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30.06.2004 Regional News

Government making democracy reality through decentralization - Ketekewu

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Tamale, June 30, GNA - Mr Issah Ketekewu, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, has said the Government was committed to making democracy a reality for all Ghanaians through the decentralization process.

He said the Government was working hard to promote the integration of Ghanaians to achieve regional and gender balance in recruitments and appointments to public office.

Mr Ketekewu was speaking at a two-day workshop on: "Gender in Local Governance," organized in Tamale on Tuesday for Government organizations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), as well as research and advocacy institutions from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions engaged in the promotion of gender-sensitivity in local governance.

The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development organized the forum to provide an opportunity for the participants to generate and share information on gender initiatives in local governance, identify areas of collaboration and contribute to research and training agenda.

Mr Ketekewu said the Government was committed to the convention on the "Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women" and all other provisions under the United Nations Conventions to promote equitable access to development opportunities and resources among men and women.

Mr Ketekewu said the Government had created an enabling environment for NGOs to operate and collaborate with district assemblies to support the participation of women in elections both as candidates and voters exercising their franchise.

He announced that the appointment of women to the district assemblies had been raised from 30 per cent to 50 per cent while a Women's Development Fund had been established to support women's enterprises to reduce poverty.

Madam Esther Ofei-Aboagye, Acting Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), said the equitable participation of men and women in governance, as well as gender-sensitive responses to their development was a desired end of the decentralisation process. She said there had been a collaborative effort among government; NGOs and development agencies to bridge the gap between men and women and integrate gender considerations into local level development, service delivery and poverty reduction.