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16.09.2003 General News

Development must focus on and women - Minister

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Accra, Sept. 16, GNA - Any attempt at development without focusing on women and children is bound to fail, Mr Kofi Adusei Poku, Deputy Minister of Women and Children's Affairs said in Accra on Tuesday. He said women and children constituted about three-quarters of the Ghana's population, and it was now increasingly clear that rapid development could only be achieved when women and children issues were focused upon.

The Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC), Mr Poku said, had, therefore, initiated a series of programmes to build the capacity of Gender Development Officers (GDOs) to ensure prompt response to issues about women and children.

Mr Poku was speaking at the opening of a three-day strategic partnership monitoring and evaluation workshop on the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) for Chief Directors and Directors of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

The MOWAC in conjunction with the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) organised the workshop.

Mr Poku said the multi-dimensional nature of poverty required an all round approach from all sectors of the economy.

He said poverty was not only the lack of resources but also the denial of opportunities and choices to improve one's quality of life. One indicator of poverty is the high maternal mortality rate, which he said, was 214 deaths per 100,000 live births, in Ghana, with the figure soaring to a high of 700 in some districts.

Dr Richard Benjamin Turkson, Executive Director of the National Population Council (NPC), said women, needed at least, to complete senior secondary school before their first delivery, emphasising that the education of the woman was a key influential factor in the pattern of childbearing.

"Education is an essential tool for development and key to women's equal participation in every sphere of activity, from decision-making about family size to economic and political life," Dr Turkson said. He said despite an indication of 1998/99 Ghana Living Standards Survey of a decline in poverty, there was still a great deal of legitimate concern about the "feminisatioin of poverty". This in turn has a direct bearing on their health and other social needs.

Dr Turkson said international agreements on women issues that Ghana had signed had to be fully incorporated into national laws and programmes and adequately enforced.

He reiterated constant advocacy, the establishment of stronger partnerships among government, development partners, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and civil society to strengthen programmes that affected women.

Mrs Marilyn Amponsah Annan, Acting Executive Secretary of the Ghana National Commission on Children, called for a massive investment in children, with good programmes for their benefit.

Mr Emmanuel Quaye, Chief Director, MOWAC, appealed to male directors to encourage women to aspire to higher positions of responsibility. He said only two of the Chief Directors in the country were women, and asked qualified women to apply for the 28 vacant positions for directors that had been advertised in the media.

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