A nongovernmental organization, Foundation for Security and development in Africa (FOSDA) has organized a one day workshop for women aspiring to become assembly members in the Upper West region. The forum was organized in Wa, the regional capital and saw women from various districts of the region participating.
In all, about eleven women aspirants were present; some were incumbent elected assembly members, others government appointed assembly members and others women chiefs (pognamine) who have the ambition of being elected to their various assemblies. A major fear expressed by the director of FOSDA madam Afi Yakubu is the dwindling number of women who contest for assembly elections in the Upper West region. She was amazed at how almost all aspirants of the assembly had higher education this is the inverse in the Northern and Upper East regions yet many women put forward themselves for these positions.
The workshop focused on training the women aspirants on how to relate with the media in order to market themselves to their electorates. A resource person to the workshop Mr. Alhassan Imoru took the participants through how to court the media and how to issue press releases. He told them not to fear about the cost involved in engaging the media since; an effective relation with the media wouldn’t involve any cost at all.
The participants raised several issues which were a hindrance to women contesting elections. Issues of marriage and the lack of support from their husband is a major concern. They also raised financial challenges as a major factor since their counterparts who are men have a larger financial muscle. They were quick to point out their abilities capabilities and suitability for the position but not just merely seeking votes because they are women.
Madam Afi went further to state that ‘in decision making, those who take decisions have women representing less than twenty five percent. She bemoaned the culture of area she prevented women from speaking in public or taking part in decision making.
The participants after the program expressed their gratitude to FOSDA for offering such a rare opportunity to them. They also were enthusiastic to convince fellow capable women to contest for the January, 3rd district assembly elections.
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