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NGO challenges women to let their voices be heard

Lawra, (U/W), July 5, GNA – Women have been charged to break the long silence and rise up to the occasion by letting their voices be heard on matters affecting their social and economic wellbeing in society.

‘This is necessary because women form majority of Ghana’s population but are woefully under represented at various levels of decision making.’

Mr Daniel Banuoku, a Deputy Director of the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD) threw the challenge at the women during a week-long training programme for women on the topic ‘Being a business woman’.

He said the rippling effects of the silence was that, the needs and interests of women were not properly reflected on in designing policies, programmes and projects, which went a long way to deepen their vulnerability in society.

Mr Banuoku cited the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme which required 12 acres of land in order to benefit as one classical example of a programmes that did not consider the fact that women in Northern Ghana do not own land and so would find it difficult to acquire 12 acres of land in order to benefit from the such a programme.

He said the one week training programme which drew women participants from ProNet North and Rural Women Farmers Association Ghana (RUWFAG) was part of the project Empowering Mutual Partnerships for Women Economic Resilience (EMPOWER)

It was funded by Global Affairs Canada and implemented in three countries by Women for Change in Zambia, WISE in Ethiopia and CIKOD in collaboration with the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Ghana.

The Deputy Director of CIKOD noted that the project was a unique one because it was based on series of research conducted by UDS which CIKOD was providing the tailor made training intervention.

The women were taken through key topics such as; analysing assets and improving wellbeing, resource management, understanding business and generating business ideas among others.

Mr Banuoku pointed out that the primary aim was to help increase women’s voice and action so that they could demand their rights, warning however that before they could do that they needed to be well informed about government policies, programmes and projects.

Madam Elhan Mumuni, Women and Gender Empowerment Manager for CIKOD said the project started five years ago with five partners led by CIKOD and being implemented in the Upper East and Upper West Regions.

She said all five partners were trained on value chain analysis, selection and storage of indigenous seeds, formation of Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA), soap making, basket weaving, women leadership and decision making and market identification and segmentation.

Madam Mumuni said currently, the training was on basic business skills development and it was all geared towards giving the women a voice and creating space for them to take part in decision making in their various communities.

She said over 600 women had so far received the training across the two beneficiary regions, adding that it was expected of them to also organise step down training to the rest of their group members.

Madam Rebecca Sebri, RUWFAG National Chairperson said through the project, women who were hitherto not gainfully employed have now gained skills to engage in income generating activities to support their families.

GNA

By Prosper K. Kuorsoh, GNA