Photo credit: US Army Corps | Jennifer Aldridge
Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 15
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 18
* Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old.
* According to UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2016.
21% of girls in Ghana are married before they are 18 , but rates can be as high as 39% in the northern part of the country .
There has been a growing interest on child marriage in Ghana from all actors, including civil society organisations, the government and the donors. Recent data shows that the practice is slowly decreasing. 1 in 5 young women today were married before 18, compared to 1 in 3 in the early 1990s 
Child marriage in Ghana is deeply rooted in tradition and discriminatory gender norms. WiLDAF Ghana found that parents’ decision to marry off their daughter was often driven by their concern with female sexuality and family honour, in particular the fear that their daughter may become pregnant out of wedlock .
Adolescent pregnancy is also a driver and consequence of child marriage. 14% of girls aged 15-19 in Ghana have begun having children .
Poverty exacerbates the problem of child marriage. 41.2% of girls from the poorest families are married before 18, as opposed to only 11.5% of girls from the richest families . The high bride price received for young girls in Ghana means that families often see child marriage as a survival strategy.
Finally, a lack of access to education drives child marriage: 41.6% of women with no education were married before 18, compared to 4.7% of women with secondary education .
Legal age of marriage
In Ghana, the legal age of marriage is 18 for both girls and boys. However, they can marry as young as 16 with the consent of their parent.
Initiatives to address child marriage
An Ending Child Marriage Unit was set up in 2014, spearheaded by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection. The Ministry is currently working with UNICEF to develop a three-year National Strategic Framework to End Child Marriage. The strategy is due to be completed and launched at the beginning of 2017.
In February 2016, the Government of Ghana launched a national campaign to end child marriage as part of the African Union’s regional campaign to end the practice in the region.
Ghana has been considerably active in leading child marriage work in the region with plans to take the lead in engaging the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on child marriage.
UNICEF-UNFPA Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage
Ghana is a focus country of the UNICEF-UNFPA Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage, a multi-donor, multi-stakeholder programme working across 12 countries over four years.
National Partnership in Ghana
Girls Not Brides Ghana is the official Girls Not Brides National Partnership in Ghana.
Members In Ghana
- African Initiatives
- Centre for Communities Education and Youth Development (CCEYD)
- Centre for Initiative Against Human Trafficking (CIAHT)
- Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP)
- CMG Empowerment Ghana
- Community Development Alliance
- Create Change Ghana (CCG)
- Curious Minds Ghana
- Ghana NGO coalition on the rights of the child
- Ghanaian Association for Women’s Welfare (GAWW)
- Global Media Foundation
- Grassroots Sisterhood Foundation
- Great Ladies in Ministry Foundation (GLIMS)
- Hats Community Empowerment Programme (HACEP-Ghana)
- League of Young Female Leaders
- Light for Children Ghana (LIFOC)
- Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa
- Muslim Family Counselling Services (MFCS)
- Net Organisation for Youth Empowerment and Development (NOYED)
- Pan-African Organisation for Research and Protection of Violence on Women and Children (PAORP-VWC)
- Research and Counseling Foundation for African Migrants (RECFAM)
- Resource Link Foundation (RLF)
- Rhema Evangelistic Healing Ministry
- Rights and Responsibilities Initiatives Ghana (RRIG)
- Roots Link Africa
- Rosemond Girl Child Foundation
- Safe Child Ghana
- Savana Signatures
- Simli AiD
- Socioserve-Ghana (SSG)
- Sung Foundation – SUFOD
- Support for Community Mobilisation Project (SCMPP)
- Tim Africa Aid Ghana (TAAG)
- VSO International
- Women’s Integrated Development Organisation
- Wuni Zaligu Development Association
- Yaakoro Youth Development Center (YADEC)
- Youth Development Resource Centre (YDRC)
- Youth Harvest Foundation
 UNICEF, State of the World’s Children, 2016.
 Ghana, Demographic Health Survey, 2014.
 United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision, 2015.
 Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF Ghana) Scoping study for Parliamentary Advocacy Programme on Combating Early and Forced Marriage in Ghana, March 2014
 Ghana, Demographic Health Survey, 2014.
 Ghana, MICS, 2011.
 UNFPA, Child marriage profile for Ghana, 2010.