The West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) in conjunction with Akina Mama wa Africa (AMwA), a civil society organization based in Uganda, has organized a 5-day training for West African Women in the oil and gas sector.
This started from Monday 14 April – Friday 18 April, in Accra on the theme: “Economic Justice for Women In Oil and Gas”; under the West Africa Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI), an AMwA’s flagship programme.
The training brought together over 20 women from West African countries including Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria to take a feminist approach to addressing issues of the oil and gas sector and how it can contribute in empowering women.
In an opening remark, the Executive Director of Akina Mama wa Africa, Mrs. Leah Chatta Chipepa, said Africa, especially the sub-Sahara region, is increasingly attracting world’s attention for its fast development and huge potential – with the oil and gas discovery in over 20 African countries from the East to the West, – which plays major role in the growth of the continent.
Mrs. Chatta Chipepa said fresh discoveries of oil and gas are a source of optimism in the continent and generally are considered to represent unique economic opportunities for reducing poverty and promoting socio-economic development; however, that has not been the case as it is highly anticipated.
According to her, the oil and gas sector has been plagued with mismanagement, limited policies and absence of strong oversight institutions that are resulting in some areas in the erosion of democratic accountability and political corruption with far reaching negative implications for citizens, especially poor women and the environment.
“It is sad indeed that while most women depend on land as a resource to produce food and energy and for income, there is a deficit of women’s rights and control over resources and their rights of access are not secured.
How pivotal is the role of women as custodians of the natural environment reflected in institutional arrangements for the management of resources?” she emphasized.
She stated therefore, that the training would share experiences and reflect on what is happening in the Oil and Gas sector and the promotion of women’s rights and gender equality – how women have contributed, effectively participated and benefited in the oil and gas industry.
According to the Akina Mama wa Africa Executive Director, as equal citizens of the society it is important that women are enabled to effectively participate in all processes of development. Adding that men and women may have different needs, thus it is necessary to encourage women to participate to understand better what their needs are; otherwise, efficiency in the industry would suffer.
For this reason, she said the training would equip the participating women with the needed knowledge they need to fully involve themselves in the oil and gas sector, and to be vigilant in their dealings.
Mrs. Chatta Chipepa was optimistic that training will be successful and go a long way to address the issues on target.
The programme also had Mrs. Hannah Owusu Koranteng, a representative from WACAM, and Omolora Balogun, from WASCI, as resource persons.
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