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12.07.2005 Regional News

Poverty Reduction Strategy Two should ...


... impact on lives of the poor majority - Women Accra, July 12, GNA - Ghana needs a poverty reduction strategy document that would critically tackle and enhance the needs and livelihood of the poor, especially women, Dr Dzodzi Tsikata, a Senior Fellow, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, said on Tuesday in Accra.

She criticised the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy One, which is being reviewed, saying it was silent on gender issues, even though, women were normally consulted for their views. However, when it came to policy recommendation gender issues were less prominent and even disappeared when it got to budget.

Dr Tsikata, who was addressing a day's seminar on gender and the GPRS, said the present document reflected the old form of development planning which continued to use macro-economic indicators to measure the country's growth.

She said even if there were any positive gains in the current strategy they were very minor and should not be celebrated because there was still a lot of work to be done to ensure that any poverty reduction document really impacted positively on the lives of the people.

Dr Tsikata said there was the need to organise data in order to achieve results, adding that while men represented 89 per cent of the labour force women in addition to their daily work were also involved in unpaid work in their domestic duties.

She said high inflation was a weakness to the economy and every effort should be made to bring it down.

Mrs Mary Asiedu, Senior Planning Analyst at the National Development Planning Commission, said the GPRS Two would be called Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy which would be a policy to ensure that the poor and vulnerable really benefited from the growth. She said the review process was still ongoing and the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs would be contacted to find out women groups that could easily be consulted for its implementation.

Mrs Asiedu explained that gender issues were necessary but issues to be tackled were sometimes prioritised saying that the Commission had interest in the District Assemblies' Common Fund so that some funding could be allocated to districts that were identified as gender sensitive.

She said the Commission was doing its best to ensure that whatever was done would impact on the lives of the people, adding that the material well-being of the women should not be overlooked.

Dr Ann Whitehead, a Social Anthropologist, said from a study carried out in Tanzania, Malawi and Bolivia, it was realised that gender issues were very limited in their poverty reduction strategies but Millennium Development Goals were highlighted.

She said issues that needed to be emphasised included what women had in material sense, their income level and livelihood. Dr Whitehead said gender capacity building was limited in the work of a large number of stakeholders, government, ministries, nongovernmental organisations and civil society groups.