Ghana: Young Ghanaian Women and Girls Demand Free, Fair, Transparent and Peaceful Elections

By ISD (G.D. Zaney)

A non-partisan dialogue, which aimed to ensure that the interests, voices and desires of young Ghanaian women and girls matter in the 2016 electioneering period and beyond, has taken place in Accra.

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Dubbed: ‘Summit on What Young Women and Girls Want in the 2016 Ghana Elections’, the meeting tried to answer the question: ‘What do Girl’s and Young Women Want in the 2016 Ghana Elections?’

The summit also provided a platform to explore ways of improving the political participation of young women, raising visibility on women’s issues and young female candidates, and provided a novel opportunity to present a united front of young women and girls in demanding a free, fair and peaceful general elections for Ghana in December, this year.

It was organized by the Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa (MILEAD), with support from the US Embassy in Accra and in partnership with UN Women in Central and West Africa, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV AIDS (UNAIDS) and the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI).

Speakers at the Summit included Mr Girmay Haile, Country Director, UNAIDS, Ghana; Martel Sow, Programmes Officer, WACSI; Vera Addo, a young female Assembly Member and MILEAD Fellow; Betty Dzah, a student of Mawuko Girls Senior High School, Ho; and Xorlasie Mawuenyega, student, Ghana International School, Accra.

The others were Esinam Seade, President, Students Representative Council (SRC), University of Ghana, Legon; Dr Afua Yakohene, Research Fellow, Legon Centre for International Affairs (LECIA), University of Ghana; Barbara Asher Ayisi, New Patriotic Parliamentary (NPP) candidate for Cape Coast constituency; and Ebi Bright, National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary candidate for Tema Central constituency.

The rest were Hon. Catherine Afeku, NPP Parliamentary candidate for Dome Kwabenya constituency; Bright Dzogbenuku; Vice Presidential candidate of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP); and Dr Zanetor Rawlings, NDC Parliamentary candidate for Korley-Klottey constituency.

In a key note address delivered on her behalf, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs Nana Oye Lithur, stressed the need for more women to contribute meaningfully to national development.

Mrs Lithur said it was in an effort to promote women’s empowerment in order for them to effectively contribute to national development through active participation in public life that cabinet had approved the Affirmative Action (AA) Bill for passage into law.

Furthermore, she said, government had also developed a Gender Policy which aimed to mainstream gender equality concerns into the national development processes by improving the social, legal, civic, political, economic and socio-cultural conditions of Ghanaians, particularly women, girls and other vulnerable populations in the Ghanaian society.

She urged young women and girls to preach and lead the peace process because experiences had shown that the most affected people in times of war and conflict were women and children.

Mrs Lithur urged all the participants to join voices with women’s groups seeking for the general wellbeing of all Ghanaian women to advocate for the rights of women and children.

In a statement, Mr Daniel Fennel, Public Affairs Counselor, Embassy of the United States of America (U.S.A.) in Ghana, said the U.S.A. was interested in ensuring that the December 2016 polls in Ghana were peaceful.

Mr Fennel, therefore, pledged the support of the U.S.A. for institutions that would make the elections successful.

He said the U.S.A. had a keen interest in promoting women’s and girl-child empowerment and was, therefore, proud to be associated with the Summit.

Welcoming participants to the meeting, Mr Mawuli Dake, a former Obama Presidential Campaign Strategist & Co-founder of MILEAD, noted that the full and active participation of women in leadership was a pre-requisite for positive change and development in Africa.

Mr Dake said by participating in this historic summit, participants would be contributing to critical dialogue that would help shape the agenda and outcomes for young women and girls in Ghana’s December 2016 polls.

Founded in 2004, MILEAD, which is based in Ghana and United States, with operations across Africa, is a leading and pioneer organization that works to develop creative strategies to address the under-representation of women in decision-making and leadership in Africa.

The Initiative, with a United Nations-accredited ECOSOC status and with official partnership with UN Women and UNAIDS, strives to nurture and equip young women/girls with the skills, tools and resources to become the next generation of leading politicians, activists, social entrepreneurs, and change agents.


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