GrassRoots Africa Empowers Women for  SDGs

Grassroots Africa, a non-governmental organisation working to improve the lives of the poor in Africa, especially women  living in ecologically fragile areas has held a two-day workshop on women on the United Nation (UN) sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The workshop was held with the sole aim to take stock of the level of participation and the contribution of women towards the achievement of the UN- SDGs.

In addition, the work was also to encourage women  to participate in  the 2030 women empowerment  projects.

With the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)in 2015, a new set of development goals known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were drafted by the UN and ratified by all the UN countries.

There are 17 UN- Sustainable Development Goals, each with a set of targets for countries to achieve by the year 2030.

Addressing participants at the two day workshop at Ho last Tuesday, Executive Director of Grassroots  Africa and Lead Trainer for the Project, Madam  Hawa Nibi Amenga-Etego, said, ”Women have a critical role to play in all of the SDGs, with many targets specifically recognizing women’s equality and empowerment as both the objective, and as part of the solution.’’

According to her, the SDGs sought to change the course of the 21st century by addressing key challenges such as poverty, inequality, violence against women, among others marginalized issues.

She further  stressed the importance of the  SDG 5 and 6, and that SDG 5 is known as the stand-alone gender goal for in achieving issues  affecting women and girls, whiles SDG6 is to ensure access to water and sanitation for all by 2030.

On Sustainable Development Goal (SDG6) it also  emerged that about 400 Ghanaian children die each year from diarrhoea, even more die from pneumonia and about 23% of Ghanaian children suffer stunting growth (chronic malnutrition linked to poor water and sanitation).

Ghana has  ranked as the 7th dirtiest country in the world, as one in  five Ghanaians have no access to toilets and so defecate openly.

For instance, it has been revealed that  in Northern part of Ghana, over  70% Ghanaians does open defecation which reflects the significant national inequalities.

This, Madam Hawa Amenga-Etego  viewed  that the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) intervention as ”a cornerstone of the gender discourse and practice on drinking water and sanitation.

She said, it has been widely acknowledged that gender behaviour in hygiene management remain, “crucial to the sustainability and effectiveness of interventions in drinking water and sanitation.”

Madam Hawa Amenga-Etego said, even though significant progress has been made in awareness of the gender gap from schools to boardrooms, it was time players in the programme translate them into action.

She stated that workplaces, healthcare delivery policies  and our education systems must be designed to provide a level playing field, while practices that have proven to worked must be adapted more broadly.

The WASH concept which approaches community level and in schools, the Grassroot Africa Executive Director pointed,  work towards facilitating behavioural change alongside participatory water and sanitation planning and implementation.

Participants at the workshop also identified some progress made so far on Gender equality and women’s empowerment which includes, Improved access to education for Girls, a decline in the rate of child marriage,progress  being made in the area of sexual and reproductive health as well as reproductive rights, drastic reduction in maternal deaths and many others.

Despite these achievements, gender equality still remains a persistent challenge for countries worldwide and Ghana in particular and the lack of such equality identified as the major obstacles to the achievement of  SDGs.

It was however  concluded that in order to achieve gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, there is the need to ensure that girls and women are equal partners to boys and men.

Participant organisations all working towards the attainment of the UN-SDGs at the GrassRoots Africa workshop were Global Women Development Promotors (GLODEP), AMASACHINA, CIWED, Lifetime Empowerment Centre (LEC), RONET Ghana, FREMWA/ACCESS, Ghana Alliance for Clean Cook Stoves (GHACCO),WilDAF Ghana and IMPACT Ghana.

Others organisation were Empowerment Institute (TEI), Janos Foundation, Oak Foundation, African Youth Development and Skills Center (AYD), among others.

Madam Hawa Amenga-Etego later told THE REPUBLIC, Grassroots Africa works to advance the human rights of the poor and the marginalised as well as influence policy in favour of women’s equality and contribute to broader social, environmental and economic well-being in Africa.

She said currently Grassroots Africa is implementing the women 2030 project in partnership with the Women Environment Program based in Abuja Nigeria but being carried out in 52 countries across different regions of the world.

The Project she added, was been led by a coalition of five  women and gender network organisations collaborating to realize the SDGs in a gender equitable and climate just way.

Source: Engsalige Nyaaba

The Republic News Online

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