughter’s education, they were already struggling to support them and provide food and healthcare needs for the family.

After the appeal we endeavour to feedback to donors and share our successes, providing updates on those featured in the appeal and the progress of any specific projects.

Donate to support girls and young women like Martah and other girls’ education to become Game Changers who will inspire the next generation of girls and young women to realize that they too can get the education they deserve because education is part of their fundamental human rights.

Links:

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Sarah  in Class
Sarah in Class

During the first quarter of 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, HACEP-Ghana Child marriage rescue committee held a community conversation at Dufaa a suburb of Tamale about eliminating gender-based violence and harmful traditional practices that stifle girls, women and young peoples’ voices and denying them education and their ability to realize their full potentials to combat and break the poverty chain in their communities that traps girls and women in a vicious cycle of child marriages. Sara, a brilliant but needy 13 year-old junior high school graduate awaiting her results to pursue secondary to tertiary education with an extraordinary passion in the aviation industry and a dream of becoming the first female pilot in Northern Ghana as a first generation of educated person on both her paternal and maternal extended family has just been married off to a 55 year old man through centuries old traditional/cultural practice deeply rooted in the Dagomba tribes in northern Ghana.

This harmful cultural/traditional practice allow any capable young man

Through series of meetings and dialogue with the chiefs and elders of the community, HACEP-Ghana moved quickly to rescue Sara to go back to complete her Education through our Financial Education Initiative (FEI) component of Protect 50,000 Girls from Child Marriage in Ghana which has consistently offered an opportunity to increase both the financial capability of girls and the awareness of their reproductive health, social and economic rights for over 5 years now.

The FEI provides relevant and timely financial education to girls and young women at key points in their lives, as part of a program to support girls with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to tackle decisions along their life's journey, whether this is personal, professional or in continuing education.

We know that access to financial and social assets is essential to helping girls make their own economic decisions, escape child, early and forced marriage that traps girls in a vicious cycle of poverty.

We also know that ending child, early, and forced marriage can unleash the full potentials of girls to not only survive but thrive in the face of difficulties they face in access to education and reproductive health care in northern Ghana.

Today Sarah is back to school to realize her dream, without your generous donation this will not have been possible. Thanks for been part of the solution to end child marriage in Northern Ghana.

Not until our project is fully funded, we are going to need your support in reaching out to like-minded change makers like you to support us by donating to our project. We are now part of a team of change makers committed to empowering girls and young women to achieve their full potentials thereby promoting gender equality which will ultimately contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) specifically SDG 5.

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Doctor Sherifatu
Doctor Sherifatu

Dear Donors,

You are invited to mark this monumental day with us. Today we celebrate women’s achievements from around the world and commit to making changes for girls and women that will bring about a more just and gender equal world.   

Our new vision statement is of an “equal world where all girls can thrive”.  Imagine for a second, what that world would be like. 

Girls and Young Women have long been eclipsed from leadership positions and opportunities. With your help HACEP-Ghana has been working to provide these opportunities and support girls and young women to become the leaders they deserve to be. Give a girl and a young woman a place at community, local, national and international level leadership training to empower them to participate in society and in decision making and ultimately achieve the full potentials: 

The Girls’ Leadership Seminar (GLS) was created to give girls this opportunity, past participants include Doctor Sherifatu Musah (Founder and Executive Director at AID4Girls and Women Deliver Young Leader, 2016 Cohort). Much of Sherifatus’ success in life, she credits to her journey with Girls’ Leadership Seminar and experience attending the GLS Seminar in 2020. Her experience resulted in a career in politics: 

Sherifatus’ story is phenomenal, and she is not alone. Thousands of girls and young women in Ghana have been able to attend The Girls’ Leadership Training Seminar thanks to the donations of supporters like you.  

You play a key role in changing our world. Girl Leadership Seminar continues to break bias throughout Ghana by teaching girls and young women these skills and teaching them to value themselves.  

Young women still need this opportunity today. As our world becomes more polarised, a leadership seminar where difference is celebrated not criticised is essential. You can be part of forging a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination.   

                                                  Give Girls in Ghana the chance to lead.  

                                                                         Donate Today

You can read more stories of inspirational women that have attended the Girls’’ Leadership Seminar and have paved the way to breaking the bias, on our website:  

                                                               Women breaking the bias 

                                                       Girls’ Leadership Seminar Stories 

It is your chance to sign up to our special End Child Marriage Online Event taking place from 8th March, 2022 to 11th March, 2022 at 5:00pm each day starting today to  comemorate the celebration of the International Womens Day 2022.

We will be joined by girls and young women from around the globe who are breaking the bias through their leadership. Hear their stories and how you can support their journey. 

                                                                  Sign up to the event

 

Thank you for choosing to create a world free of bias, 

Yours in Ghana Girls’ Leadership Seminar 

Ms. Sherifatu Musah Ph.D

Chair of the Girls’ Leadership Seminar Board 

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Ida (in white) and Friends
Ida (in white) and Friends

Girls in Northern Ghana want more rights; they want to stay in school; and they want the freedom to marry older. But where do you begin when you learn that your only role in life is to become someone’s wife? That you have to stop going to school as soon as you get married? Ida (17) learned the hard way that getting married young is not a good idea.

Darkness had fallen and outside a cacophony of geckos, crickets and frogs was clearly audible as Ida used her fingers to feel her way along the mud wall of her home. She stole away silently on tiptoes, because she didn’t want her parents to notice she was gone. Ida’s prospective husband was already waiting outside, his presence betrayed by the light of the silvery moon. He shuffled restlessly and grinned at her. She put on her slippers and shot one last glance at her childhood home, as she took his hand and walked into the darkness. Towards life as a married girl.

This ritual, called Nyug-Maabu (Betrothal at Birth), in which the bridegroom “kidnaps” his bride-to-be from her childhood home at night, is an ancient tradition among the Dagombas’ in Northern Ghana. However, it is also seen as problematic if the couple are still very young, despite the fact that the parents often approve of such a marriage.

It was later the same evening that Ida’s father, Joshua (45) noticed that his daughter was gone. Her room was empty. Just a few months earlier, during a village meeting of the HACEP-Ghana’s Protect 5,000 Girls from Child Marriage Programme Community Conversations on Child Marriage Joshua had learned of the dangers of child marriages. Now, he quickly realised that his daughter had probably been “kidnapped” and was about to get married. The next morning Joshua rushed to report to the local chief and the Children’s Rights Committee that, in accordance with the Dagomba ritual, his daughter had been “kidnapped”. “But she cannot possibly get married,” he pleaded, “she’s only 17 and she has to finish school!”

MyBody MyChoice Alliance

Local networks have been set up in three places in Northern Ghana under the name SheDecides. These networks, or committees, are a result of the collaboration between HACEP-Ghana and various organisations in Northern Ghana and the MyBody MyChoice Alliance. The objective is to protect girls and youngsters and inform them about their rights, their bodies and the choices they can make in their lives.

The MyBody MyChoice Alliance started up in 2016 and comprises Plan International Nederland, Amref Flying Doctors, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, KIT Royal Tropical Institute, Rutgers and the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In six countries the MyBody MyChoice Alliance is jointly tackling issues underlying girls’ circumcision, child marriages and teenage pregnancies by amongst other teaching young people about sexuality and their rights and by providing economic opportunities to girls and young women.

Control Over A Girl’s Body

In Northern Ghana, as soon as a girl gets married, she often has to stop school and her husband takes control. More often than not, she becomes the (too-)young mother of a child born into a new generation, destined to grow up in poverty. Alongside poverty, the taboo associated with premarital sex is a major driver of the high number of child marriages in Northern Ghana. It is known there as zina, which means illicit sex, or fornication. A sexual relationship endorsed by a wedding ring, however, is permitted (even if the couple themselves are still children).

Ida’s mother also married young, as did her grandmother and her great-grandmother. Neither of them had reached the age of 18. And that is also the fate of one in nine girls in Northern Ghana. Time might seem to stand still in Ida’s village, surrounded as it is by lush green hills and picturesque waterfalls. But behind the façade – just like on other regions in Ghana – a bitter struggle ensues over a woman’s body.

From A Girl To Someone’s Wife

In Northern Ghana, more than 11 per cent of girls marry before they are 18. According to UNICEF, the country is eighth in the list of countries with the highest number of child brides (India heads this list). Data has shown that while little has changed for 17- and 18-year-old girls, fewer and fewer girls are getting married before the age of 16. In 2019, the age at which girls are legally allowed to marry with parental consent was increased from 16 to 19. But parents can still apply for “dispensation” and receive legal permission for a child marriage.

Girls Pay a High Price

Mr Ibrahim, who heads the Children’s Rights Committee in Ida’s village, insists that child marriages give him a headache. “Young boys are wholly incapable of supporting a girl financially. It leads to many divorces. And while divorce itself might be cheap, the girls pay a high price. They are written off as second-hand and end up as spinsters. The stigma is huge.”

When talking to parents (such as Ida’s father), villagers and religious leaders, Mr Ibrahim also cites the medical argument against child marriages. “I explain to them that young girls’ bodies are not sufficiently developed and they are therefore exposed to the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth. That’s why it’s better for them to wait a while before getting married!”

First School, Then Marriage

Thanks in part to what Mr Ibrahim had told him, for Ida’s father it was now as clear as day: his daughter must finish school before getting married. When the concerned father had arrived on Mr Ibrahim’s doorstep that morning, following his daughter’s “kidnapping,” he demanded that the proposed marriage be cancelled. This is only possible through a special process called “Asadachi Labsibu”, a practice recently introduced byHACEP-Ghana and local authorities. The objective is to dissolve a marriage through a ritual that fits with the ancient traditions of Dagbon.

Ida admits that she was sad at first, and somewhat ashamed. But now she is so glad that she can go back to school, and she realises that it’s better for her not to get married yet. “I hardly knew him anyway; he had just said a few sweet things to me.” Today she’s wearing a T-shirt with a Superman emblem and proudly riding the red moped given to her by her father because she promised she won’t get married for the time being.

Asked whether she has any advice for other girls, Ida says: “Don’t get married if you are too young, because you will not yet be able to support yourself and your family!” And what about the young man that almost became her husband? “Well, I forgot about that after just four days!” Rather than become a housewife, Ida now wants to become an immigration officer. Just like her role model, her older sister.

This could not have bee possible without your tremendous support and donations, now Ida will finish secondary school and go on to get her tertiary education, get a job or set up her own business and employ other girls from low-income families, breaking the vicious cycle of poverty that traps girls in child, early and forced marriages in Northern Ghana.

Your Donations are Changing the Lives of Girls and preparing them to achieve their full potentials. It never ceases to amaze us that such a simple, yet direct solution like keeping girls in school beyond Secondary Education improves so much for girls and their families.

Until we are fully funded, there is still more work to be done and your being part of the solution to end Child Marriage in Ghana is remarkably amazing. Do share our project with family and friends so that one day when we look back at these amazing times, we can all say we did it, we can say we were part of history and God’s willing our grand children’s children will reap the benefits of the seeds we are sowing right now.

Thank you for being an important part of the Solution to End Child Marriage in Ghana

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Organization Information

Hats Community Empowerment Programme (HACEP-Ghana)

Location: Tamale, Northern Region - Ghana
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @hacepghana
Project Leader:
Abass Hamza
Mr.
Tamale, Northern Region Ghana
$70,356 raised of $500,000 goal
 
1,137 donations
$429,644 to go
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