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Content; - Ghanaian Women mark International Day - Women group


Content; - Ghanaian Women mark International Day - Women group

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									                                                           February 2006

Welcome to the bi-monthly             -    Ghanaian     Women       mark
newsletter of IBIS West-Africa, a     International Day
Danish developmental organization
with a vision to work for “a just     - Women group advocates for
world in which all people have        Paternity leave
equal access to education,
influence and resources”.             - CREPS Students mark Women’s
This is the January/February
edition with news from IBIS           - Domestic Violence Bill passed at
programmes and partners under the     last.
theme Women and Children.
                                      - Bawku Youth yearns for Peace.
It also contains stories on women
rights organization and the           - 32 Basic School Girls get
domestic violence bill.               pregnant in Bole township.

Contributions, comments and           - East Gonja teachers acquire new
suggestions should be sent to         skills.
Charles Yao Mawusi, Information
Officer via     - IBIS Partner       shares    his

This newsletter including the         - New Faces in IBIS West Africa
pictures may not be reproduced in
part or in full without the consent
of the author and IBIS West Africa.
Ghanaian Women mark International Women’s Day
Women’s Rights Organizations in Ghana       who contributed to the pre-and post-
and the Ministry of Women and               independence struggles.
Children’s Affairs have joined other
women all over the world to mark the        In a joint statement issued by National
International Women’s Day on March          Coalition on Domestic Violence
8th.                                        Legislation, Network for Women’s
                                            Right and the Coalition on the Women's
This is a day set aside by the United       Manifesto, the coalitions noted that “the
Nations to recognize the achievements       contributions of women should become
of women and to also look back on past      recognized as a central part of our
struggles and accomplishments. The          history rather than a footnote."
international theme for this year’s
celebration is “Ending Impunity for         "We note that the 50th anniversary
Violence Against Women and Girls”.          celebrations, while recollecting the roles
                                            of key figures and various social groups
In Ghana the day was marked under the       in our pre-and post-independence
theme “50 years of women contribution       struggles, have not adequately
to national development”. The Ministry      recognized or honoured the contributions
of Women and Children’s Affairs has         of women," the statement added.
held photo exhibition to reflect 50 years
of women’s contribution towards the         The coalitions congratulated the many
nation’s development.                       forgotten heroines for their sacrifices
                                            and immense contributions to the
Meanwhile, three women's coalitions         founding of Ghana and the 50 years
have urged the government of Ghana to       journey to build an independent country
raise a monument in honour of women         and an equal and just society.
The Network for Women’s Right in           idea at a meeting with women activists
Ghana (NETRIGHT), a coalition of           from the various political parties in the
women’s right activists, has called on     country, also explained that “we do not
policy makers to integrate paternity       seek to promote privileges for men by
leave into the country’s Labour Laws.      reducing corporate productivity, but
                                           employers should see this as social
The motive is to create the conditions for responsibility towards the next
men to support in the upbringing of their  generation”
new born babies as new mothers recover
from the difficult period of child birth.  However a group of men who spoke to
                                           IBIS West Africa on the condition of
Dr. Dzodzi Tsikata an Executive            anonymity at the Ministry of Education,
Member of the NETRIGHT, told IBIS          Youth and Sports in Accra, embraced
West Africa in an interview that           the idea but could not tell what exactly
“domestic work is a killer of women and    their roles and responsibilities will be
nursing mothers and men must be            whiles they are at home.
supported to offload the domestic burden
on women especially new mothers”.          “It is the responsibilities of my mother-
                                           in-law to help bath the baby and wash
“Taking care of new born babies should     the clothes, I will only help carry the
not be the sole business for mothers,      baby when my wife is busy,” one of
men should be encouraged to support        them stated. “With this idea the women
new mothers to recover from the            will take us to court if we do not help
difficult period of child birth. Paternity them in the house” said another.
leave is therefore necessary to create the
conditions for men to equally participate  Further interaction with another group
in domestic activities as well as the      also indicated that the paternity leave
upbringing of newly born babies”, she      concept is new to the socio-cultural
said                                       environment where most men do not
                                           support in domestic activities and a lot
She argued that “the babies are our        of education and awareness need to be
future leaders and they need the attention created both among employers and the
of both parents but society has not found  general public on the issue.
a way of dealing with this issue, we
believe that the paternity leave will      Clearly, this might be the beginning of
allow men to have the time and space to    another challenging task for the women
support the upbringing of newly born       and the gender activists in Ghana.

Dr. Tsikata, whose views also pulled
media attention when she discussed the
CREPS Students mark International Women’s Day
Female students from the IBIS Complementary Rapid Education for Primary Schools
(CREPS) programme joined their colleagues and other organizations to mark the
International Women’s Day at Koidu in Sierra Leone.

About 200 students from CREPS with teachers and development workers from other
organizations marched through the town to the community football park where they were
addressed on the importance of the International Women’s Day.

IBIS Programme Director in Sierra Leone, James Higbie reported that various speakers at
the ceremony also took the opportunity to educate the children on the realities of
HIV/AIDS and encouraged them to abstain from premarital and unprotected sex.

Other events organized for the school children included radio panel discussions on
women’s issues.

CREPS students getting ready for the march. PIX by James Higbie

Domestic Violence Bill passed at last.
Years of civil advocacy, constitutional         passage of the much debated Domestic
struggle and parliamentary agitation            Violence Bill.
have ended with joy and excitement in
the Ghanaian Parliament to celebrate the        The Coordinator for the National
                                                Coalition on Domestic Violence
Legislation (NCDL) in Ghana, Mr.            available for it’s partner the Ark
Adolf Awuku Bekoe, who was in the           Foundation, to assume the frontline role
Parliament House with 45 other              in the agitation for the Bill.
members of the coalition, to witness the
passage of the bill, recounted in an        This role included the training of other
interview that some female Members of       Coalition Members on advocacy and
Parliament moved from their seats,          lobbying skills and the implementation
hugged and shook hands with their male      of other Coalition activities.
counterparts in an expression of joy over
the passsage of the Bill which now          The Executive Director of the Ark
awaits presidential accent.                 Foundation, Mrs. Angela Dwamena
                                            Aboagye, who also could not hide her
The Domestic Violence Bill seeks to         feelings, stated in an interview that, “it
provide protection for women and            has been a very difficult and a long
children from domestic violence and to      battle but we have learnt that persistence
promote human dignity as required by        and systematic engagement with the
the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and          relevant stakeholders should be our
internationally acceptable norms and        guiding principles”.
                                            Mrs. Aboagye expressed joy and
Mr. Bekoe described the passage of the      excitement about the new clauses in the
Bill as a national victory for civil        Bill which advocate for the
advocacy and stated that the passage of     establishment of Victims of Domestic
the Bill meant that the country is making   Violence Support Fund, aimed at raising
progress on issues affecting the welfare    funds through voluntary contributions to
of women, children and society at large.    support victims.

After several months of agitation and       She however expressed her disagreement
advocacy by Members of National             with Cabinet for taking out clause 42(g)
Coalition on Domestic Violence              which sought to remove Article 29 in the
Legislation, a national association of      Criminal Code which supports the use of
individuals and civil rights                force in marriage settings.
Organisations, the Bill was introduced in
parliament in May 2006, and was             She explained that the absence of the
referred to the Joint Committee on          Clause 42(g) from the Bill meant that
Gender and Children and Constitutional,     force could still be applied in a marriage
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for         union, which she said must not be in the
consideration and report.                   laws of the country.

Following a national debate towards          She ended by stating that, “But we
certain provisions in the Bill between      should not be discouraged, we need to
Members of Parliament, gender               gird our loins to work strategically to
advocates and civil society groups, the     ensure effective and efficient
Organisation Capacity Building              implementation of the provisions in the
Programme (OCB) of IBIS West Africa         Bill”.
and other organisations made funds
Bawku youth yearn for peace
There is a new urge for peace and co          The group over the past years has being
existence to promote social and               working closely with the district
economic development within the               Assembly and other civil society
Bawku municipality in the Upper East          organizations to prevent ethnic, political
region of Ghana.                              and religious conflicts in the
This new urge emerged as a group of
youth calling themselves “Peacemakers”        With an estimated population of two
gave the assurance that they would never      hundred and ninety thousand (290,000)
relent in their efforts to secure peace and   people from different backgrounds,
unity among the various ethnic groups         Bawku Municipality has experienced a
within the Bawku municipality.                number of political, ethnic and
                                              chieftaincy conflicts since 1984 which
A founding member of the group                have labeled the area unattractive for
officially known as Bawku Literary            development projects.
Society, Mr. Lukeman Imoro stated in an
interview that, the group has outlined        Ibis activities in the district have
strategies to facilitate peace and co         therefore made peace and security its
existence among the residents of Bawku        priority concern as a way of promoting
municipality.                                 development in the municipality.
                                              Through the Public Participation in
“We have developed a clear system to          Local Governance Programme (PPLG),
encourage political, religious and ethnic     Ibis West Africa has supported Bawku
tolerance towards conflict prevention         Literary Society, Bawku Municipal
especially between the Mamprusis and          Assembly and the Bawku East Women
the Kusasis,” he emphasized.                  in Development Association (BEWDA)
                                              to undertake peace and society building
He further explained that, the activities     activities in the district.
of the group which consists of 60
members from the various ethnic groups        Ibis Programme Facilitator in Bawku,
also serves as a common platform for the      Mr. Allan Joseph, who described the
youth to have interactions across board       efforts of the youth as very encouraging
irrespective of tribal, political or          towards a sustainable peace and unity,
religious backgrounds.                        also explained that being part of the
                                              community provides the youth the
 “We have resolved to respect our             opportunity to detect and prevent
differences and yet work for a common         conflict among the people.
goal as citizens of Bawku by
maintaining high level of political,          He said “their ears are on the ground and
ethnic and religious tolerance to achieve     decisions taken by the group members
peace, unity and co existence”. Mr.           are highly considered by the members of
Imoro explained.                              the community”.
32 Basic School Girls get pregnant in Bole township.
32 girls enrolled in basic schools in the Bole    The Bole district director of education, Mr.
township in the Northern region of Ghana          A.S Moomen in an interview observed that
became pregnant in 2006/7 academic year.          the current revelation may be calling for
22 of them underwent abortions and 10 of          different strategies towards HIV/AIDS and
them kept their pregnancies.                      Reproductive Health Programmes that
                                                  would be relevant for the school children
The ten includes five (5) girls from one          especially the girls.
Junior Secondary School (name withheld)
and four (4) others from two other schools.       He emphasized the need to create awareness
The last but not the least is a 12 year old       on parental control as well as institution of
primary six pupil.                                bye-laws that would prevent children from
                                                  going out in the night. “These bye-laws must
Statistics from the Girl Child Officer in the     discourage children from going to wake-
Bole district revealed that there are 15 girls    keeping ceremonies, cinemas or parties at
presently in school who gave birth last year      night”, he added.
and have returned to school.
                                                  Over the past two years Ibis has been
Ibis Programme Facilitator in Bole,               supporting a local organization, - Partners in
Abraham Ayensu Peters, reported that one          Participatory Development (PAPADEV) to
of the girls who confirmed her status as six      carry out a school based HIV/AIDS project,
months pregnant lamented, - “I didn’t think I     but it appears that all the sensitization and
will get pregnant and I don’t know how to         awareness creation has not gone down well
protect myself”. “Now I’m pregnant and I          with the children.
see it is true, but when people come to talk
to you it is like it can happen to someone        Mr. Abraham Ayensu Peters, Ibis
else and not you”.                                Programme Facilitator in Bole, said this
                                                  might be an indication that the current
Meanwhile, the District Education for All         approach where the school children are not
Team (DEFAT) made up of key                       involved in the planning and designing of
stakeholders in education has urged the Bole      the programme must be reviewed.
district directorate of the Ghana Education
Service to take urgent steps to address this      He said the programme must be sustained
incidence among basic schools in the              with new approaches that will encourage
district.                                         equal participation and involvement of the
                                                  school children.
A petition signed by the DEFAT Chairman,
Mr. Salawura Alex Iddi, emphasized that if         “There is the need to continue the school
urgent measures are not taken to address the      based HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health
rising spate of teenage pregnancies in the        Programme, but this time with a different
schools, it risks limiting access, lowering the   approach, - we will need to do the planning
already poor quality of learning and above        together with the children in order to embark
all increasing the drop out rate especially for   on relevant activities that will address the
girls.                                            children’s reproductive health needs”, he
East Gonja Teachers acquire new counseling skills
197 Basic School teachers in the East
Gonja district of the northern region         individual differences among children
have acquired new skills on guidance          and will also guide them to make the
and counseling of school children             right choice of subjects or vocations”,
through a training workshop organized         she said.
by the Education for Empowerment
(EFE) programme of Ibis West Africa           Mrs. Fati also stated that all the
and the Ghana Education Service.              counseling coordinators have been
                                              charged to set up counseling centres in
The training programme forms part of          their various schools to ensure effective
the World Teacher’s Day Project, a joint      application of what has been learnt at the
project between Ibis West Africa and the      workshop.
Danish Teachers Union aimed at
supporting teachers in the East Gonja         The East Gonja District is one of the 53
district with access to knowledge             most underserved districts in education
concerning their rights and                   delivery in Ghana with regards to
responsibilities as well as provide           performance, access and achievement.
support in guidance and counseling            The district placed 105th and 106th
among others.                                 position out of 110 districts at the Basic
                                              Education Certificate Examinations
A teacher at the workshop, Mr. Richard        (BECE) in the 2003 and 2004 academic
Broni, who described the workshop as          years respectively.
very useful in several ways stated that
“my perception, attitude and mode of          The East Gonja district has a pupil-
interaction between children, parents and     teacher ratio of 48:1 and 82:1 in high
community members has changed.                enrolment communities like Buya and
Indeed, the workshop has given me the         Talkpa, and needs about 400 teachers to
best method to counsel children, teachers     fill vacancies in the classrooms.
and community members”.                       Ibis education programme in the district
                                              has been designed to support the gaps in
The Guidance and Counseling                   education delivery to enable the Ghana
coordinator at the district education         Education Service (GES) perform it's
directorate, Mrs. Fati Basigi, disclosed in   designated responsibilities. The
an interview that, “the workshop has          programme has managed to collaborate
equipped most of the teachers who had         with the Ghana Education Service to
never benefited from any training on          strengthen in-service training,
guidance and counseling with new skills       recruitment of volunteer teachers and
and were very happy”.                         supervision skills of teachers and GES
“Lessons from the workshop will enable
the school coordinators to deal with
Two Danish students, Miss Charlotte Torp and Mr. Rasmus Schjoedt have joined Ibis
West African team to gain practical experience from the Education for Empowerment
(EFE) and the Good Governance and Human Rights (GGHR) programmes.

Charlotte Torp, a graduate from the University of Aarhus in Denmark currently works
with the EFE sub programme at Buduburam Refugee Camp in the Gomoa District of the
Central Region as part of preparation towards her Master’s programme in African

Rasmus Schjoedt, on the other hand is a graduate student in political science also from
the University of Aarhus. He wants to deepen his knowledge on governance, human
rights and accountability through the GGHR programme. He has returned to the Regional
Office in Accra after his first round of field trip to the 3 northern regions of Ghana.

     Charlotte Torp                                        Rasmus Schjoedt
A partner shares his views on OCB, GGHR activities.
Series of training programmes have been     girl child towards the eradication of
oragnised to strengthen the capacities of   streetism within the Savelugu Nanton
partner oragnisations implementing the      district of the Northern region.
Good Governance and Human Rights
Programme (GGHR).                           One major challenge the programme has
                                            faced since its inception in 1998, has
One of these programmes was a               been the issue of feeding. Considering
Facilitator Development Programme           the cost of feeding a beneficiary at about
organized for Northern Ghana partners       ¢300,000 per month for a duration of
in Tamale, the northern regional capital    about two years, it hasn't been easy at
in October 2006.                            all.

A participant on the programme Mr.          The issue of the feeding though has been
Pang Kofi Thomas, the coordinator of        subjected to thorough discussions at
Girls Growth Development (GIGDEV),          partners, Board of Directors,
has described the programme as very         Management and staff levels. GIGDEV
practical and effective. He shares his      has also brought it up in series of
thought and experiences with the            meetings held with parents of the
workshop facilitators, - Dorcas Ansah,      beneficiaries and all to no avail.
Robert Amoo and Ibrahim Tahiru in the
text below;                                 Just after the facilitators’
                                            development workshop organized for
“…I hope this e-mails finds you well. I     partners of Ibis in Tamale from 28th
just want to share with you what            September to 2nd October, 2006 at
effective facilitation has done for         GILBT Training Center, GIGDEV held
GIGDEV in its development work.             its Quarterly Review Meeting with the
                                            parents of the beneficiaries and among
The Girls Growth and Development            the issues at stake was how GIGDEV
(GIGDEV) has been running a Youth           could sustain the feeding component of
Skills Training Programme (YSTP)            the YSTP.
where marginalized young girls are
offered free employable skills and other    At the meeting was the Programme
integrated services geared towards          Director of GIGDEV (Mrs. Stella Nitori)
empowering them socio-economically.         staff of GIGDEV including myself and
The beneficiaries of the programme are      the Programme Administrator (Mr.
fed three times daily and those of them     Joshua C. Haruna) who benefited from
from distant remote communities are         the facilitators development workshop.
accommodated by GIGDEV.                     The two of us did facilitate the meeting.

In addition, the GGHR programme             At the end of the meeting, a decision was
provides support to GIGDEV to               taken by the parents themselves to pay
advocate and promote the rights of the      an amount of ¢80,000 per trainee per
month on feeding. They again decided          The most remarkable aspect of it was
on how the money would be paid and            that, they also decided on how it would
when it should take effect, thus effective    be managed, by instituting a Parent
October.                                      Trainer Association where some of the
                                              parents will be made executive members
                                              of the Management Committee.
                                              Robert Amoo and Ibrahim Tahiru who
All that happened was as a result of          did the training. The training workshop
effective facilitation. We indeed tried our   was very interesting and effective
best to employ all the techniques of          because much knowledge was acquired.
facilitation we learnt from the workshop      GIGDEV has really benefited from the
we attended. Some key issues we took          workshop.
into consideration were as follows:
                                              It is hoped that, our colleagues from
1. Staying neutral even though we were        other organizations will put into good
in favour of one side of the issue.           use the knowledge they have acquired
2. Introducing the topic properly.            from the workshop.
3. Ability to guide the people to bring
out their views without getting out of the    Once again Dorcas, more grease to your
subject matter.                               elbows. We are really very proud of Ibis
4. Making the discussion very                 especially the OCB team. Please do
participatory and gender sensitive.           extend our greetings to your team
5. One facilitator was guiding the            members, they are doing emphatically
discussion and the other documenting          well”.
the issues.

This is a big achievement to GIGDEV,
and we are very grateful to Ibis for the
training especially you Dorcas Ansah,

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