-To Tackle Teenage Pregnancy, Early Child Marriage
The National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia in collaboration with the Ministry of Internal Affairs with sponsorship from UNFPA & Swedish Embassy on Thursday, January 3, 2019 signed a communiqué to curb teenage pregnancy and end child marriage throughout the length and breadth of Liberia.
Gender Minister, Saydee Tarr
According to the communiqué, 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.
The signing ceremony which took place at the Chiefs’ compound on McDonald Street, in central Monrovia, was witnessed by Members of the 54th National Legislature, International Partners, Civil Society groupings, the Federation of Liberian Youth, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and other dignitaries.
Chief Zanzan Karwar, head of the Traditional Council of Liberia expressed delight 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.
Representing the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection Madam Deddeh Kwekwe, Director, Gender Based Violence revealed excitement in such insurmountable decision on the part of the Traditional Leaders of Liberia to have signed a communiqué aimed at curbing teenage pregnancy and child marriage.
According to Director Kwekwe, teenage pregnancy is an age 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, it is also imperative to focus on addressing the causes.
She named gender inequality, social pressures and coercion, sexual violence, poverty and illiteracy as some of the causes leading to teenage pregnancy and child marriage.
“For too long our girls have suffered and continue to suffer economic destitution and medical complications as a result of teenage pregnancy and early marriage,” Director Kwekwe added.
She informed the elders that Madam Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection is delighted about such landmark initiative and has pledged her ministry’s unflinching support in working with Chiefs to attain needed results and further assures that the Gender Ministry remains committed in providing psychosocial counseling and social protection for teen mothers.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection through its GBV Director also stressed that girls should be in school and not given as brides at tender age.