Oxfam in West Africa
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World Rural Women’s Day Celebration in Ghana

November 10th, 2014 Posted in Agriculture, Campaigns, English, Gender, Ghana, GROW Campaign
Rural women's march in Garu.

Rural women’s march in Garu.

“Women are the unsung heroes in the rural areas who struggle to keep their families together and yet the only acknowledgement of their tremendous contribution is the usual ‘behind every successful man, there is a woman’. The District Chief Executive of Garu Tempane, one of Oxfam’s project areas in northern Ghana expressed this sentiment to emphasise the neglect of rural women’s contribution to national economies.

Oxfam and its local partner Presbyterian Agric Station-Garu (PAS-G) collaborated with the district to celebrate the World Rural Women’s Day. Being the first of its kind in the district, women both young and old ignored the scorching sun to march on the principal streets of Garu to commemorate the occasion.

As the women danced, sang and interacted, one thing became clear; these women will crave for such a day as often as possible to come face to face with duty bearers in order to channel their grievances.

Throughout the forum, testimonies given by men attested that the contribution of the rural woman goes beyond just the planting season but extend to harvesting and processing of various food items for consumption. A typical example was cited in the Garu Tempane District of the Upper East Region where most of the rural women collect and process their shea butter, mill their rice, and brew their pito (a local beverage) not excluding oil extraction from palm kernel, groundnut among so many other things.

The women, as they explained are also largely involved in getting through the thick and thin to cart the various foodstuffs to the markets across the regions for the urban dwellers to get something to feed on.

In an open discussion, some of the women grabbed the opportunity to directly speak to the district leadership. Most of their concerns bothered on early marriages, women leadership and agricultural support.

“Women should not be supported only in accessing agricultural inputs but also be pushed to take leadership positions in the assembly,” one of them pleaded.

“Early marriages should be avoided so that our daughters can go far in their education”, yet another requested.

In the capital Accra, the celebration came in the form of advocacy through media and stakeholder engagement. Oxfam partners WiLDAF, PFAG and CICOL made various presentations on national programmes both radio and television stations to make a strong case for the need to invest in women rural farmers.

Most of the discussions focused on bringing practical perspective into the real situation of small holder rural women farmers in addressing issues of access to Land, Agric Extension, Credit and Agricultural Resources. The various platforms were to call for a change for the situation of the rural woman to make life more bearable for them.

Naana Nkansah Agyekum

Media and Communications Officer

Oxfam in Ghana

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