REP Foundation trains women, youth to participate in governance
The Chief Executive of REP Foundation, Ama Serwaa, has stated that the fastest and most effective way to attain national development and reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) is to build the capacity of more women to participate actively in the governance process.
She explained that with women being in the greater majority of the population and wielding greater influence in the family and society when given the proper capacity building and opportunity, women would contribute immensely to the accelerated advancement of the country.
Ms Serwaa was speaking at the opening of a day’s capacity building and training for stakeholders at the Ayawaso West Municipal Assembly in the Greater Accra Region.
The training which was organised by the REP Foundation with support from the Canadian High Commission was on the theme “Women in local Governance participation and social accountability in the Ayawaso West Municipal Assembly.”
Participants were taken through topics such as social accountability, community development, governance, role of women, youth and civil society organisations in local government.
Ms Serwaa expressed worry that after all the struggles by gender activists and other organisation, issues of gender mainstreaming, women participation in decision making and recognition of women had not attained the needed status.
This, she blamed on age-old impediments such as teenage pregnancy, early childbirth, child marriage, patriarchy, chauvinism, social, religious and cultural structure and practices among others and expressed optimism that with the increasing support of men, the tide would turn for the benefit of all.
“We are not in competition with men, neither are we striving to overtake them in any way. All that we are asking for is their support for us to be on a better pedestal to partner them in the realisation of the development of the country,” she said.
The Municipal Chief Executive of Ayawaso West, Ms Sandra Owusu Ahinkorah, noted that global experience indicated that supporting the growth of women contributed to faster economic growth, improve child survival and overall family health and wellbeing, adding that “investing in women is central to sustainable development”.
She said women's participation in decision-making at local government processes was critical for prioritizing their practical needs and issues as well as helping in localizing the sustainable development goals.
She said it was therefore urgent that the country adopted laws and policies that required equitable representation of women in all spheres of the decision-making process as a means of empowering them.
“There is the need for political parties to further adopt measures, including internal quota, to ensure that women are proportionately represented in local office and on election role,” Ms Ahinkorah.
She also called for deliberate efforts to ensure that the local-level structures of local government were used as the breeding grounds to build the capacity of more women to play a vital role in addressing gender inequalities.
She explained that by involving women in local decision-making, planning and management it would build their capacity and confidence to be able to use it as a launch pad to explore other national decision-making forums.
She said so far women who have held various positions in various positions as chief executives of corporate entities, ministers of state, members of parliament, assembly Women, and Market Queens have performed excellently.