Anglophone African Women Ministers and Parliamentarians yesterday started a sub-regional training workshop in advocacy, leadership and resource mobilisation in Accra to enable them properly promote issues pertaining to population and development on the Continent.
About 28 female Ministers and MPs from Ghana, Nigeria, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Liberia who are members of the Network of African Women Ministers and Members of Parliament (NAWMP) are participating in the workshop.
The Network was established in 1994 out of a conference attended by Women Ministers and Parliamentarians in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to facilitate the implementation of recommendations of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in the same year.
The five-day workshop is being organised by the Centre for African Family Studies (CAPS), a capacity building institution with funding from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Experts from Zimbabwe, Togo and Kenya are also attending the workshop to provide technical expertise to the participants.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister for Women and Children's Affairs, said more of such platforms were needed to enable African women leaders to meet to deliberate on issues affecting women and girls and to share experiences that would help to advance the course in Africa.
She noted that the story of women in leadership was not all that hopeless in Africa since various efforts were being made to put women in leadership positions. She said in Ghana for instance, there were four women in ministerial positions with another 14 as Deputy Ministers, all of whom were making landmark contributions towards nation building.
"Ghana is also systematically working towards achieving gender equality through the implementation of a number of programmes including education and the appointment of women into high leadership and management positions".
Ms Theresa Amaley Tagoe, Deputy Minister for Greater Accra and MP for Ablekuma South, expressed optimism that the establishment of the Network with the subsequent training would help the participants to promote the status of African women.
Mrs Virginia Ofosu-Amaah, Chairperson, National Population Council (NPC), said until gender equality was achieved, no effective population programmes could be sustained or be successful. She described population, gender and development as major tasks ahead, which the NPC was in a good position and committed to partner with the Network to promote.
Mr Daouda Toure, UN Resident Coordinator, acknowledged the partnership with members of the Network for their onerous role in ensuring effective leadership and good governance for the fuller engagement of governments and its people in working towards achieving the common development agenda in Africa.
"On behalf of the UNFPA and the rest of the UN, I wish to commend African Parliamentarians, particularly, you the members of the Network of Women Minister and Parliamentarians for your commitment to supporting the implementation of the Programme of Action and Platform of action of the Cairo and Beijing Conferences", Mr Daouda noted.
At the end of the workshop, it is expected that a Ghana branch of the NAWMP would be established to network and to collaborate with the broader Network.