"Yo hu pe Ↄ, se nyumu ta he" was the slogan, meaning roughly: women are powerful, but the men must help.
Last Sunday the women of Azizanya and Kewunor (and some men too!) came together for a meeting facilitated by Radio Ada and Star Ghana with the goal of addressing gender discrimination issues in their households and communities.
Many attended, and discussion was lively; there was one activity in particular which sparked much conversation. Each group by occupation (fish seller, farmer, trader, etc) chose a symbol to represent their general attitude, the leaf meant happy, the stone meant not happy, and the stick meant so-so. From each group one representative presented the symbol of the group, and spoke on why the group chose that symbol. Out of 7 groups, 3 chose the stone (unhappy) to represent their present condition, and 4 chose the stick (so-so). In discussing why they chose the symbol the representatives brought up the following issues:
-The threat of their land being taken from them, "we fear that the chiefs will take us off the land so they can make money, or that the companies will come and tell us to go"
-Lack of subsidies for farming
-Pollution of the river and ocean decreasing fish populations, "the big boats from China and Ghana going up the river are spilling oil, and chemicals into the river"
-Poor road quality to get to market for trading
-Bad sanitation practices, "we talk about it, but there are no toilets!"
-No in town cold store to keep the fish from spoiling
The participants also recognized things they are proud of themselves for including:feeding their children every night, helping them go to school, building their businesses, and advocating for the community.
The meeting ended with announcements concerning the communities right to stay on the land, stating that, "anyone who tells you to go must present the legal proof -verified by the community lawyer- that they own the land, without this, tell them to go and only come back with the documents. This land is yours and no one can simply tell you to move, no matter how much money they may have"
The next meeting will be a celebration on International Womens day: Thursday March 8th, 2018.
The Volta Revival Foundation is looking forward to supporting the community women in their goals to bring positive development to Ada!