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ActionAid Ghana (AAG), a non-governmental organisation, has mobilised about 10,000 rural women in five regions and eight districts in Ghana to benefit from “women empowerment and rights project” to help reduce Unpaid Care Work (UCW) and improve their economic self-reliance.
The project aims to empower the women and influence their ability to control their income by practicing Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture (CRSA), recognising the drudgery of UCW and promoting economic livelihoods opportunities for them.
The 367,432 Euro project, ‘Promoting Opportunities for Women Empowerment and Rights’ (POWER) 3, spanning from 2016 to 2020, is also to help improve women’s participation in politics and to increase their food security.
The POWER project addresses women’s economic empowerment in an integrated approach and it is motivated by multiple challenges women are confronted with in accessing productive resources, firming up their leadership skills and aspirations and reducing the burden of unpaid work.
As part of POWER’s advocacy and campaign requirements, AAG organised a one-day sensitisation workshop for media personnel, partners from collaborating ministries, and other strategic partners to share some development insights in an effort to promote a deeper understanding CRSA, UCW and other interventions implemented by AAG in its programme regions
Madam Azumi Mesuna, Project Manager of POWER, added that the purpose of the workshop was to sensitise the media and government officials on UCW and sustainable agriculture to help raise awareness on the demands of women smallholder farmers.
She further explained the media is a very crucial partner when it comes to development and it is important for the media to understand the issues being discussed to report effectively.
The project, according to her, would improve the visibility of the careers of women smallholder-farmers as food producers and for stakeholders to support in their quest to mobilise resources for increased food production.
Under the project, the women would be organised and empowered to demand their rights, especially on women’s unpaid care work, which is more highly valued within households and communities.
Madam Mesuna said care giving played a central role in the Ghanaian economy, stressing that if unpaid care work was given monetary value, it would constitute between 10 and 39 per cent of Gross Domestic product (GDP).
“Women’s UCW when quantified in monetary terms, would create a positive impact not only on women empowerment but also on their children and the entire families,” she said.
The Project Manager mentioned services, such as child care, care of the sick, water collection, energy supply, cleaning, cooking, community development activities, agricultural activities, participation in family business and rearing of animals, as some of the unpaid care work.
“Unpaid care work refers to all unpaid services provided within a household for its members, including care of persons, housework and voluntary community work, among others, she added.
These activities are considered work, because one could pay a third person to perform them.
The NGO, in addressing UCW in Ghana, announced the adaptation the ‘4Rs’ approach, which are: Recognize, Reduce, Redistribute and Represent.
Madam Mesuna said women’s responsibility for care leads to the violation of their basic human rights to education, political participation, decent work and leisure.
She said culture and gender norms highly influenced unpaid work by women, pointing out that the practice contributed to persistent gender inequalities which should be avoided.
Madam Mesuna urged governments to finance public services appropriately to help reduce women’s unpaid care work burden, and tasked the media to actively participate in the POWER project to make care works more visible to actors, especially policy makers.
Source: John Elliot HAGAN || The Finder, Accra