Several dignitaries including stakeholders of key government functionaries jointly signed a communiqué to curb teenage pregnancy and end child marriage throughout the length and breadth of Liberia.
According to a press release, the traditional leaders have unanimously agreed to put an end to these societal perils that have permeated their way in society thus leaving thousands of teenagers vulnerable to medical complications, pervasive poverty and low education. Signatories to the communiqué include the National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia in collaboration with the Ministry of Internal Affairs with sponsorship from UNFPA & Swedish Embassy.
The release quotes the head of the Traditional Council of Liberia, Chief Zanzan Karwar as being delightful in his institution to have joined the fight in eradicating unwanted and unintended teenage pregnancy by massive community awareness and an enactment of a bill to abolish child marriage in Liberia.
The signing ceremony on Thursday, January 3, 2019 took place at the Chiefs compound on McDonald Street in Monrovia and was also witnessed by Members of the 54th National Legislature, International Partners, Civil Society groupings, the Federation of Liberian Youths, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and other dignitaries.
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection was represented by Madam Deddeh Kwekwe, the Director of Gender Based Violence. Director Kwekwe evinced excitement in such insurmountable decision on the part of the traditional leaders to have signed a communiqué aimed at curbing teenage pregnancy and child marriage as quoted in the release.
She also used the occasion to inform the elders that the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Hon. Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr is delightful about such landmark initiative and has pledged her ministry’s unflinching support in working with chiefs to attain needed results in Liberia.
She furthered the assurance that the Ministry of Gender remains committed in providing psychosocial counseling and social protection for teen mothers throughout the country and to ensure that girls should be in school and not given as brides at such tender age, Director Deddeh Kwekwe concluded.
According to Director Kwekwe, teenage pregnancy is an aged old problem that deserves a consummated effort by all especially traditional leaders. The GBV director noted that while it is important to campaign against teenage pregnancy, she said it’s also imperative to focus on addressing the causes which include gender inequality, social pressures and coercion, sexual violence, poverty and illiteracy.
“For too long our girls have suffered and continued to suffer economic destitution and medical complications as the result of teenage pregnancy and early marriage”, Director Kwekwe added.