Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT) has implemented a 30-month project dubbed: “Addressing Systematic Barriers to Enhance Gender Equality and Social Inclusion in Land Governance” to protect livelihoods and interest of rural women farmers.
The three-year project, in partnership with NETRIGHT’s regional focal points and LAWA-Ghana, is under the STAR-Ghana Gender and Social Inclusion (GESI) strategic partnership grant award and it would contribute to evidence-based advocacy for gender and social inclusion reforms in the land sector.
“With the objective of initiating process of engaging relevant state and non-state actors towards the building of strong women’s movement for the passage of the current Land Bill, the implementation of this project has become necessary and timely,” Madam Adwoa Sakyi, the Deputy Convenor of NETRIGHT, stated at the maiden national stakeholders engagement held in Accra on Wednesday.
The day’s event was to formally solicit stakeholders inputs on GESI related problems in the land sector, establish relationships, and mobilise more support for the passage of the Land Bill.
Madam Sakyi said to address structural and systematic challenges within the land tenure systems that had created barriers inhibiting women and socially excluded persons from enjoying their basic rights, it was critical for women’s rights organisations and socially excluded groups working on land to improve their working relationships to enhance cross learning and movement building to protect women’s land interests.
She said in Ghana, women played critical roles in food production and were also responsible for producing food for their families’ consumption.
“Women comprise 52 per cent of the agricultural labour force in Ghana and contribute about 70 per cent of food crop production in the country, however, women reap minimal benefits from investments in the sector,” she said.
According to the Deputy Convenor of NETRIGHT, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s Progress Report for 2013 showed that large proportions of the agricultural workforce were women representing 52 per cent with a high rate of illiteracy and limited capacity too access and adopt improved agricultural technologies, thus most of them were poor.
“Women farmers’ access, control and ownership of land also pose a huge challenge to their farming activities therefore there is the need to address the necessities of women to improve upon their basic conditions and position in society,” she said.
Madam Sakyi cited limited access to credit and financial services, limited access to extension services delivery, low access to new technologies in agriculture, lack of access to control over land and limited access to agro-inputs as certified seeds, fertilizers and other chemicals to support plant growth as some of the challenges facing women in the agricultural sector of the country.
Giving the overview of the project, Madam Patricia Blankson Akakpo, the Programme Manager of NETRIGHT, said the project which started from September 2017 is expected to end in February 2020.
She mentioned desk study, simplification of laws and guidelines, regional consultations, trainings, national policy dialogue, media engagements, monitoring, evaluation and learning as some of the major activities that would be used to coordinate the project.
On membership, Madam Akakpo explained that participants would be drawn from Women’s Rights Organisations, socially excluded groups, Civil Society Organisations and other state and non-state key stakeholders.
Madam Eunice Racheal Agbenyadzi, the GESI and Capacity Building Manager STAR-Ghana, said STAR-Ghana was not only providing financial support for the project but would be partners to plan event, go to the fields with beneficiaries, to see what they were doing and be at the table to interact with stakeholders towards the achieving of a sustainable goal of the project.
“We have committed 15 million Ghana Cedis to the partnership for women to have access and control over land as they tend to be very weak compared to their male counterparts.
“Women land right is key to promoting socio-economic development,” she said.
Madam Agbenyadzi was hopeful that at the end of the three-year project, there would be equal opportunities in the land sector for women, girls, men and boys at all levels by virtue of who they were, their location with no level of deprivation.
Some participants who spoke to the Ghana News Agency called for involvement of queen mothers as their role would be pivotal in the meeting of the project’s goals.
“Let’s also look at the National Land Policy that will be 20 years in 2019 and push for its review to ensure protection of women’s land rights,” Mrs Shelia Minkah-Premo, a legal practitioner and gender activist said.