RELIGIOUS LEADERS URGED TO HELP ELIMINATE OUTMODED CUSTOMS
The Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs (MOWAC), Hajia Alima Mahama, has called on religious leaders to speak out against outmoded customary practices which impinge negatively on development in the country.
She said some of these practices have outlived their usefulness since they inhibit the full development of children, especially the girl-child, in attaining their full potential in life.
Hajia Mahama said this at a camp meeting organized by the Greater Accra branch of the Assemblies of God church for female Junior High School leavers drawn from various congregation of the church.
She mentioned some of the practices as Trokosi in the Volta Region and witches village in the Northern Region.
The four-day programme dubbed: “Lasting impression” will take participants through topics such as how to choose friends, how to develop purposeful goals, and adolescent development and sex life among others. Hajia Mahama said the continuous silence on the part of spiritual leaders over these negative issues, without openly condemning them create the impression that they support such practices.
She therefore called for collaborative efforts between spiritual leaders and her ministry to bring the perpetrators to book.
The minister said the innovative effort of the Assemblies of God Church in bringing together young girls from their churches and instill in them religious and moral values clearly demonstrates the church’s readiness to empowering it future leaders.
Hajia Mahama said empowering the girl child will ensure the survival, growth, development and protection of her off springs as well as the well-being of her family.
She said Junior High School (JHS) leavers, especially the girls are now at crossroads in their lives and whatever decision they take today will affect their their lives in the future, hence the need for them to make the need for them to receive the necessary mentoring to make them useful citizens capable of contributing their quota to national development”, she explained.
The minister urged the girls to be extremely careful during this period of idleness and urged them to get involved in productive ventures as well as reading of novels.
She appealed to the church to extend the programme to the boys as well. Hajia Mahama used the occasion to make a personal donation of GH¢ 500 to the organizers of the programme.
Mrs. Florence Bentil, Greater Accra Regional Organizer of “Missionettes”, and auxiliary group of the church which cares for young children, in her welcoming address said the ‘lasting impression” was organized by the church to address the needs of the participants who will soon be adults.
Mrs. Bentil said in these difficult times of rape, teenage pregnancy, school dropout, drug abuse and addiction and early sex there is the need to encourage the young ones to stay healthy and live good moral lives.
The Ghanaian Times Tuesday, May 20, 2008 Page: 11