The Municipal Chief Executive for Sagnarigu and President of REFELA Ghana Chapter, Hon Iddrisu Mariam has reiterated the committed of government in addressing issues that affects women development and empowerment.
According to her, the intentions of government is to bring women vulnerability to a halt through deliberate initiatives and programmes to protect women rights and empower them, adding that, Ghana has signed to many initiatives and became member to several networks around the globe to empower women and protect children including REFELA.
Hon Mariam noted that, one of the mandates of the Network of Women Elected officials of Local Governments of Africa (REFELA) is to fight any form of violence against women, stressing that, the network is supposed to ensure zero tolerance of violence against women. “And this mandate, zero tolerance for violence against women is very achievable”.
The Sagnarigu MCE last year at the 8th Edition of Africities Summit in Marrakesh, Morocco, was elected the REFELA Vice President (West Africa) and President (Ghana) respectively to mobilize women in decision making including, assembly women, females mayors and females MPs to form the Ghana REFELA Chapter.
“We were expected to go back to our various countries to organize the Ghana branch of REFELA, the world body will be in Ghana to inaugurate it.
We will mobilize assembly women, female mayors, female MPs regardless of the political party into the REFELA Ghana chapter”. She said in an interview
Hon Iddrisu Mariam said, the executive members of the REFELA are made up mayors, “so we elected1 mayor from each of the ten regions as REFELA reps so that the ten regions will come together to form the Ghana Network REFELA.
It is not a one woman show you cannot do it alone you have to decentralize it so that every person will feel part of the network and at the local, the regional level REFELA reps are those collating data of all assembly women, female MPs and Mayors so that at the end of the day we will have on record the total number of elected and appointed members to form the REFELA in Ghana and then rope in NGOs that are gender sensitive and those who are working towards women empowerment.
We will now bring them (NGOs) in to let them know what we are doing because we have a mandate as REFELA, we have a mandate to ensure that we have Africa without street children… we want to ensure that we work with NGOs both local and international NGOs, Ministry of Gender to ensure that we come out with programmes that will take children off the street, we don’t want to see a single child on the street of Ghana whether in Accra, Tamale, Sagnarigu, Kumasi, Bolga, Savelugu.
We want to ensure that we make the life of these children better, those already there (on the streets) are not their fault. We will take them off the streets, we will come together and design programmes to make sure that we have Ghana without street children… we will ensure zero tolerance for street children in Ghana and Africa”.
The REFELA Ghana President said, the network will partner with both local and international NGOs especially those in the areas of women development and children and come out with advocacy programmes to champion the issues of women and children.
“We will intensify these advocacies in every corner of our society ensure that we take children out of the streets, halt violence against women and empower women to become self-sufficient and confidence in all endeavours”. She stated
Hon. Mariam hinted that, REFELA will also push to bridge the equity gap between men and women in governmental institutions, adding that, REFELA will push for 30% of women representation in all government departments and agencies. “But in this regards I know Ghana has gone ahead of REFELA because our affirmative action bill is pushing for 40%-60% representation of women, REFELA is pushing for 30%-70% so that every African country in the world will ensure that all government institutions have 30% representation of women. Politically we have to fight for it because we have to be elected, if you the affirmative action says 40%-60% and you come out and they don’t vote for you then what happen?… if as a female aspirant for MP ship you contested and they don’t vote for you then what happen to affirmative action bill?… so it is the duty of REFELA to advocate for that women to be elected”.
She said, REFELA will identified NGOs who are also pushing the agenda for women in politics to succeed in its mandate. “So this what we have been task to do in our various African countries so that in the very near future women will be empowered politically, economically and physically”.
The Sagnarigu MCE noted that, the network will also work with men to achieve its mandate, saying that, “we need to change the mindset of people about feminism and women empowerment, we need to work serious towards that… not that we are trying to rub shoulders with men. We need to let men know that we want them to support us work side by side with them not behind them. And working side by side with men does not mean we are coming to rub shoulders with them… we still know our place as women. This is what we also need to educate our political heads, our women politicians wherever you find yourself you should still know your role as a woman, your role as a wife, your role as a mother. We must play our roles as women with respect so that our men will support us to succeed”.
Africities is the United Cities and Local Government of Africa’s flagship pan- African event that is held every three years in one of the five regions of Africa.
They mobilize communities and local authorities in Africa countries, as well as financial institutions, civil society groups and development partners at continental and international level.
The architecture of all Africities Summits aims to address major questions based on the construction of the 2063 Vision of Africa with debate proposed by the African Union Commission.
The 2018 Africities 8th Edition is hosting over 5000 participants representing all the stakeholders of African local life as well as partners from other regions of the world: Ministers in charge of local governments, Ministers in charge of housing and urban development, ministers of public service, Mayor, local authorities and officials of local and central administration.
Defining appropriate shared strategies in order to improve the living conditions of people at the local level and contribute to the integration, peace and unity of Africa starting from the grassroots are the main objectives of the summit.
The Network of Women Elected officials of Local Governments of Africa (REFELA) brings women political leaders dealing with the governance of MMDAs and electoral areas.
REFELA was launched in Tangiers, Morocco, in 2011. It is managed by an executive Bureau that includes members representing the five regions of Africa.