The Canadian government has given out 500,000 Canadian dollars which is equivalent to approximately GH¢1.3 million to support women’s rights organizations in Ghana.

It is an additional funding for its ongoing Women’s Voice and Leadership project in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money is expected to help reduce the negative impact of COVID-19 on the rights of the poorest and most marginalized women and girls in Ghana.

This additional funding will support women’s rights organizations that are responding to COVID-19, including supporting their efforts to advocate for gender-responsive COVID 19 policies and programmes nation-wide.

Acting High Commissioner of Canada in Ghana, Sara Nicholls said this additional funding will support efforts to find and implement gender-sensitive responses to COVID-19 in Ghana.

“COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on women and girls, and our responses must reflect this challenge. Ghanaian women’s rights organizations are on the frontline, providing services to women and girls and fighting for their rights during these uncertain times.”

Canada gives GH¢1.3m to women’s rights organisations in Ghana amid Covid-19
Acting High Commissioner of Canada in Ghana, Sara Nicholls

Programmes Manager, Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT), Patricia Blankson Akakpo, said together as feminist organisations they shall maximize their efforts to promote a dignified life for women and girls during this pandemic.

“This support from Global Affairs Canada is important because it puts funding and decision- making power directly in the hands of women’s rights organisations to respond to the unique needs that women and girls face in the pandemic.”

Ghanaian women constitute the majority of primary care givers for families and in professional capacities of health and social work, placing them at an increased risk of exposure in both their personal and professional lives.

She continued that, “let women’s voices count in responding to COVID-19. These women know how to solve their challenges, and together we shall win the fight against COVID-19.”

Another beneficiary women group is the Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF)-Ghana.

National Programmes Coordinator, Melody Darkey, observes the pandemic has clearly amplified existing inequalities between women and men, the rich and the poor and exposed the underbelly of vulnerability in this country.

“Ghana, having been largely spared the 2014 Ebola outbreak, women’s rights networks such as ours did not have a dress rehearsal on gender and vulnerability risk communication, disaster preparedness and response to fall back on for a pandemic of the scale of COVID-19.

It has thus made it clear that integrating gender and vulnerability into pandemic response should not be an after-thought, rather, it should be a deliberate, systematic, participatory and cyclical process, allowing for iteration of lessons as the situation evolves. “

She continued that, “The support from Global Affairs Canada will not only help support the immediate needs of vulnerable women, children, and men, but also enhance our institutional capacity and preparedness to provide the necessary support to our constituents, while at the same time enabling us to unearth the emerging advocacy issues requiring the attention of state institutions at the forefront of the pandemic response”.

Canada gives GH¢1.3m to women’s rights organisations in Ghana amid Covid-19

COVID-19, aside from taking precious lives and challenging global health systems, is also exposing and deepening gender inequalities, as well as having multiple effects on women and girls worldwide, from increased sexual and gender-based violence, unpaid care work, to deepening poverty.

“This additional support from Global Affairs Canada is so timely and a great relief for local women-led organisations in Ghana, to give voice to the voiceless and provide a chance to address the inequalities and also to remain relevant in this crucial time,” Patricia Isabella Essel, Project Lead, Women’s Voice and Leadership Ghana Project, Plan International Ghana, said.

She added that the support will not just save lives but will also contribute to the collective efforts of getting through this pandemic together and bouncing back stronger in giving meaning to gender equality and women’s rights.

Saadya Hamdani, Director Gender Equality, Plan International Canada, reiterated the fact that not only has COVID-19 magnified existing gender inequalities, it has exacerbated them.

“The voices of women and girls are invariably absent in public and private level decision-making during crises – including local, girl-led and women’s rights organizations.”

According to her, when the Canadian government directly supports local women’s rights organizations in countries such as Ghana and Ethiopia where COVID-19 is exacerbating gender inequalities, it means that “we’re directly supporting girls and women who are at risk, or who are victims of rights violations, including gender-based violence, exploitation, child marriage and dropping out of school.”

Local women’s rights and girl-led organizations are critical agents of change and service delivery in their societies and supporting their work is crucial in ensuring they can continue their work and leadership within their communities.

Canada gives GH¢1.3m to women’s rights organisations in Ghana amid Covid-19

Women’s Voice and Leadership
The Women’s Voice and Leadership – Ghana project is implemented by Plan International Canada and Plan International Ghana in partnership with WiLDAF and NETRIGHT.

The project supports these two national women’s rights networks to enhance their collective voices to advocate for Ghanaian women’s and girls’ rights and ensure sustainability of the women’s movement in Ghana.

The project also supports 21 local women’s rights organizations (WROs) to deliver services to advance gender equality, and to better advocate for changes in policies and legislation that negatively impact women and their rights.

In addition, up to 75 local WROs will benefit from grants designed to support innovative approaches that will create lasting contributions for women and girls and respond to pertinent issues, such as challenging harmful and discriminatory practices and social norms in Ghana.

With the additional COVID-19 related funding, the project now has a total value of 5.89 million Canadian dollars and will be implemented over 5 years (2019-2024).

This project is part of Canada’s Women’s Voice and Leadership Program, which includes 32 projects in 30 countries and regions for a total amount of 174 million Canadian dollars.

Ghana’s is one among six Women’s Voice and Leadership projects in Africa to receive additional funds to advocate for and implement gendered-responses to COVID-19.



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