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The Bono Regional Directorate of the Department of Gender has appealed to the British High Commission and other development partners for financial support to prevent early and forced marriages in the region.

Mrs. Joycelyn Adii, the Bono Regional Director of the Department of Gender, made the appeal when the British High Commissioner to Ghana Harriet Thompson, paid a courtesy call on Madam Justina Owusu-Banahene, the Bono Regional Minister and interacted with the Heads of Departments and Agencies at a meeting in Sunyani.

Mrs. Thompson was accompanied on the visit to the region by Miss Zoe Robson and Cecil Adrian Sampson, officials of the Commission, to explore and get herself acquainted with the economic potential of the region.

Mrs. Adii, said early and forced marriages were resurfacing and gaining prominence in the region, as in 2023, the Department rescued five children being forcefully married off.

She said the girls were rescued from local communities in the Sunyani and Jaman South Municipalities and more of such practices were going on in many other communities on the blindside of authorities.

Besides the worst forms of human rights abuses the victims went through, early and forced marriages were contributing to high teenage pregnancies and school dropout among girls in the region, she said.

Mrs. Adii said inadequate funding to the Department posed a major constraint towards undertaking and intensifying outreach programmes, to sensitize the populace, to help control the situation.

She said sexual and gender-based violence remained another daunting challenge, which the Department needed more support to tackle, and appealed for increased assistance from all stakeholders to effectively tackle it.

Earlier, Madam Owusu-Banahene had told the High Commissioner that the Bono Region had numerous economic prospects in the tourism, cashew and poultry industries which remained untapped and encouraged the Commission to link the region to United Kingdom investors.

Mrs. Thompson said the UK was committed to boosting trade in Ghana through value addition and expressed the hope that her visit would expose her to the potentials in the region.

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