RUWA empowers women to participate in local governance

Series of activities to empower women to effectively participate in district level elections to strengthen local governance have begun in the Northern Region.

Women in selected communities in Tamale Metropolitan, Yendi, Savelugu and Sagnarigu Municipalities are being targeted under the project.

It is being implemented by Rural and Urban Women’s Association (RUWA) with funding from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa.

Briefing stakeholders in an inception workshop in Tamale on Saturday, the Executive Director of RUWA, Masud Aziz Rauf, said the project would, among others, groom 30 interested women to stand for the elections.

He said it was imperative that vigorous campaign strategies were embarked upon to sensitise men and women on the need for women in the northern region of Ghana to be involved in local governance and for them to be elected to the district assemblies.

Mr Rauf added that women were noted to be effective in promoting honest government; committed to promoting national and local policies that address their socioeconomic and political challenges, as well as children and other disadvantaged groups.

“When women join hands with men in building structures of democracy the benefits are overwhelming. However, in Ghana, the involvement of women in making decisions that could promote the wellbeing of people around them is low, especially in governance,” he said.

The executive director of RUWA noted that in Ghana, especially in northern region, cultural barriers gave men more opportunities than women and stories of elders in communities insisting that a woman should step aside for a male contestant were very common.

He noted that in five district assembly elections held in Ghana- 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010, women’s participation remained low, adding that In the 2002 District Level Elections (DLE), out of 7,700 assembly members of 110 District assemblies only five per cent were women.

Mr Rauf said the project needed the support of all and sundry, especially the support of men saying “that is why there will be community dialogue and consensus building in order for men and women to have common understanding and to realise the need for women to stand for seats in assemblies to be voted for.”

By Times Reporter

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