The National Association of Local Authority of Ghana (NALAG) has organised a capacity building training workshop for female assembly members in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Savannah and North East regions.
The two-day workshop that took place in Tamale from March 9 to 10, 2020, provided opportunity for 129 female assembly members from the five regions to be trained in how the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) were run.
The participants, who were made up of elected and government appointees, were taken through the structure of the assembly, the relationship between the assembly and the Regional Coordinating Council, the functions of the assembly, responsibilities of an assembly member, lobbying and advocacy skills and resource generation.
The workshop, which was on the theme: “Advancing Women Political Participation and Leadership in the Local Government”, was organised with support from the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF), the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UKAID).
Speaking on the theme for the training, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama expressed dissatisfaction with women representation in local governance.
She noted that out of the total number of candidates who stood for last year’s district assembly level elections, only eight per cent were female with three per cent of them winning the contest.
Hajia Alima described the low level of representation of women at the local level as unacceptable and called on NALAG and all other actors at the local governance level to work together to help increase women’s participation in local governance.
She said the theme for the training was appropriate, especially looking at the status of women in local governance.
“Despite women being more than men in the country, there were only 8.1 per cent of women in the local government system with over 90 per cent being male,” she stated.
She charged women to overcome all barriers that were hindering them from participating in the local governance system of the country.
The West African Regional Programmes Officer for CLGF, Ms Joyce Ekuful observed that despite the gains made in improving women participation in local and national governance, women representation in decision making across the country was still low.
“We have realised that the number is still low.
The information we have is that this year, the number of women that won the election went up to eight per cent from 4.5 per cent in 2015, and so we want them to have the necessary capacity so that they will be effective in their roles as assembly members,” she stated.
Mr Kweku Amankwah, the General Secretary of NALAG, for his part, indicated that NALAG was poised to see women participation at the local government level being improved.
He noted that if women participation at the local level was improved, there would be a corresponding increment at the national level.