By Lydia Kukua Asamoah, GNA
Accra, March 8, GNA - The Rebecca Foundation, has started a Women’s Empowerment programme called “Telema”, to help improve the skills of women and their economic status, and ultimately help bridge the gender gap.
Under the “Telema” programme, established a year ago, 200 women in the Eastern and Northern Regions have been equipped with skills to improve their businesses and their family incomes.
Telema is a Ga word for Cowrie, the shell of an animal formerly used as money in parts of Africa, South Asia and the South Pacific.
The Telema programme was established by First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo’s Foundation in response to last’s year’s commitment made at the celebration of the 2017 International Women’s Day held, in Accra.
Speaking at this year’s International Women’s Day event on Thursday, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo said during last year’s event, which she hosted on the theme, “Be bold for change”, she together with most of the participants pledged to take bold initiatives to ensure gender parity.
She said following the pledges, her Foundation had undertaken a lot of programmes and projects that would ensure that girls, women and children were provided with opportunities that would help them develop their potentials and ability towards national development.
“Again we know access to quality healthcare for women, supports gender parity. In response to this, the Rebecca Foundation has built a new and modern Mother and baby unit and a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit for Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and refurbished a facility for Abam Krom in the Central Region.
“Our other charity, the Infanta Malaria Prevention Foundation has constructed a CHPs compound at Nanshegu in the Northern Region. We have also started a project called Reducing malaria and malnutrition in Priority Populations to improve nutrition for pregnant women and children” Mrs Akufo-Addo said.
She announced that her Foundation was also working with the United Nations Population Fund in a programme dubbed “Because I want to be”, which involved getting girls along the coastal regions of Accra to go to school and stay in school.
“Beyond this, we want to send a message of hope to our girls and to local communities that every girl can be whatever they want to be. That every girl deserves to develop to her full potential and it starts with education”.
Mrs Akufo-Addo said many other participants at last year’s event, followed through on their pledges to support gender parity, and that, monitoring and evaluation of those pledges had proved that most of them had undertaken various programmes, all geared towards protecting girls and women and ensuring gender parity.
Under the 2018 theme of “Press for Progress”, the First Lady reiterated her commitment and determination to ensure that the myriad of challenges impeding the efforts and progress of women were mitigated.
She said the theme represents the opening up of opportunities for people to add their voices to discussions and take actions to get us close to our goal.
The First Lady said this year’s event was focusing on two important related issues of Girls’ education and elimination of early marriages, because society was still far from complete eradication of early marriages.
She blamed the inability of girls to advance in education after the Senior High School level to poverty, early marriages, teenage pregnancy, and other socio-cultural factors.
She therefore advised that Ghana should work to ensure that both girls and boys stay in school to develop their full potentials.
The International Women’s day is marked globally on March 8 each year to take a critical look at the barriers that impeded the progress of women and what more needs to be done.
Present at the event were Mrs Samira Bawumia, wife of the Vice–President, some former First Ladies, including Mrs Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings and Mrs Fulera Limann, Hajia Alima Mahama, former Second Lady, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs Joyce Aryee, Founder of Salt and Light Ministry, some Members of Parliament and Members of the Diplomatic Corps.
Others included, Traditional leaders, the Clergy, Members of the Judiciary, some celebrities and Development Partners.