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GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT UNIT

In its fourth year of operation, the Gender and Development Unit (GDU) focused on consolidating the achievements of the previous years’ work. The unit joined forces with other organisations to strengthen the national movement for the creation of a culture of respect for the rights of women. These new alliances significantly increased the reach of the unit’s campaign for the gradual transformation of social values towards gender equity in the country.

A large proportion of the GDU's work was carried out through the co-ordination of the activities of the CEDEP Women’s Forum (CWF) and the facilitation of other local and national projects.

Personnel

The unit’s programme continued to be co-ordinated by Ms Boadicea Ama Prempeh, who in April, was redesignated as Acting Programme Manager of the newly created Community Initiatives Department of CEDEP. The Assistant Programme Officers were Ms. Matilda Nyantakyi, Philip Acheampong and Mr Solomon Fordjour who later left to join CEDEP Consultancy Services. Juliana S. Karikari worked as volunteer from 8 February to 13 March; Loretta Tandoh and Akua Darkoa Amponsah did an internship with the unit in September while Daniel Appiah-Darkwa joined as service personnel in October.

Activities and achievements

The CEDEP Women’s Forum

There has been a steady growth of CWF membership and attendance to monthly meetings representation from the Districts of Amansie-West, Efigya Sekyere, Ahafo Ano North and South, Sekyere West, Asante Akim North, Offinso, Ejura, and the Kumasi Metropolis. Average monthly attendance increased from about ….to approximately 72 women and men.

The Unit worked through the core members from the districts as networks to create awareness and dialogue among civil society and critical actors to bridge the gender ga

Making the Achievements of women visible

The CWF Book on "Ten Women Achievers from the Ashanti Region of Ghana" was finally completed within the year and edited by Prof. Florence Abena Dolphyne, one of the women achievers. While highlighting the achievements of some women as role models the book also aims at promoting girl-child education. The publication will be used as an instrument of change in the country and at the international level. click here

Gender Sensitisation Programme

Four-day gender sensitisation workshops were organised for 35 service providers each including traditional authorities at Mampong –Sekyere West District in February, Manso Nkwanta – Amansie West in June and Agona – Afigya Sekyere in September. The workshops were preceded by mass social mobilisation through district open fora on gender issues. One of the main objectives of the programme was to ensure that the participants recognised and acted on the gender issues for which they were being trained. Incorporated in all the three workshops were special training sessions towards the technological empowerment of women and men using a manual which had been field tested jointly by CEDEP and TOOL Consult of the Netherlands.

Leaflets on Identified Concerns of Women.

In collaboration with CEDEP Publications and Documentation Unit and as part of GDU's campaign on gender awareness, the CWF produced an issue of "Reflections" (a cartoon-style flier) entitled "Kofi Can Cook Too". This publication sought to educate readers on the advantages of sharing domestic chores between the girl child and the boy child. Two thousand copies were printed for distribution to organisations, institutions and individuals, especially at workshops.

Advocacy through the Media

The Unit continued to work closely with the local media especially the Ghana News Agency, the Pioneer and FM Radio stations to carry out advocacy on concerns of women.

Network with Women in Broadcasting, based in Accra resulted in the nation-wide prime time telecast of "Women’s Voice" sponsored by the British Council on "Human Rights" and "Empowering Women". These two episodes were based on CWF projects in the Ashanti Region.

Study on Violence against Women and Children

As part of the Unit’s aim to support the empowerment of women, the Unit joined hands with the Gender Studies and Human Rights Documentation Centre and other NGOs in Ghana to plan an advocacy campaign strategy on the outcome of the National Research on Violence Against Women and Children.

The strategies included the preparation towards the launching of the research report at the national level in Accra, southern zone in Koforidua, middle zone in Kumasi and Northern zone in Tamale.

Network with Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF)

The unit participated in the WILDAF General Assembly held from 26 to 30 July in Accra where an exhibition of the work of CWF members was mounted for public view.

In order to create awareness on the basic rights of the child in society, the Unit collaborated with WILDAF to carry out a national programme on "16 days of Activism" towards the end of the year. The Akan translation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was launched at an Open Forum held at Juansa, Asante Akim North District, on 2 December, to coincide with the 10th Anniversary of the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Mapping out Inequalities in the Health Sector

In collaboration with the CEDEP Consultancy Services, GDU participated in the Ministry of Health's National Research on "Mapping out Inequalities in Health Sector" towards the end of the year. The unit assisted in the co-ordination of the Central Region qualitative research for 14 days followed by the collation of the regional reports into a national report at a 3-day workshop, held at Achiaakrom Research Centre in December.

Gender and Religion

The unit explored ways of establishing a hotline with religious institutions on gender issues. Towards this aim, a team of CWF members facilitated a special session on "Gender and Religion" on Sunday 20 June at St. Cyprian's Anglican Cathedral in Kumasi during the main church service. Through the discussions, the congregation realised that gender inequality was an issue for the whole society to address and not to be seen as "women’s issue."

Women in Business

Workshops organised for women in business included tie and dye training for members of the National Association of the Physically Disabled (Women’s Sector), Ashanti Region Branch, in March, and palm oil processing for the Association of Tetrem Women in Development (ATWIDE) in September. CWF assistance to the groups included donation of basic tools and other equipment.

Production of a Women’s Guidebook to Business

The National Board for Small Scale Industries with its Business Advisory Centre (BAC) as a member of CWF assisted the Forum to complete the Women’s Guide Book to Business. The book, which is aimed at the educational and economic empowerment of women, has targeted women in the non-formal sector of the economy.

The book was pre-tested at a three–day regional training of trainers' workshop on women’s skills acquisition held from 29 September to 1 October.

Business Linkages

GDU facilitated network and business linkages between various women’s groups and commercial houses and other NGOs in the country and overseas towards the economic empowerment of women. Core groups included the producers of "Asase Aban" plastic beads from plastic waste. This group gained funding during the year, from S.O.A. (Foundation for International Co-operation, Almere) Holland, for the construction of a workshop for the manufacture of the beads.

Influencing Economic Policy from Gender Perspective

In collaboration with the Youth Initiatives Unit of CEDEP, the Unit co-ordinated the action oriented research and training programme which is aimed at creating an environment that will enable the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) and market traders at the Kumasi Central Market (KCM) to identify themselves as partners in the development of KMA.

CEDEP, through participatory approaches and training and with financial support from the North-South Institute, Canada, has, during the year, been helping the market women to solve their problems through dialogue with the KMA and other service providers in Kumasi. This project was the initiative of Dr. Rudith King, a member of CEDEP Board of Trustees.

The Youth Reproductive Health Programme

Adolescents and adult peer group counsellors’ workshops were organised in September by CWF with technical support from the Youth Initiatives Unit of CEDEP. Personnel from the National Youth Council, Ghana Education Service Counselling Unit and Ministry of Health assisted the Unit to pre-test the CWF training manual for peer group counsellors on adolescent Reproductive health, during the workshops. Other campaigns form part of this programme.

Training and Conferences

CWF Sponsored a representative from the National Youth Council to participate in the 51st Annual New Year School held at the University College of Education, Winneba from 27 December to 5 January 2000. Staff of GDU attended some external workshops and conferences including West African Provincial Mothers Union Council meeting in Banjul, Gambia from 20 to 30 January and a workshop on "Violence Against Women, Ending the silence, challenging the Tolerance" in London from 21–27 in February sponsored by the British Council. In September, the unit participated in a training workshop on "Strengthening Electronic Communications Capacities for Women’s Organisations in Ghana" organised by Abantu for Development with sponsorship from United States Information Service (USIS) in Accra and another workshop on "Women in Religion" in October sponsored by Women Theologians of Trinity College, Accra.

Visits from Overseas Partners

Our overseas partners including CAFOD representatives visited us on 22 October. The Gender and Economic Reforms In Africa (GERA ) external evaluator visited on 20 November and Comic Relief representatives on 6 and 7 December.

Funding and Assistance

The Unit’s work has been sustained mostly by funds provided by CAFOD / Comic Relief of U.K. to co-ordinate the CEDEP Women’s Forum programme. The Unit and the CEDEP Women’s Forum are deeply grateful for the support.

Projections for 2000

We hope to strengthen the capacity of CEDEP and its partners in their activities to mainstream gender in their activities and to influence decisions and policy making. The advocacy will include activities aimed at promoting policies in favour of good governance, democracy, human rights and sustainable development during the forth-coming general elections year. Research on key social problems will be pursued with the view of networking with critical actors to address the issues. Marketing of the "Women Achievers" book will be expanded to include a video documentary for households,

We hope to evaluate the first phase of the CWF four-year programme and seek funding for the second phase towards its autonomy.

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