The Canadian High Commission is supporting women’s rights organisations with an additional GH¢1.3 million to enable them to develop effective gender-responsive policies amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project, which falls under the ongoing Canadian Women’s Voice and Leadership Programme, is to help reduce the negative impact of COVID-19 on the rights of the poorest and most marginalised women and girls in society.
At a ceremony in Accra to announce the package, Madam Sara Nicholls, Acting Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, said the COVID-19 had had a tremendous impact on women and girls and the responses must reflect that challenge.
Ghanaian women’s rights organisations, she said, were on the frontline providing services to women and girls and fighting for their rights during these uncertain times, saying the additional funding would support efforts to find and implement gender-sensitive responses to COVID-19 nationwide.
Madam Patricia Blankson Akakpo, Programmes Manager, Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT), said the support was important because it put funding and decision-making power directly in the hands of women’s rights organisations to respond to the unique needs of women and girls amid the pandemic.
“Ghanaian women constitute the majority of primary care givers for families and in professional capacities of health and social work, placing them at an increased risk of exposure in both their personal and professional lives. Let women’s voices count in responding to COVID-19,” she said.
“These women know how to solve their challenges, and together we shall win the fight against COVID-19.”
Madam Melody Darkey, the National Programmes Coordinator, Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF-Ghana), said the fund would not only help support the immediate needs of vulnerable women, children, and men, but also enhance institutional capacity and preparedness to provide the necessary support to their constituents.
It would further help to unearth the emerging advocacy issues that required the attention of state institutions at the forefront of the pandemic response, she said.
Madam Patricia Isabella Essel, Project Lead, Women’s Voice and Leadership Ghana Project, Plan International Ghana, said the support was timely as it would give a voice to the voiceless and address the inequalities in society.
“The support will not just save lives but will also contribute to the collective efforts of getting through this pandemic together and bouncing back stronger in giving meaning to gender equality and women’s rights,” she added.
Madam Saadya Hamdani, Director of Gender Equality, Plan International Canada, said: “Local women’s rights and girl-led organisations are critical agents of change and service delivery in their societies and supporting their work is crucial in ensuring they can continue their work and leadership within their communities.”
The Women’s Voice and Leadership–Ghana Project is implemented by Plan International Canada and Ghana in partnership with WiLDAF and NETRIGHT, to advocate for Ghanaian women’s and girls’ rights and ensure sustainability of women’s movements.
The project also supports 21 local women’s rights organisations to deliver services to advance gender equality and to better advocate for changes in policies and legislation that negatively impact women and their rights.