An experience sharing exercise for women in the non-governmental organisation (NGO) sector has been organised in Accra.
The women who had benefited from an initiative dubbed: ‘Imagine’, being implemented by the Empowerment Institute, a United States of America (USA)-based organisation, shared their experiences of how the programme had empowered them economically as well as helped in lifting their self-esteem.
The Imagine programme trains trainers of trainers in areas including economic development, education, health, violence against women, political rights and the environment.
The purpose of the experience sharing exercise was to scale the programme to bring on board more NGOs as trainers.
The programme, which is currently being implemented in 12 countries and had trained 20,862 predominantly women as of March 2019, aims at ensuring that women all over the world find their voice, express their power, live their dreams, become leaders in their communities and also be visionary women holding their communities in their hands.
So far participants from 35 non-governmental organisations including four from Ghana have benefitted from the training sessions.
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The four NGOs from Ghana are ABANTU for Development, Solidaridad West Africa, Mentoring Women Ghana and Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCED).
During the past four years of existence of Imagine Empowerment Programme in the country, over 700 women and a few men have benefitted from the empowerment workshops.
So far the Imagine programme has 32 empowerment institute certified trainers participating in the train-the-trainer programme, 101 trainers and 69 apprentices being trained to lead the empowerment workshops.
The Director of Training and Mentoring, Imagine, Ms Theresa McGrahan, said the Imagine Empowerment Institute began in Ghana in 2015, working with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to catalyse positive behaviour change, empower women to live the lives they want and to train them as facilitators to replicate the learnings to other women.
The Imagine programme In Ghana
The purpose of the Imagine Empowerment programme, she said, was to enable beneficiaries, particularly women, to create the life they wanted the most through workshops.
A Programme Officer at ABANTU for Development, Mrs Grace Wornyo Azaonoo, and an Empowerment Trainer, sharing her experience during the session, said since 2015 when she attended her first empowerment programme in the USA, she has been able to relate better with others.
According to her, the summit’s training has helped her to build a better relationship in her marriage and had also improved relationship in her office.
A Programmes Officer of Solidaridad West Africa, Ms Nafisatu Yussif, said after her training she has been able to infuse some of what she learnt at the summit into her core duties such as educating other women on how to save or how to assert their rights as women.
The Executive Director of Mentoring Women Ghana, Mrs Brigitte Dzogbenueku, said although she was initially sceptical about the training, she was now an ardent believer as it has helped her change the lives of other women through training.
Some she said have ventured into businesses they believed was not meant for them while others have started saving part of their income in spite of how meagre it was.
A Programmes Officer of GenCED, Ms Esther Tawiah, said the programme has helped her train women to be able to become independent as they were now economically empowered, earning much more than they did, simply by overcoming their limiting beliefs.
As part of the knowledge sharing, others who have benefitted from the training as apprentices said the training has helped in building relationships among families that were severed and have also been restored as a result of the learning.
They said other beneficiaries have also been able to achieve their educational goals, in the midst of various limitations.