Multiple international award winner, Akumaa Mama Zimbi, known in private life as Mrs. Joyce Akumaa Dongotey-Padi hosted over 2,000 widows last Saturday to mark the 6th National Widows Alliance Conference (NAWAC) in Accra.
Widows from Wenchi, Twifo Praso, Upper Denkyira, Tema, Bawku, Hikpo, Techiman, Sampa, Accra, Ketekrachie came together to celebrate the day at the Ghana International Trade Fair Centre in Accra.
NAWAC is an initiative by the Mama Zimbi Foundation (MZF) through its Widows Alliance Network (WANE) project for sustainable socio-economic development of widows in Ghana.
It was meant for Ghana and Africa at large to appreciate the roles widows play as ambassadors of change in their communities. It also served as the ideal dialogue platform for the advocacy of a comprehensive policy and legal direction for elevating the standards of widows in the country as well as celebrating the United Nations International Widows Day.
A former First Lady of Ghana, Dr. Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, in her keynote address, encouraged and motivated the widows to be guided by practical solutions to whatever challenges they went through.
Other speakers at the conference were Nana Hemaa Adwoa Awindor, President of the African Queens and Women Cultural Leaders Network – AQWCLN, Rachel Appoh, Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Beatrice Bernice Boateng, a former Member of Parliament for New Juaben South, Rev. Gabriel Ansah, Chancellor of the Nasem University and Mrs. Amy Appiah Frimpong, Acting Executive Director of the National Theatre.
Chief Executive of the Mama Zimbi Foundation, Mrs. Dongotey-Padi stated that widowhood, which was not by choice or curse was just like any natural phenomenon ordained by God, expressing that widows have not been treated fairly in the traditional set up as well as in modern Ghana.
According to her, though it has proven quite difficult to get rid of some bad widowhood rites because many people still have strong attachment to all sorts of superstitious beliefs, education through advocacy and the provision of employable skills ‘as what the Mama Zimbi Foundation (MZF) is doing through its Widows Alliance Network (WANE), should be the most appreciable long-term solution to these problems plaguing our society.’
She added that the Mama Zimbi Foundation (MZF) was currently striving to set up an ultra modern Center for Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (CTVET) as a permanent place to provide vocational training, human rights education, reproductive health and social integration programs for women and girls.
In conclusion, she noted that widowhood brought a lot of challenges like economic burden, single parenthood and loneliness and so Ghana ought to help its widows and widowers to grow in self-confidence in order to lead a normal life as every other human being.
Activities at the conference included singing and dancing by widow groups, mini trade fair and song ministration by Nhyira Betty.
Sponsors of the NAWAC 2014 were Unibank, Bedita Pharmacy, Gewah Hospital, Indomie Instant Noodles, Herbal Technology, Ice Cool Purified Water, Mobile Engineering Services and Fru Telli.
Others are Bake Shop Classics, Danny’s Décor, Last Hour Catering Services and the Ghana International Trade Fair Center. The event’s media partners included Multi TV, Capital TV, Citi Fm, Adom Fm, Media Fanbern, Websoft Solutions and DDP.
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