The District Social Welfare Officer for Asunafo South, Mr Frank Adjei has urged traditional leaders to abolish or modernise certain outmoded traditional and cultural practices that hinders development.
Mr Adjei described practices such as widowhood rites, early marriages, Female Genital Mutilations (FGM) and tribal marks as dehumanizing and should be stopped.
These practices he said if not stopped could hinder the country from achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) on Universal Primary Education (Goal 2), Promoting Gender Equity (Goal 3), Reducing Child Mortality (Goal 4) and Improving Maternal Health (Goal 5).
[contextly_sidebar id=”ggf2t8wBuNcP8FkmMQvHbLwf0UkrgCco”]Mr Adjei made these remarks when he addressed the chiefs and people of Anwiam, Kwabena Kuma and Adomakokrom, at separate durbars.
The programme which was aimed at empowering participants to be at the forefront of educating others against harmful cultural practices and Domestic Violence was organized by the Asunafo South District Assembly in collaboration with the Department of Gender and sponsored by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA).
According to Mr Adjei, the UNFPA report from 2000 to 2011 revealed that an estimated 34 per cent of women in developing countries were married or in unions before their 18th birthday.
He further noted that: “early marriage also pushes women further down the social ladder and reinforces their status as submissive, increasing their vulnerability to gender base Domestic Violence and also reduced health standards among victims.”
Mr Adjei therefore enjoined traditional rulers and opinion leaders to use their wisdom and authority to either abolish or modernize inimical cultural practices in their communities to pave the way for development.
The Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Director of the Department of Gender and Social Protection, Mr James Twene interpreted the legal implication of the widowhood rites and other negative cultural practices.
“The multiple human rights violations widows and their children go through in this part of the world in the name of culture has lead widows to poverty, migration, social oppression and many children are also being denied access to education and health,” he said.
Some of the widows who attended the durbar narrated their ordeals and called for an end to the bad cultural practices, to enable them contribute to national development.
Credit: Emmanuel Yaw Acheampong/ISD