Series of training workshops are being rolled out by Tano Women Empowerment and Development Association (TWEDA) and Women Integrated Development Association WIDA meant to deepen community level advocacy and push for women and Girls adequate representation in decision-making processes.
Women’s empowerment and promoting women’s rights have emerged as a part of a major global movement and is continuing to break new ground in recent years. Days like International Women’s Day are gradually gaining momentum.
Despite a great deal of progress, women and girls continue to face discrimination and relegation in every part of the world, most especially, Africa.
It is for this and other reasons that TWEDA and WIDA, both Women rights advocacy organizationswith financial support from Plan International Ghana felt the need to build the capacities of women and girls to enable them effectively participate in decision making processes.
The workshops which were held in Mining communities including Yamfo, Susanso, Techere, Afrisipa and Adrobaa in the Ahafo Region sought to train and educate women and girls to empower them to get involve in decision making processes at both localand national levels.
The separate trainings, which started on the 15th February and expected to come to an end on the 30th of June is also to ensure that women whose properties, such as lands, farms, buildings and other immovable properties that could be affected by the operations of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited would receive due compensation worth their losses.
Participants in the five mining affected communities within Newmont Ahafo North project areas were enlightened on the necessary legal regulations to enable them negotiate and price their lands and properties that may be affected by the mines. They were also given some confidence- boosting tutorials to enable them to contest localdecision making positions.
In the workshops, participants were taken through how the State has vested the ownership of minerals including gold on the President on behalf of the citizens by citing the 1992 Constitution (Article 257 (6): “vesting of ownership of minerals in the president on behalf of the Republic and in trust for the people of Ghana”. The PNDC law 153 of the 1986 also vests the ownership of minerals in the state to the President. Act 703, 2006, the Minerals and Mining Act also buttresses the people as owners of the minerals but the President holds in trust on behalf of the citizens of Ghana.
It was explained that the above laws give the President the power or right to compulsory acquire lands and properties that minerals are found on.
It furthered that in the case of the Ahafo North, their land is rich in Gold. This means that even if gold is found on people’s properties or lands, the Law gives the government the power to either mine or give the concession for investors to mine. This is known as, ‘the Compulsory Acquisition of Land and property, Article 20 (1a) of the 1992 constitution’. However, clause 2 of the same Article 20 also compel the proponent to effect the prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation to the property owners whose properties would be affected by the operations of the mines.
During the workshop’s open forum, a section of the women raised concerns regarding how women are not properly represented and for that matter, their views and plight are not been heard, let alone tackled to their satisfaction. Others agreed that they have not been actively involved in several decision-making processes they were invited to due to their lack of courage and confidence and lack of respect for women.
Apart from the series of workshops local community information centers within the five communities have also been used to educate the larger populace in the area.
Mr. Richard Adjei-Poku, Executive Director of Livelihood& Environment Ghana – LEG, who was the resource person for the trainings informed participants that government also has the responsibility to supervise the operations of companies and ensure good implementation and compliance of the mining laws and to educate communities or areas that are affected by the activities of these operating companies.
Mr. Adjei-Poku encouraged them to actively participate in all forms of activities that could bring development to their communities and country at large. According to him, women formed an integral part of the world and without them a lot of things cannot be realized.