Banda, January 13, 2024
Empowering the economic status of women is an essential tool to build a stronger, robust and more stable societies within rural areas, said, Women in Livelihood Development (WiLD).
WiLD is a Women-led civil society organization advocating for the socioeconomic development of women in the Banda District of the Bono region, Mr. Dawud Suleiman, the Deputy Executive Director, WiLD, said.
He was speaking in an interview with thefourlens.com on the situation of economic independence of women in the Banda District, saying, women economic independence is one of the successful strategies to address poverty and gender inequality globally.
According to Mr. Suleiman, women ability to make decisions regarding their economic life will not only increase their economic power, but also promote gender equality and consequently improve womens’ standards of living.
He said WILD is therefore advocating for the promotion of women economic independence in the Banda District to enhance sustainable women-led economic ventures and an improved standards of living for women in the area.
Because, women economic empowerment would further facilitate and enhance closing the global gender gaps and contribute immensely to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Goals 5, 8 and 10, Mr. Suleiman stated.
In view of that, WiLD has trained 100 women in beekeeping last year as part of their core activities to create self-employment opportunities for the women and promote their economic independence in the Banda District, he revealed.
The beneficiaries, Mr. Suleiman attested are actively in the honey business and the honey value chain processes in the area.
He explained the Banda District is one of the smallest Districts in the country with a population of over 28,179 (2021 PHC) with 14,813 males and 13,336 females.
The district, according to him is highly dominated by peasant and small holder farmers with a small fraction of other economic activities as well as some of the women enrolled on the District’s community development programs as efforts towards improving their standards of living.
Mr. Suleiman worried economic independence remained one of the biggest challenge facing women in the District and the organization has in that regard envisioned to train and help more women in livelihood skills activities for sustainable income generation for their households in the coming years.
He was optimistic this would help develop the capacity of women to make right and informed choices about their lives through full and equal participation in all spheres of living.
Mr. Suleiman noted the women economic empowerment is an approach duty bearers and development partners in the Banda District could capitalize on to enhance the efforts of reducing poverty levels among women and the general public.
He pleaded with Civil Society activists, socioeconomic practitioners and professionals to add their voices to the women economic independence call due to the benefits it brings to the entire society.
In the Banda District, Mr. Suleiman stated “most women bear the brunt of coping with climate-related and other economic shocks, and this add to their care burden with little or no support from their families”.
He hinted “access to farm-land in Banda is perceived to become an issue of concern in some years to come due to the influx of investors in the area, and therefore measures ought to be put in place to avoid undesirable outcomes”.
He was convinced that women’s economic empowerment is pivotal in realizing women’s rights including the ability to participate equally in existing markets, access to use and control over productive resources and decent work.
Mr. Suleiman reiterated women economic empowerment has high potential to bring collective and meaningful participation in economic decision-making at all levels from the household to public institutions.
Over the years, women’s roles and participation in economic activities was defined and shaped along biological and cultural lines with significant strides in all aspects of the Ghanaian economy, especially in the agricultural and services sectors.
Mr. Suleiman noted though these investments are perceived to speed up development, WILD believes that the concerns of the indigenous people and migrants, particularly women, whose livelihoods depends solely on these lands should also be taken into consideration.
Mr. Suleiman draw attention that it is essential for duty bearers and Traditional Authorities “to realize that development cannot be delayed or postponed and so it will be prudent to empower the local people to champion their own affairs instead of relying on government and investors”.
Because, ownership and control of these lands largely lies in the hands of clan Chiefs and family heads and women have very little say in the selling and leasing of these lands, making women vulnerable in that regard, he said.
He emphasized the critical need for concerns of the local people be prioritized to avoid them becoming marginalized or deprived in future.
“In our efforts to make an impact towards salvaging the situation”, WiLD is currently implementing a project in the Banda District to promote women’s right to resource ownership and participation, Mr. Suleiman further stated.
He explained the project is dubbed “Promoting women’s access to, control and use of land and other productive resources” to enhance women participation in public spaces and decision making.
The 15 months project, expected to end in June this year is funded by the Star-Ghana Foundation under its Action for Voice, Influence and Inclusive Development (AVID) project.
It is our utmost hope that the project will contribute to promoting women empowerment among the people for the holistic development of the Banda District, Mr Suleiman said.
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