Damongo: March 8, 23 – Abdulai Zulkaninu
The Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) through its Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW2) project has call on the general public most especially, strategic stakeholders to support women get access to technology to help improve their socioeconomic status in life. The call was made on the eve of International Women’s Day celebration in Damongo on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.
MEDA’s GROW2 project is celebrating women farmers who have ventured into the use of technology and innovation in various agribusinesses despite the daring challenges and constraints to women, especially the rural poor.
The International Women’s Day program was also used to create awareness of the gender-equitable balance of unpaid care work with households, communities and private sector and it’s impact on women’s health and productivity.
Francis Essuman, the Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW2) project manager noted that women have been left behind when it comes technology and innovation in agriculture, most especially in the rural communities.
Francis Essuman said it is estimated that women are involved in about 70% of agriculture activities involving production, processing, marketing among others. This really highlights how important women are to, agriculture production in Ghana. Unfortunately, when it comes to access to technology women are the most disadvantaged. They are the ones that suffer the huge gap.
He added that the nation needs to do more to overcome the challenges by supporting activities of women in technology to help improve and empower them to the top.
According to him some of the challenges faced by women in the country include but not limited to literacy, sociocultural issues, most women dwelling in rural areas, hence their inability to use basic technology.
Francis Essuman explain that the GROW2 project is a five(5) year project started in October 2021 and being funded by Global Affairs Canada, that’s targeting to meet at least 40,000 women small holder farmers and reach out to 50 agribusinesses with about 50% of these businesses led by women. The project is dealing with five thousand (5,000) women entrepreneurs at the communities level. This strongly shows how issues about women are cherished by MEDA in agriculture.
The GROW2 project is working in the areas of soybeans, groundnut and vegetable production in the three (3) regions; Savannah region, northern and Upper West regions to promote socioeconomic status of women.
“Our goal is that by five (5) years time, all the clients should be empowered economically and socially in their farming activities at the community level. This should be achieved in five (5) years time.”.
The theme for the 2023 women’s day celebration is DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality. The GROW2 project is working towards overcoming women technology gaps by promoting access to technology for women through private sector partnership, getting women into agribusinesses fairs, connecting women to businesses to be able to access technologies and empowering them to compete well in business environment.
MEDA’s SMART incentive business support to women to enable them access technologies is another policy laid out to help women upgrade themselves in technology usage.
The gap between women and men in terms of access to technology is wide. This is because men have good access to technology for farming activities and have more resources to be able to acquire or access those technologies and are well connected as compared to women.
The GROW2 project will help bridge the gap and empower communities to give women long-term access to lands.
Already, the GROW2 project is working with CECOTAPS, traditional authorities, land owners and other viable stakeholders to achieve the target.
Francis Essuman also called on all stakeholders to come on board to support women get better access to agriculture technologies to help improve their socioeconomic conditions.
The International Women’s Day (IWD) is an annual global commemoration of the women’s right movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women.
The theme for 2023 is “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.
A drama was performed by school children to portray the need for more family and society support for women to help them play vital roles in community development.
The Coordinating Director for West Gonja municipality in the Savannah region Jimah Yakubu, who delivered address on behalf of the MCE (Musah Kusubari) commended MEDA for taking a bold step to support women towards getting easy access to technology. The project which targets improving social and economic empowerment for women within the project regions is a good one and should be supported by all.
Jimah Yakubu added that women are less educated in rural Ghana hence their inability to use simple technology to carry out some responsibilities.
Jimah Yakubu disclosed that low income countries are losing a lot of income due to limited involvement of women in technology
“Women exclusion in digital world has resulted in about one trillion dollars reduction in the GDP of low and middle income countries in the last decade. The loss is expected to grow to about one and half trillion dollars by 2025 if unattended to (UN Women Gender Snapshot 2022 report)”.
The municipal coordinating director also called on women to take up all the glorious opportunities being made available to them, saying ‘when someone is washing your back, make sure you wash your front’ to complement their efforts.
The West Gonja municipality’s gender desk office will continue to work closely with MEDA and other institutions to help improve the socioeconomic status of women in education, agriculture, business development, income generating activities, advocacy against antisocial abuse of women, among others, he added.
Jimah Yakubu advised women to develop much interest in the upcoming local level district assembly elections and compete to be elected into the decision making system of the various assemblies. Women are most likely to enjoy massive support from institutions and individuals when they show up to be elected as Assembly Members.
“Very soon processes to get Assembly Members elected will start. Our Gender Desk Secretariat will step up the advocacy in order to encourage women to take up responsibilities and interest to contest in district level elections. We have Unit Committee and Assembly Members position available. So that women are not only empowered socially and economically but also politically, to increase the voice and inputs of women into developmental issues”.
Women were told to help in parenting of children so that the children will grow up with good moral values and become responsible future adults.
The Gender Desk Secretariat, Women in Agriculture Development, Assembly Members, Women groups, students, experts in technology among others, called on women to take up technology issues with much interest to help reduce illiteracy and poverty.
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