A 16-year-old girl who was involved in elopement after her BECE final examination has been rescued by Norsaac in Kayoro.
Blessing (not her real name) was rescued from elopement by Norsaac in Kayoro in her native Upper East Region.
On the 21st of August,2022, the innocent girl had written her final BECE paper and was returning home from the examination center, which was located outside her community, and was forcefully whisked away to be married by a man in her community.
All efforts by the parents of the girl to rescue the adolescent girl prove futile. The case was then reported to the Paramount Chief of the traditional area of which the man still refused to release the girl to her family even after he was invited to the Chief’s palace.
Blessing’s situation is common among adolescent girls in the Upper East Region’s Kassena Nankana District.
After several unsuccessful attempts to retrieve the girl from the man’s home, the chief advised the family to report the situation to the appropriate legal authorities. With the work and visibility of Norsaac trained Legal Literacy Volunteers (LLVs) on the Power to Youth Programme, the parents sort their intervention to assist the family in reporting the case to the appropriate legal institutions in the district.
The LLVs advised the girl’s family and supported them to report the incident to the Chana Police Station. The said man was arrested along with his colleagues who accompanied him to forcefully carry the adolescent girl to his abode. After the man was arrested by the police, the adolescent girl was rescued and returned to her family, receiving some psychological and counselling support from the department of social welfare and Norsaac. Social welfare is the first point of call to assist the needs of children/adolescents in this situation.
The perpetrator was later transferred to the District Police Command in Navrongo for further action by the appropriate department (DOVVSU).
Mr. Issah Abukari, Project Officer at Norsaac, indicated, “We are very interested in this case, and we will closely monitor it to ensure that the culprit is dealt with by the appropriate laws to serve as a deterrent to others in the various communities.”
The Program Manager of the PtY program at Norsaac, Ms Yeri Nancy indicated “These are moments of joy for us on the project, the PtY program seeks to put an end to harmful practices such as Child marriage in all forms, and in this case elopement. It is a criminal act, per the constitution of Ghana and progressive chiefs and community members like the case of Kayoro will continue to set strides that will send a strong signal to future preparators. The story of Blessing (Not real name) is a victory to many adolescent girls in Northern Ghana.”
Role of Norsaac’s Legal Literacy Volunteers (LLVs)
Norsaac has trained LLVs in communities at the district level to engage households, adolescent girls/boys and community leaders on progressive social norms, SGBV and Unintended pregnancy. They are also to report and support victims of SGBV to appropriate authorities for legal action. The Power to Youth Program in Ghana uses Gender transformative approaches to engage, youth, state and societal actors as well as adolescent girls to tackle its three key issues: Teenage pregnancy, SGBV and Harmful Practices.