Chief in Upper East community pledges to support widows
The Chief and elders of the Tampola community in the Kassena-Nankana Municipal of the Upper East Region, have pledged to fight against any family member in the community who would want to take over the property of the late husband of a widow especially land.
The Chief of the Area , Naba Mathew A.A. Kalerigire and some of the elders who made the pledge during a stakeholder forum organized by Tampola Young Generation Farmers’ Cooperative at Paga in the Kassena-Nankana West District on Friday , also promised that they would sensitize the community members especially husbands to release fertile lands to women for farming activities.
Among the major challenges confronting women in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions of which the Tampola community is not exempted from is the denial of smallholder women farmers’ fertile lands to farm and also the confiscation of late husbands’ lands from their widows.
It was against this background that the Tampola Young Generation Farmers’ Cooperative sought for funding support from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) fund and its partners DANIDA, USAID and the EU, to undertake a research on the Project dubbed” Advocacy Action: Equal Access to Land to improve Livelihoods of Women in the Kassena Area” to be used as an advocacy tool to help advocate for the change of the negative trend.
The stakeholders including traditional rulers, Tendams (custodians of the land), smallholder women farmers , Assembly members , technocrats from the District Assembly and the Media attended the forum.
The Monitor of BUSAC Fund, Mr. Vincent Subbey, who was in attendance to witness things for himself, observed that one of the major factors affecting household incomes, food security and malnutrition is the denied of women access to productive lands for farming.
He stated that apart from the numerous of researches funded by BUSAC on the phenomenon, a lot of researches conducted by others had also proven that majority of smallholder women framers drawn from the above mentioned regions are denied access to productive lands.
“The women are not fighting for ownership and control of land. Traditionally in Northern Ghana we know that the men are in control of land and ownership. All what the women are asking for is for the men to release some fertile land for them to farm and this will help will improve upon household incomes, food security and malnutrition”, the BUSAC Monitor stressed.
Whilst commending the Chief of Tampola Community and his elders for making the pledge , he underscored the need for them to remain committed to their pledge and to work towards addressing the challenges confronting the smallholder women farmers.
“BUSAC wants to see concrete results and actions and will therefore make follow –ups to ensure that you implement what you stated in your pledge”, he told the Chief and his elders.
The Development Plan of the Kassena-Nankana Municipal, Mr Alhassan Abdul-Baqi , commended the BUSAC Fund and its partners DANIDA, USAID and the EU, for funding such activity and reiterated the need for the Chief , his elders assembly members and other opinion leaders to come together to help address the issue.
Mr Edward A . Weyera , the Assistant Consultant of the project, explained that the survey clearly identified gender inequality especially women access to agriculture lands and other properties as eminent problem in the Navrongo Municipal Area and that most families were glossing over it with some pretending it was normal.
He stressed that widows and children are the most affected especially after the demise of their partners and explained that it was against this background that his outfit sought funding support from the BUSAC Fund to help address the issue at stake.
“Majority of the Chiefs and landlords who are the traditional leaders and custodians of the land themselves are not aware of treaties on equal access to land and as such are not able to implement this laws which promote women equal access to productive resources especially land.”, the research revealed.
The survey identified chiefs, landlords, land administration unit, associations and civil society organizations as some of the relevant stakeholders who could play various roles towards ensuring equal access to productive lands. It recommended the need for the sensitization of traditional rulers and community elders to equip them on the knowledge on the laws governing women access to lands especially the national and the international laws.