Atiwa: Churches officiating weddings of children an isolated case – Solidaridad

The programmes Manager for Solidaridad – an international civil society organisation – has clarified that activities of churches in Atiwa East in the Eastern Region facilitating marriages of children is an isolated case and not a general issue in illegal mining-prone areas.

The Ghanaian Times in its Wednesday edition reported that activities of churches and other religious centres in mining communities have been cited as being one of the promoters of early marriage and child labour in the communities.

According to the report, since teenagers could afford flashy marriages and naming ceremonies, church leaders in mineral communities allow and officiate weddings of persons under the age of 18 and naming ceremonies of children of underage parents.

The report further stated that such social events make illegal mining activities attractive to the teens and the children in the mining communities had led to social competition among them.

The research, which was conducted within a four-month period between October 2022 and January this year, had respondents mainly from Atiwa East District in the Eastern Region as well as inputs from other stakeholders in mining communities across the country.

But speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Wednesday, Yaw Britwum Opoku said more studies are being done to determine whether churches in all galamsey-prone areas encourage marriages of children.

“As part of the findings of the consultants, we realised that some churches were trying to facilitate some children getting married and that was one isolated case, but we have to validate that, and we must talk to other stakeholders so that we can then generalise, so, for now, we see it as an isolated case in the Atiwa East District.”

He, however, confirmed that the study revealed that an estimated 5,677 children were engaging in galamsey activities across the country.