Plan International Ghana through its project “Women’s Innovation for Sustainable Enterprise” (WISE), is organising series of activities to commemorate this year’s International Day of Rural Women.
This year’s celebration, which was globally marked on October 15, on the theme: “Rural Women Cultivating Good Food for All”, aims at recognising the key role women play in promoting agriculture, economic growth and the wellbeing of families.
In an interview with Madam Patricia Gyan-Bassaw, WISE Project Lead, Plan International Ghana, she said it was important to consider the critical role rural women played in promoting agriculture, rural development, food security and eradicating poverty.
“When it comes to the food system, women play an essential role from production, processing, aggregation, distribution to marketing and preparing the food to make sure households and communities get the nutrition they need to be healthy,” she added.
Women, however, faced a lot of barriers in terms of power distribution, roles and responsibilities, unpaid care given, and domestic work.
“But we know rural women can do more and better when given the opportunity and support, to enhance growth and development.”
Madam Gyan-Bassaw explained that the WISE project was, therefore, introduced to build confidence, assertiveness and make rural women get easy access to where they needed to get to, to excel as a way of making them get to the level where they could appreciate their talents and capacities.
She said Plan International Ghana was also putting together interventions to ensure that productivity, profitability and innovation of women in businesses were enhanced.
Other interventions were building of women-friendly hub to provide gender responsive services, entrepreneurship and business management services and equipping rural women and other vulnerable ones with the skills to go into the soya bean value-chain, snail and mushroom farming.
The Project Lead said they would also connect the women to some partners to make marketing of their produces successful after production.
The WISE project, she explained was built on the inspiration, power and potential of Ghanaian women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses.
Women in Ghana are blazing trails in small and medium enterprises leveraging their intelligence, determination, resilience, and innovation to create, grow and sustain their businesses, she said.
“Plan International Ghana and Plan International Canada stand in solidarity with these women, working with them to strengthen their agency, social networks, financial and business skills to achieve their economic rights and contribute towards achieving gender equality,” she added.
Madam Lilian Bruce, Gender and Influencing Specialist, Plan International Ghana, said empowering rural women and girls in the areas of decent work and social protection, education and training, including women in decision making and leadership were crucial.
Moreover, eliminating gender, sexual and domestic violence and harmful practices among other interventions would enable women and girls to recover from the current global challenges including that of COVID-19 and position them on the path to sustainable economic growth.
Some of the challenges women in rural areas especially in the agricultural sector face are lack of access to lands, loans, appropriate information, good service, education, transportation services, and sexual and reproductive health services, she said.
The WISE project would in this regard directly empower and support 150 communities in five districts in the Tano North and Techiman Municipal, Sunyani Municipal, Tolon-Kumbungu, in the Bono, Bono-East, Ahafo, and Northern regions.
Madam Bruce said the need for rural women and girls to build resilience could not be over emphasized as the world faced serious challenges in the areas of climate change with its associated effects on agriculture, food security and nutrition.
They needed interventions and empowerment considering how the devastating economic effect of COVID-19 on livelihoods had aggravated their plight in all diversities.
Plan International Ghana is an international nongovernmental organisation that works in partnership with women, children, families and communities to develop sustainable ways to end the cycle of poverty.