February 2006 Content; Introduction 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 Day 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 firstname.lastname@example.org - IBIS Partner shares his experiences. 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. NETRIGHT ADVOCATES FOR PATERNITY LEAVE 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. babies”. 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”. practices. 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 municipality. 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 added. 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 officials. “Lessons from the workshop will enable the school coordinators to deal with NEW FACES IN IBIS WEST AFRICA 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 Studies. 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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