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08.03.2006 General News

Women in local government fund launched

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Accra, March 8, GNA - Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs on Wednesday launched women in local governance fund with an initial target of four billion cedis to serve as one of the continuing efforts towards increasing women's participation in local governance.

It is the collaborative effort of the MOWAC, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Civil Society and National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana to enhance women's participation in district level elections.

Hajia Mahama said the fund would be used to support election campaign of women in the up-coming district elections. It would be managed by an independent Fund Manager to be selected by open and transparent public procurement system. Meanwhile an interim Board had been selected from among nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and government organisations to manage the fund.

Members include Ursula Owusu, Vice President of FIDA, Mrs. Bernice Sam Executive Director WILDAF, Mr Kojo Amoakwa, Chief Director MOWAC, Mrs. Jesse Neequaye, Retail Credit Risk Unit Merchant Bank, Ms Lilian Bruce-Lyle, Director of Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and Ms Gladys Tetteh of NALAG.

Hajia Mahama said most females from their infancy were relegated to the background during decision-making in the home and few of them possessed leadership skills and such people must be encouraged and supported to overcome that deficiency.

The Minister said low levels of education was a factor militating against women saying even with Government's efforts at achieving gender parity in education, the retention and transition rates of girls was still a major issue that had to be addressed.

Hajia Mahama said since women's constituted 51.3 per cent of Ghana's population having few women in leadership positions had detrimental effect on the overall development of the country. Mr Kofi Poku-Adusei, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, said the Ministry would have a working session with the MOWAC for the purpose of strategising a reliable approach for promoting many women to participate in the impending local level elections come August this year.

To this effect the Ministry's gender desk had been task to assist the Director of Institute of Local Government Studies to come out with the details of the modus operandi for the exercise for action. Mrs Gifty Affenyi-Dadzie, a Member of the Council of State, said grassroots participation was also crucial for women because the majority of them were in the rural areas and predominant in the informal sector compared to their male counterparts.

She expressed the hope that the fund would be judiciously and transparently managed to benefit prospective female candidates as they contested the forthcoming district level elections, adding that lessons from the 2002 district assembly elections clearly showed that strategic interventions such as the fund improved the number of females that offered themselves for the elections. 8 March 06