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22.12.2004 General News

Need for collaborative partnership between Gender Advocates - Mrs Asmah

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Accra, Dec. 22, GNA - Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC), on Wednesday stressed the need for Gender Advocates to evolve a collaborative partnership with the male gender to achieve equality and equity in order to eliminate disparities. She said: "This is what will close the growing gap between males and females. Confrontational attitudes will do more harm to my sisters in the various gender oriented nongovernmental organisations (NGOs); the two genders need to live in harmony in order to propel the nation forward."

Mrs Asmah made the call at a Press Conference on "The Ministry's Role in Promoting Gender Equality and Mainstreaming" in Accra. She told various Gender Advocates that mainstreaming gender implied a vision with defined and attainable objectives. "Above all, it is a collaborative effort and not a preserve of a particular group or individual", she said.

The Sector Minister explained that the Ministry was not set up to confront men but to work in peaceful partnership with both genders to advance the cause of women and children.

Mrs Asmah expressed regret that the birth of the Ministry in 2001 was received with hostility by some sections in the 'Ghana Made' NGO Community some of which believed that gender and children issues was and is still in their traditional turf not over seen by any government sector.

"This group, therefore, have been up in arms against the Ministry from the onset and either fought or found any means of ridiculing the Ministry at every turn", she said.

She said statistics available indicated that about 80 per cent of donor funds used by some of the NGOs were used for 'administrative cost' leaving only 20 per cent for programme activities.

Mrs Asmah said most of the NGOs depended on the problems of women and children in making money, therefore, were not happy with the establishment of the Ministry and it activities.

She cited an instance where about seven billion cedis was given to some NGOs for school children's programmes but the money were used only for workshops and the children were left to roam on the streets. "If the money had been given to the Ministry at least about 7,000 women would have benefited under its micro-financing programme with the allocation of a million cedis each and most of the children would have been in schools to improve on their talents.

"When women were provided with the needed financial support, their children would be well catered for. We cannot allow intelligent Ghanaian children to live on the streets and become social misfits in the society in the future", she said. Mrs Asmah said the Ministry would undertake more vigorous activities next year to improve on the status of women. These included the selection of 50 women under its Women Entrepreneurial Development Programme in each of the 138 districts to be assisted to set up their own businesses. Others were the completion of arrangement for the repatriation of 28 trafficked children from Guinea to Ghana to re-unite with their families and integrated into their various communities. Those within the school-going age would be put in schools while those beyond would be put in vocational institutions.

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