The West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP) is to implement a programme to give women and youth in Ghana the opportunity to lead peace-building efforts before, during and after this year’s elections, under the Women’s Situation Room (WSR) initiative.
Under the WSR initiative, which is a collaborative effort with the Angie Group Institute, an international civil society organisation, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the women and youth would be trained to strategise, plan and respond rapidly to election-related issues in a coordinated manner.
They will engage in peace campaigns, receive complaints and work with selected women professionals to solve electoral disputes.
The initiative, which was started in Liberia by the Angie Group Institute, was replicated in Sierra Leone, Senegal, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda.
At a consultative meeting to discuss the modalities for the commencement of the WSR initiative in Accra last Tuesday, the Initiator of the WSR, Ms Yvette Chesson-Wureh, said under the programme, women and the youth would be trained in electoral laws and peace-building techniques.
“We will train the youth to become ambassadors of peace. To be peace builders rather than perpetrators of violence,” she said.
Ms Chesson-Wureh said 10 days before the November 7 elections, two rooms would be established for receiving and address electoral complaints.
She said the operations room would be manned by trained women and youth who would receive calls from across the country on toll-free numbers.
Organisations present at the meeting included the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Ghana (FOMWAG), the Young Women Christian Association of Ghana, the Ahmadiyya Women Wing, the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations, the Women Peace and Security Institute and the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIA).
some women at the consultative meeting organised by UNDP and WANEP in Accra
Ms Chesson-Wureh said the women and youth would be deployed to the voting centres to observe the elections, and facilitate the delivery of the complaints to the operations rooms.
Ms Chesson-Wureh said the other room would be for eminent Ghanaian and African women who did not have an affiliation with any political party.
She said the eminent women would direct some complaints to the Electoral Commission (EC) and police desks that would be created at the WSR.
Ms Chesson-Wureh, who is also the Coordinator of Angie Brooks International, said where necessary, the eminent women would move out to go and facilitate the resolution of disputes.
She said the idea was to get parties to reach amicable settlement of their disagreements and prevent the escalation of disputes.
Throwing more light on the WSR, the International Coordinator of the WSR, Ms Barbara Sangare, said women at the various districts would be trained and supported to set up mini-WSRs to receive complaints and relay them to the main WSR.
She said the women were expected to work hand in hand with the eminent women to facilitate the resolution of disputes.
The Programmes Officer of WANEP, Ms Mfrekeobong Ukpanah, said the WSR was in line with the election observation conducted by WANEP.
She said the introduction of the WSR would support efforts at promoting peace before, during and after the November 7 elections.