The Community Aid for Rural Development (CARD-Ghana), a non-governmental organisation, has urged stakeholders to ensure the effective participation of young women and girls in the national development decision-making process.
It said despite significant progress towards women empowerment in the country, there were still socio-cultural barriers that militated against their access and control over resources.
Madam Leenat Abdul-Rahaman, the Executive Director of CARD-Ghana, made the call in Wa, on Tuesday at the launch of a young women and girls empowerment project dubbed: “She-Leads”.
The project is being implemented in six regions- Greater Accra, Upper West, North East, Ashanti, Western North and Central Regions – with financial support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Plan International Ghana, one of the three consortium organisations, implementing the five-year project (2021-2025) in Ghana, was leading its implementation in the Upper West Region in partnership with CARD-Ghana.
Eight other countries – Mali, Siera Leon, Liberia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lebanon and Jordan- are also implementing the project.
Madam Abdul-Rahaman indicated that the She-Leads project sought to provide an opportunity for young women and girls to build their capacities to enable them to take up space and to participate meaningfully in decision-making devoid of socio-cultural norms that stifled holistic development.
“Let us all not forget to create a congenial atmosphere to anchor girls and young women access to decision-making space, leadership platforms and roles, and support to dismantle gender stereotypes and negative norms as steps towards reaching our destination with SHE-LEADS,” she explained.
Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih, the Upper West Regional Minister, in a speech read on his behalf, noted that women empowerment and inclusion in decision-making was an integral part of national discourse as it would inure to sustainable national development.
He observed that the She-Leads project was timely, saying, “We need to do all it takes to ensure that our girls and young women are encouraged to actively participate in programmes that will build their self-esteem, boost their confidence and make them assertive.”
Madam Anna N. Nabere, the Project Manager for Plan International Ghana, said She-Leads was to foster strong collaboration between child and women’s rights organisations as well as girls and young women-led organisations to achieve its objective to increase the sustained influence of girls and young women in decision-making and the transformation of gender norms in formal and informal institutions.
She said the project’s objectives were to, among other things, enhance girls and young women collective action in a gender-responsive civil society.
Madam Nabere thanked the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for supporting Plan International Ghana and other organisations to implement the project in the country.
Present at the launch were the She-Leads Country Coordinator to Ghana, queen mothers, Assembly Members, staff of Ghana Education Service and Civil Society Organisations among others.