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WE KNOW POLITICS II PROJECT HAS BEEN LAUNCHED AND IS ROLLING

The second phase of the ‘Good Governance Through Increasing Women’s Participation in Ghana’s Political Processes’ project, also referred to as the ‘We Know Politics Project’ has been launched here in Accra.   This is a three year project to be implemented in 20 districts across all the 10 regions of the country. The project districts are tabled below:

 

NO REGION DISTRICTS
1 Greater Accra Dangme West  and Ga West
2 Upper East Bolgatanga and  Navrongo
3 Northern Savelugu Nanton and Nalerigu
4 Eastern Suhum Coaltar and Kwahu South
5 Ashanti  Obuasi and Asanti Akim South
6 Western Jomoro and Tarkwa Nsuem
7 Volta Ho East and Keta
8 Upper West Sissala East and Lambusi Karni
9 Central Twifo Heman and  KEEA
10 Brong Ahafo Jaman South and  Jaman North

Gender Studies and Human Rights Documentation Centre (Gender Centre) is  partnering with three other local NGOs to implement the project.  These are Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) which is the lead organization, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) and The Hunger Project (THP).   Gender Centre is implementing projects in 4 districts of the Brong Ahafo and Upper West Regions.

 

The purpose of the project is to increase women’s participation and representation in decision making in local and national government structures. To this end various planning and implementation activities are being carried out.

 

launch of WKP II: the formal project launch was held at the Osu Ebenezer Presby Church Hall, Osu on 4 August, 2010.  The Minister for Women and Children’s Affairs, Hon Juliana Azumah-Mensah provided the keynote address and also did the formal launch.  She reiterated the need for women to be encouraged and supported to be assertive and avail themselves for leadership positions to be better able to serve their country. Each of the implementing partners of the project was presented with a plaque to symbolize the role of the organization in promoting women’s participation in Ghana’s political processes. The launch marked a day of celebration and this was marked with much dance and drumming.

 

Signature  Campaign: one key strategy adopted in the We Know Politics 2 project was the conduct of a signature campaign.  The purpose of the campaign was to advocate special measures to increase women representation in District Assemblies in 2010.  As at 2006 only 10.1% elected representatives to District Assemblies were women.   Thus this campaign was to collect signatures from the project districts to present to the President of the Republic of Ghana to restate the 2002 directive to District Assemblies that, half of the 30% Appointees to District Assemblies should be women.

 

Together with the other WKP2 partners, we collected signatures from traditional leaders, opinion leaders, religious leaders, men, women, youth and the disabled of the various districts.  We collected over 600 signatures during the campaign period. In all 3,637 signatures were collected and these were presented to the president through the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development.

 

Capacity Building Workshops: We organized training workshops for 94 community members during 5-day workshops held in the 4 districts. Workshop participants were trained on various gender and governance issues.  Workshop participants formed groups referred to as the Coalition of Women In Governance (CoWIGs). These CoWIGs had the main responsibility of educating community members through community outreach programmes and public outreach campaigns on the need to encourage more women to stand for the then coming district assembly elections as well as other leadership opportunities that come up in their communities and districts.

At the end of the training workshop, the CoWIGs were introduced to their district leaders and citizens during formal outdooring ceremonies which were attended by traditional and religious leaders, DCEs and other opinion leaders.

 

These CoWIGs engaged their community members in various public education campaigns to encourage women to come out and stand for district level elections as well as other leadership positions that come up in their various districts. Unfortunately, things did not work out as wished for and women did not fare as encouragingly as was to be wished for. Latest provisional results from the Electoral Commission of Ghana indicated that of the 6,103 assembly members who were elected, only 412 were women.

 

Various reasons have been assigned to the low numbers recorded and together with the other partners efforts are being made to identify appropriate strategies to address them.

High Level Meeting with Political Parties

A High Level Meeting with Political Parties was held here in Accra on 30 March 2011.  This was a follow-up to the first Women’s Dialogue with Presidential Candidates organised by partners of the We Know Politics I project. The said Women’s Dialogue discussed many issues concerning women. The participating political parties made a number of promises to Ghanaian women and this meeting was to follow up on how far the various parties had gone with their promises on their agenda for the improvement of the lots of Ghanaian women.  The political parties which participated in this session were NDC, NPP, PNC and DFP. All the political parties were however invited to the programme.

The meeting provided a platform for the various parties to interact with the Ghanaian community on issues including:

  • The gender agenda of the various political parties on women’s rights, NGOs and the Ghanaian public
  • some women concerns in the  country and
  • discussing the way forward for improving the lot of women

Discussions at the meeting followed the following thematic areas:

  • Education
  • Health
  • Governance
  • Socio-Cultural Issues
  • Women Enterprises including Micro-Credit

 

CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOP ON GENDER FOR WOMEN ASSEMBLY MEMBERS

On the 12 – 14 April, 2011, a capacity building workshop on gender was organised for women who had either been newly elected or appointed into the various Assemblies of the WKP II project districts.    This was aimed at ensuring their effective involvement in the decision making processes of the District Assemblies.

This was against the background that the performance of the women who have been elected and appointed into the Assemblies will largely determine their chances of being re-elected and could also pave the way for more women to be elected or appointed in the future as a result of increased confidence in the abilities of the women in governance and politics.

The workshop set out to equip them with skills and abilities to effectively engage with government at the district level by ensuring that district development plans and budgets are responsive to the needs of the larger society especially women and children.

A total of 44 women Assembly members attended the workshop.  Topics discussed included Gender Concepts, Importance of Gender  Equality in Governance and Development, Gender Sensitive Planning and Budgeting as well as Leadership, Communication and Community Mobilisation.

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