Gender Centre trains prospective assembly women

Politics of Monday, 2 February 2015

Source: Graphic Online

The Gender Studies and Human Rights Documentation Centre (GSHRDC) has organised a training programme for eight women contesting in the upcoming district level elections, in Big Ada in the Ada East District.

The training formed part of GSHRDC’s efforts to develop the interest and participation of more women in the system of governance.

Speaking at a forum in Big Ada, GSHRDC Project Officer, Ms Esther Darko Mensah, explained that the participation of women in governance in Ghana was low, and it had therefore become necessary to sensitise women to the need for them to participate in the system of governance.

“The participation of women in governance is very low, that is why we have organised this forum to make you aware of the significance of your participation and contribution,” she said.

She said the eight women were trained in the basic laws of local government and the rights and responsibilities of an assembly member.

GSHRDC is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation (NGO) that promotes the participation of women at all levels of national development.

Established in 1995, their mission is to compile information on women and human rights issues to support the assertions about women’s human rights issues and also to help integrate women’s concerns and perspectives into mainstream programmes, projects and policies in addressing challenges to societal development.

Ms Mensah said GSHRDC, in partnership with WOMANKIND UK, a women’s right advocacy organisation, had also trained and educated women in the Wenchi Municipality and the Atwima Mponua District in the Brong Ahafo and Ashanti regions respectively, on the need to play a responsible role in the development of their communities.

This, according to her, had been done through their four-year project plan dubbed: ‘Funding Leadership Opportunities for Women (FLOW)’ which started in 2012, with funds from the Foreign Ministry of The Netherlands.

Ms Mensah said GSHRDC, as part of support for the campaign by the aspirants, had printed posters which had their pictures and bought airtime for them on the local radio station, Radio Ada, to broadcast their campaign messages to the people.

She was optimistic that the education had gone down well with the people and this year’s district level elections would see a significant participation of women.

The Director of the Ada East National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Mr Solomon Mensah, in an interview with the Daily Graphic after the forum, said the NCCE had educated people in 18 electoral areas in Ada.

He said usually the people voted for personalities without taking into consideration those who could serve their interest. “We have educated them on the need to vote and why they should vote for people who can perform,” Mr Mensah said.

He explained that the people had been sensitised to hold their unit committee members as well as assembly members responsible if they failed to live up to expectation.

He stated that the education had benefitted both men and women and developed the interest of the people in the elections, adding that other groups like the religious bodies, opinion groups among others, and some disabled people were contesting in the district assembly and unit committee elections.

Some of the aspirants who interacted with the Daily Graphic said some women were not willing to vote for their fellow women because of traditional beliefs and other factors.

“People are still of the opinion that governance is the preserve of men and so they do not see the need to vote for women. They feel the woman’s place is still the kitchen so when they are voted for, they will become disrespectful,” Sarah Pobee said.

They were however hopeful that with the education and sensitisation they had received from GSHRDC, the perception would change.

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