Stakeholders reiterate calls for modification of harmful cultural practices

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Social Cultural Modification
Social Cultural Modification

Stakeholders have intensified calls for some aspects of cultural practices and belief systems they describe as harmful, inhibiting growth and development, particularly among women and girls to be modified.

Over the years. they said, some of those harmful cultural practices had not yielded the desired results and was time for retrospection to identify such practices and belief systems and eliminate or modify them to propel accelerated development and help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

They classified such practices as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), child marriage, dehumanizing widowhood rites, sister in bed among others as obstacles and discriminatory acts hindering the progress of women and girls and underscored the urgent need to end it.

The stakeholders comprising women, legal practitioners, advocacy organisations among others made the call during training of 120 women from four districts in the Upper East Region on harmful cultural practices.

The training, organised by Forum for African Women Educationalists Ghana (FAWE-GH), a Non-Governmental Organization and held at separate locations was carried out for women from the Kassena-Nankana and Builsa North Municipals, and Kassena-Nankana West and Bongo Districts.

The training formed part of a five-year Sexual Health and Reproductive Education (SHARE) project being implemented by a consortium, led by Right To Play and supported by WaterAid Ghana, FHI360 and FAWE-GH with funding support from Global Affairs Canada.

During one of the training sessions held in Navrongo in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality, Ms Diana Amanya a participant, indicated that women continued to suffer from certain cultural practices due to lack of knowledge and advocated strategic educational interventions to be implemented at the community level to empower communities to lead advocacy for the modification of harmful practices.

Ms Judith Asiateba, another participant indicated that some of the cultural practices were sources of income for the perpetrators and called on the government to make the punishment for the perpetrators of harmful cultural practices such as child marriage, FGM punitive enough than its current state.

Mr Edmond Alagpulinsa, Principal Investigator at the Upper East Regional Directorate of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice who facilitated the training noted that some cultural practices were described as harmful because they were dehumanising and affected physical, psychological, and emotional wellbeing of the victim or survivor.

He said although there were legislations such the 1992 Constitution, the Children’s Act of 1998, Act 560 among others that frowned at injurious practices, women and girls were the ones who continued to suffer most from some of the harmful cultural practices.

He attributed the cause to power dynamics and low representation of women at the decision-making levels both at the traditional, local, and national governance levels, “in terms of decision-making women are always not there to make decisions and that is why most of these always affect women.”

Mr Richard Amoani, National Coordinator, FAWE-GH, explained that the training was to equip the women with the knowledge to contribute to reduce some cultural practices that were harmful and limited the progress of society.

He said the SDGs particularly goals four and six which emphasized quality education for all and gender equality by 2030, continued to be threatened by some of the harmful cultural practices and called on stakeholders to support advocacy for their modifications.

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