National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG) in collaboration with Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and with funding from Global Affairs Canada has held a one day workshop for stakeholders including Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
The one day workshop will revolve around stakeholders consultations on partnerships for Municipal innovation with a focus on Women in Local Leadership (PMI-WILL) project.
In an interview with the media, the General Secretary of NALAG, Kokro Amankwah, disclosed that a major challenge in Ghana’s local level representation has to do with the low representation from women who are equally qualified and experienced as their male counterparts.
Mr. Amankwah further stated that, women representation at the local level keeps reducing after every National elections. This abnormally he said, needs to be corrected as soon as possible.
According to the General Secretary, one of the objectives of the Stakeholder Dialogue is to help women to get involved in our country’s local governance through increased representation at the, Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) level.
Mr. Amankwah explained that, women are needed at our local governance level to make contributions and inputs to be able to make an informed decision towards the betterment of livelihoods of the citizenry, especially women and girls.
According to him, almost all activities at the Assembly level revolves around women, examples of which includes; Sanitation, water, garbage dumping site, etc. And when ever a decision needs to be made with regards to these issues, our women are often not present in their numbers to support this course.
“This and other challenges are the reason why NALAG has organised this stakeholder workshop,” Mr. Amankwah added.
He further mentioned that NALAG as an organisation, is fully aware that women are faced with various challenges, some of which include; lack of money to enable them finance election campaigns, another challenge with women is the fact that some cultural as well as tradional beliefs often bares women from holding certain positions in society and at the national level as a whole.
The General Secretary alledged that, Women are often intimidated and discouraged from taking up leadership roles in the highest level such as becoming the president of a nation.
” As Africans, we believe and accept men as leaders to the extent that women find it difficult to come out to be voted for as presidents”, the General Secretary added.
Speaking further, the General Secretary mentioned that, NALAG is optimistic that at the end of the workshop, a communique will come out with various interventions to get rid of these challenges whiles increasing the number of women participation in our local governance system.
“To deepen our democracy alongside widening the net of decentralisation, we must ensure our women are well represented”, Mr. Amankwah stressed.
For his part, the National Project coordinator for the PMI-WILL, Sheriff Jerry Amarh reiterated that there are 9000 Assembly members across the country but sadly, those who get appointed into the MMDCEs only sum up to about 10%.
Mr. Amarh stated that if you take a look at women representation right from Parliament, through to Regional Ministers at the national level, you will find out that women representation is woefully inadequate even though women constitute about 52% of the population.
According to him, some of the major challenges faced by women includes; Education, health and economic empowerment. He further mentioned that, these are three important things that take place at the local level.
“If for instance you equip a woman with the necessary skills, and financial resources, she will be able to cater for the education of her children thus solving the educational challenge and when the children fall sick for instance, she can also take them to the hospital. If you do theses three things we believe you are enhancing the capacity of these women to be able to excel”, Mr. Amarh added.
” not reinventing the wheel, at the local level, there are a lot of NGOs already working with women groups as well as organisations, we will rather enhance what ever they are doing and support them so they can equally support these women in that regard”, he observed.
According to Mr. Amarh the local level has a lot of woman, and so if a woman represent a community, they understand their needs better all because she is part of them so when we have more women, as Assembly members, they can start lobbying at the Assembly level so when the Assemblies are passing their bylaws for instance, they can look at it from a agenda perspective hence the bylaws to be genda responsive.
By Kingsley Asiedu