‘Intensify efforts against Gender-Based Violence’

The need for stakeholders, including the government, to intensify efforts against Gender-based Violence (GBV) was over the weekend emphasised through a staged play held at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC).

Dubbed “Hear Word”, and organised by iOpen Africa Foundation, a Nigerian non-profit organisation that uses arts and culture to challenge the status quo, the stage play featured some notable Nigerian actresses.

The stage play also formed part of activities to mark the December in Ghana celebration in conjunction with the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), National Theatre of Ghana and Beyond the Return Project with support from Ford Foundation.

Some issues highlighted through the play were the infringements on the rights of women as a result of traditional beliefs and customs, lack of support from society to stand up against women’s rights, among others.

The stage play drew individuals of both genders, young and old from far and near to the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC), who were thrilled with the performance of the all-women stage actors.

Speaking to the Ghanaian Times after the event, the producer of the “Hear Word” play, Mrs Ifeoma Fafunwa, noted that the vision of iOpen Africa Foundation, which is to ensure that every citizen was well informed on issues of gender equality, was in line with Ford Foundation’s commitment to shifting repressive power and strengthening the rights of the vulnerable across the globe.

She explained that the use of arts, media and entertainment had the power to change culture as it influences behaviour, language, lifestyle and beliefs, hence, “introducing messages of equality on popular media platforms will inspire young audiences to build communities that are safe, fairer and more equitable for women and everyone.”

Mrs Fafunwa, therefore, called on all stakeholders to join in the fight against GBV and other social vices through the use of arts and staged plays.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GTA, Mr Akwasi Agyeman, said “this is a welcome addition to the growing list of collaborations aimed at showcasing Ghana’s potential as a meeting, incentive, conference, and event hub in West Africa.”

Some of the audiences who spoke to the Ghanaian times after the staged play said they were excited about it as it was informative, adding that messages on other social issues apart from GBV should be conveyed through staged plays and drama.

Ms Matilda Koomson said “I am so elated to be here to witness such a powerful staged play on an issue that has been a big issue here in Africa confronting women.”

“I will like to thank the organisers of the event as well as the GTA and other partners for coming up with such an initiative. There are so many societal issues apart from GBV going on, so I will like to urge the organisers to speak on it through staged plays and drama,” she added.

Mr Alfred Dadson noted that there were some men who were also facing different forms of violence and emotional abuse and therefore called on the organisers to stage plays in that regard in order to balance the narrative.

He, however, commended the organisers and GTA for coming up with the event and hoped for more going forward.


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