Canada gives extra funding to women’s rights groups amidst COVID-19 pandemic

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The Canadian government has announced a GH₵1.3 million, additional funding support, to it’s ongoing ‘Women’s Voice and Leadership’ project in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a statement from the Global Affairs Canada, of the Canadian High Commission, in Ghana, the 500,000 Canadian dollar increase, is expected to “help to reduce the negative impact of COVID-19 on the rights of the poorest and most marginalized women and girls in Ghana.”

The funds will, therefore, support women’s rights organizations that are responding to COVID-19, including supporting their efforts to advocate for gender-responsive COVID-19 policies and programmes nation-wide.

The Acting High Commissioner of Canada, Sara Nicholls, said “COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on women and girls, and our responses must reflect this challenge. Ghanaian women’s rights organizations are on the frontline, providing services to women and girls and fighting for their rights during these uncertain times.”

She further explained that “This additional funding will support efforts to find and implement gender-sensitive responses to COVID-19 in Ghana.”

The Project Lead, Women’s Voice and Leadership Ghana Project, under Plan International Ghana, Patricia Isabella Essel, said among others that the “additional support from Global Affairs Canada is so timely and a great relief for local women-led organizations in Ghana, to give voice to the voiceless and provide a chance to address the inequalities and also to remain relevant in this crucial time.”

Also, the Programmes Manager, of the Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT), Mrs. Patricia Blankson Akakpo, in response to the development said NETRIGHT will maximize its efforts, along with other feminists organisations, to promote a dignified life for women and girls during this pandemic.

“This support from Global Affairs Canada is important because it puts funding and decision-making power directly in the hands of women’s rights organisations to respond to the unique needs that women and girls face in the pandemic,” she stated.

She said “Ghanaian women constitute the majority of primary caregivers for families and in professional capacities of health and social work, placing them at an increased risk of exposure in both their personal and professional lives. Let women’s voices count in responding to COVID-19. These women know how to solve their challenges, and together we shall win the fight against COVID-19.”

The National Programmes Coordinator, of Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF)-Ghana, Melody Darkey, also said the funds will not only “help support the immediate needs of vulnerable women, children, and men, but also enhance our institutional capacity and preparedness to provide the necessary support to our constituents, while at the same time enabling us to unearth the emerging advocacy issues requiring the attention of state institutions at the forefront of the pandemic response.”

The Women’s Voice and Leadership – Ghana project is implemented by Plan International Canada and Plan International Ghana in partnership with WiLDAF and NETRIGHT.

The project supports these two national women’s rights networks to enhance their collective voices to advocate for Ghanaian women’s and girls’ rights and ensure the sustainability of the women’s movement in Ghana.

The project also supports 21 local women’s rights organizations (WROs) to deliver services to advance gender equality, and to better advocate for changes in policies and legislation that negatively impact women and their rights.

In addition, up to 75 local WROs will benefit from grants designed to support innovative approaches that will create lasting contributions for women and girls and respond to pertinent issues, such as challenging harmful and discriminatory practices and social norms in Ghana.

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