About 6,000 rural women in eight districts in Ghana are to benefit from “women empowerment and rights project” to help reduce unpaid care work and to improve economic self-reliance of rural women.
The project is also to help improve women’s participation in politics and to increase their food security.
The 6,000 rural women in Tain, Asutifi, Nabdam, Talinse, Adaklo, Jirapa, Nanumba North and Nanumba South Districts would improve their livelihoods, while local and national government authorities, civil society organisations, media, farmer networks and traditional leaders are supported.
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is funding the 3,367,432 Euro project entitled “Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women” (FLOW).
ActionAid Ghana, a non-governmental organisation, is implementing the five-year project in Ghana titled “promoting opportunities for Women Empowerment and Rights” (POWER) spanning from 2016 to 2020.
As part of the activities to sensitise the media and local government officials to support the demands of women smallholder farmers, ActionAid Ghana organised a workshop in Wa to train media practitioners and journalists as well as local government officials in the Upper West Region on the project.
Madam Azumi Mesuna, Project Manager of FLOW, said the purpose of the workshop was to sensitise the media and local government officials on unpaid care work and sustainable agriculture to help raise awareness on the demands of women smallholder farmers.
She said the project would improve the visibility of the careers of women smallholder-farmers as food producers and for stakeholders to support in their quest to mobilise resources for increased food production.
Under the project, the women would be organised and empowered to demand their rights especially on women’s unpaid care work, which is more highly valued within households and communities.
Madam Mesuna said care giving played a central role in the Ghanaian economy, stressing that if unpaid care work was given monetary value, it would constitute between 10 and 39 per cent of Gross Domestic product (GDP).
“Women’s unpaid care work when quantified in monetary terms, would create a positive impact not only on women empowerment but also on their children and the entire families,” she said.
The Project Manager mentioned services such as child care, care of the sick, water collection, energy supply, cleaning, cooking, community development activities, agricultural activities, participation in family business and rearing of animals as some of the unpaid care work.
“Unpaid care work refers to all unpaid services provided within a household for its members including care of persons, housework and voluntary community work as among others, she added.
These activities are considered work, because one could pay a third person to perform them.
Madam Mesuna said women’s responsibility for care leads to the violation of their basic human rights to education, political participation, decent work and leisure.
She said culture and gender norms highly influenced unpaid work by women, pointing out that the practice contributed to persistent gender inequalities which should be avoided.
Madam Mesuna urged governments to finance public services appropriately to help reduce women’s unpaid care work burden, and tasked the media to actively participate in the FLOW project to make care works more visible to actors, especially policy makers.