ECOWAS has urged it’s member states to collaborate with their children’s parliaments to address issues of sexual awareness and enhance opportunities for children to speak out.
The call was made during the presentation of the report of the Joint Committees at the ongoing session of the Parliamen in Abuja on Saturday.
The committees are Human Rights, Child Protection and Other Vulnerable Groups; Legal and Judicial Affairs; Gender, Women Empowerment and Social Protection; and Health and Social Services of the parliament.
The report, presented by Mr Chernor Bah, on behalf of the committee, focused on the region’s Child Policy and the Strategic Plan of Action adopted in 2008.
The report stated that the policy was developed to support the promotion and fulfilment of children’s rights in West Africa, focusing on survival, development, protection and participation.
It said that sexual education should be taught in schools for children to know what was actually obtainable to them.
It also highlighted the negative effects that early child marriage had on the development of children in the region and the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
It recommended that ECOWAS should enhance its sensitisation to the rural areas, to create awareness on consequences associated with early child marriage while education to secondary school level be encouraged.
The joint committee urged the ECOWAS Commission to also sensitise both religious and traditional leaders to the need for children of both sexes to be educated before being given out to marriage.
The report identified poverty as one of the major causes of early child marriage and further called on governments to do more to raise the living standards of their citizens.
The parliament adopted the report of the joint committees. (NAN)