A total of 6,766 individuals, mostly women, in the Bono East Region are scheduled to benefit from a three-year (2020-2023) socioeconomic empowerment project aimed at improving standard of living for the people, especially marginalised groups in society.
Implementation of the project includes financial literacy training, mushroom production, and ginger cultivation for about 3,600 women; as well as linking them to financial institutions for credit to help improve their businesses. Other young ladies will also be empowered in advocacy to champion the elimination of all forms of cultural and social norms which impede women’s rights and development.
The composition of beneficiaries includes persons with living disabilities, smallholder farmers, petty traders and head-porters known as ‘kayayes’. The overall goal is empowering the people, especially women, to take up leadership roles and economic ventures to help reduce gender inequality and promote equity for poverty reduction among women.
The project is being implemented by an NGO – Centre of Prosperity Interest Organisation (COPIO), with technical and financial support from Global Affairs, Canada, and Plan International Ghana. The Project implementation areas are Techiman South Municipal, Nkoranza South Municipal and Nkoranza North district.
Mr. Mustapha Maison Yeboah, a community development advocate with COPIO, said as part of the implementation there will be advocacy for passage of the Affirmative Action bill – coupled with promoting other national policies aimed at enhancing women leadership in decision-making at both local and national levels.
Addressing a stakeholders’ engagement held in Techiman, Mr. Yeboah said: “When women are economically empowered and properly educated, the entire fabric of society benefits. Children with educated and higher income mothers get quality health care and education, and grow up to be responsible citizens”.
The Bono East Regional Director of Social Welfare, Evelyn Welfare, stated that broken homes remain the major threat to balance society for equitable roles by men and women. She said: “In as much as it is important to empower women, it is equally imperative to educate men to appreciate the need not to abandon their roles even in broken relationships. It is good to give economic and leadership roles to women, but let’s try and balance it; men have to understand their roles toward women and their children”.
Nana Yeboah Asuamah, Techiman Adontenhemaa, on her part expressed concern about what she described as “unfair cultural discrimination” fuelling marginalisation of women in society, and called for all and sundry to make conscious efforts to correct the wrongs by eliminating all cultural and social norms which are inimical to women’s empowerment.
The traditional leader also rebuked fellow women who deliberately suppress the socioeconomic advancement of other women, indicating that women are sometimes their own enemies.