A social development organisation, HedgeGhana, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs, has organised a day’s workshop for a number of women in the Brong Ahafo Region to build their capacities in governance and decision-making.
The workshop, held in Sunyani under the organisation’s women in governance programme, was attended by a cross section of women, including those working with public, private and civil society organisations.
Participants observed that despite various interventions the participation of women in local governance had not improved, and therefore, stressed the need to step up efforts to increase women’s representation in next year’s district assembly election.
They also advised women who intend to contest in the elections to remain resolute and cultivate cordial relationships with members of their communities as part of their preparation towards the elections.
Ms Afia Appiah, the Executive Director of HedgeGhana, said results of the 2008 election showed that only 20 female parliamentarians were elected out of the 230-member legislature. This was until the death of the Member of Parliament (MP) for Chereponi, Mrs Doris Asibi Seidu, on August 1, 2009.
She also said the number of female assembly members were 408, representing 10 per cent of the total of 4,224 District Assembly Members, adding that there was also low female representation at the zonal and area committee levels.
She said it was for this reason that a group of gender sensitive and civil society organisations were implementing the "Her War Chest" project.
Ms Appiah added that the objective of the project was to build the capacity of at least 200 women across the country annually over a period of four years for district assembly elections and the 2012 general elections.
She stated further that each participant at the end of the project would be equipped with tit bits in personal grooming tips and skills, message development techniques and advocacy, public speaking and comportment skills, managing the media, fund raising techniques and campaign planning. They would also be provided with funds that would be raised during the project.
Ms Appiah said apart from helping to build the capacity of women to assume public office, HedgeGhana also enlightened women on issues such as reproductive rights and economic empowerment.
She expressed her appreciation to all organisations and agencies that had supported their initiative to empower women.
Mr Kwaku Aduse-Poku, a retired educationist and a local government practitioner, who spoke on the topic "The Local Government System",urged women who are aspiring to become assembly members to make themselves known to opinion leaders and elders in their communities, get their campaign team in place and run an effective campaign so that they would be elected.