Ghanaian Women's Social Leadership Program

The Ghanaian Women’s Social Leadership Program (GWSLP) is a program developed by NYU Wagner  in collaboration with Fundación Mujeres por África and Banco Santander. The program offers a one-year, cohort-based leadership development program for women in mid-level positions in Ghanaian civil society organizations. Through the program’s leadership development, individualized coaching, and networking opportunities, GWSLP participants develop the skills and support needed to lead transformational change in their communities and society at large.

Ghanaian women make invaluable contributions to their country’s social, economic, and political growth. However, these contributions are often underrepresented and women in Ghana often lack access to positions of higher authority. The GWSLP offers mid-career women an opportunity to grow as leaders, take on new leadership roles, and tackle the pressing issues in their communities.

The program is a part of Ghana Wins! partnership program at New York University, which aims to strengthen the capacity of Ghanaian women as leaders in healthcare, education and civil society.

 

GWSLP PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The GWSLP:

  • Designs and delivers a Transformational Leadership Development Curriculum for 15 women leaders each year. This enhances leadership capabilities and prepares participants for higher-level leadership roles in various civil society organizations;
  • Supports participants in developing action-learning projects which allow women to achieve personal leadership goals, augment their project management skills, and collaborate with key stakeholders. They then undertake a project that will strengthen their organization while addressing challenges relating to the environment, peace and security, or gender equality.
  • Builds a network of Ghanaian women leaders able to inspire other women through leadership in institutions and social sector organizations.

PROGRAM COMPONENTS

The GWSLP participants benefit from the following components:

  • Leadership Institute in Ghana — At the beginning of the program, participants meet in Ghana for a weeklong intensive leadership learning institute. Instructors from NYU collaborate with local faculty and leadership providers to provide instruction on critical topics in leadership and management. Sessions and workshops offer participants opportunities to learn from influential leaders in their field while encouraging peer-to-peer learning, reflection, critical thinking, and application of key concepts.
  • Action-Learning Projects — Throughout the year, participants apply what they learn by developing and implementing action-learning projects in their home organizations or communities. Before the leadership institute, participants are asked to prepare by convening teams at their home organizations and soliciting project ideas for the organization or field. Through the duration of the program, participants continue to work in small groups on designing their action-learning projects with the support of a coach.
  • Small Group Coaching — Following the intensive institute, participants work with coaches in small groups. Coaches — accomplished Ghanaian women leaders — support participants’ leadership goals and their efforts to apply their learning in their home organizations. Between meetings, coaches coordinate individual follow-up coaching sessions with each participant. This coaching provides essential opportunities for structured reflection on participants’ leadership skills and goals.
  • Leadership Institute in New York City — Halfway through the program, participants attend a weeklong Leadership Institute at NYU Wagner. The institute integrates classroom workshops on leadership theory and leadership skills and site visits to social change organizations, giving participants a chance to understand practices of social change leadership in context and the opportunities and challenges that leaders face in their work.
  • Individualized Assessment and Feedback — Throughout the program, participants assess their own progress and receive structured feedback about their leadership. Analysis and feedback from program staff and coaches help participants to make the most of their time in the program.
  • Networking Opportunities — GWSLP also facilitates participants with the chance to develop connections with other leaders and GWSLP alumni. Program participants have diverse opportunities to practice networking skills and build a community of practice.

GWSLP APPLICATION PROCESS

New York University’s Robert F Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and Fundacion Mujeres for Africa are pleased to invite mid-career women from civil society organizations in Ghana to apply to be part of the 2016 Ghanaian Women’s Social Leadership Program (GWSLP).

The GWSLP program offers:

  • Two week-long intensive leadership institutes, one in Ghana and one in New York City facilitated by experienced leadership development academics and practitioners; 
  • Hands-on, interactive workshops, and site visits that offer opportunities for reflection, peer learning, team building, and networking;
  • Opportunity to design and implement an Action Learning Plan to tackle a critical community or organizational need;
  • Expert coaching through the duration of the program and during  the execution of the Action Learning Project; and,
  • Opportunity to join a network of dynamic women leaders in Ghanaian civil society who are contributing to strengthen leadership and social sector organizations in Ghana.  
  • For more information, please review the detailed program components.
  • Please also review the program web page and the draft program schedule.
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ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

  • Be 25 – 36 years old.
  • Be a mid-career woman with a minimum of 4 years of work experience in government or civil society. Experience in other fields such as academia, business or journalism is also accepted, as long as they are related to public and social issues, particular to women’s empowerment.
  • Ideal applicants are program coordinators, managers or directors in civil society organizations or are journalists writing and advocating for women’s issues.
  • Be a resident of Accra or the vicinity areas at the time of application.
  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent.
  • Be currently employed and must be committed to work in the same organization the year they participate in the GWSLP.
  • Commit to participate in all GWSLP activities, and successfully design and complete an Action Learning project at the end of the program.
  • Have the support of the employer and organization before completing the application.
  • Submit an Employer Endorsement Letter to indicate the employer’s approval to participate in the program as described above, in relation to the organization vision and mission.

SELECTION CRITERIA

  • Exhibited leadership: Capability for leadership at work and community; her ability to take initiative, motivate and work with others; and interest in developing her leadership and making a difference in her society.
  • Interest and commitment to social change: Interest in issues of public importance or social change work, the displayed awareness of social realities in her country, and the desire to contribute to social change.
  • Strong communication skills: Clearly, concisely and directly articulate her ideas and insights.
  • Self-starter: Engagement in projects important to her, to judge her capacity to apply program lessons in her organization.

PROGRAM UPDATES

July 25 through August 1, 2015

Second Cohort: Leadership Training institute in New York City

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The "Leadership Training Institute in New York" was organized for the second cohort of the Ghanaian Women’s Social Leadership Program from July 25 through August 1, 2015. This training institute was attended by 14 second cohort participants. The training institute provided a comprehensive program with workshop sessions in the morning and site visits in the afternoon, to social change organizations such as The Opportunity Network, Global Kids and Harlem Grown. Visits also included the United Nations, Ellis Island Museum, the High Line and other NYC points of educational interest. 

The leadership sessions provided relevant skills to participants to build their leadership and continue  tackling the most pressing  social issues in their organizations and communities. The institute  provided an excellent opportunity for the GWSLP participants to continue strenghtening networks, and coordinating and sharing resources. It created a space for participants to learn from NYU faculty, leadership development practitioners, and from the work advanced by exemplary social change organizations, while enjoying the richness and diversity of New York City. As the participants continue implementing their  Action-Learning Projects, they will continue to take full advantage of the opportunity the program offers.

 

March 16 - March 21, 2015

Second Cohort: Leadership Training institute in Ghana

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The Ghanaian Women’s Social Leadership Program conducted the first "Leadership Institute in Ghana" for the second cohort, from March 16 through 21, 2015. This training was facilitated by leadership development experts from NYU Wagner and the University of Ghana, and leadership development practitioners and civil society women-leaders from Ghana. 

The training institute included sessions such as: Understanding Leadership in the Ghanaian Context; Gender and Leadership; Management and Leadership; Conflict Resolution; Communicaions and Public Speaking; Monitoring and Evaluation; and,  Tackling Corruption at the local level. The training institute was an opportunity for particpants to network and build a community of practice to lead transformational change.

In the months ahead, particpants will be working with tehir respective coaches, advancing their action learning plans and their pesonal leadership goals. 

 

January 17, 2015

First Cohort : 2015 Graduation ceremony 

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The "2015 Graduation ceremony" acknowledged the accomplishments of 15 exceptional Ghanaian women leaders who were part of the first cohort of the program. These women developed their leadership skills through coaching and training, and developed meaningful Action-Learning projects, that tackled critical organizational and community needs in Ghana. This event was also an opportunity to welcome the second cohort of 15 Ghanaian women who will benefit from the coaching, networking and leadership development training opportunities offered by the Ghanaian Women's Social Leaderhsip Program. 

Click here to explore the Action-Learning plans advanced by the First Cohort participants.

PARTICIPANTS AND PROJECTS​

SECOND COHORT PARTICIPANTS (2014-15)

  • Fati Abigail Abdulai

    National Director, Widows and Orphans Movement (WOM)

    Bio

    Fati Abigail Abdulai is a social worker with over five years of experience in development work. Her work has been mainly in the non-profit sector and particularly emphasized human rights of women from rural areas. Her work has occurred at the community, regional, national, and international levels—where she has made significant contributions in advocating for the rights of widows and orphans. Most notably, she presented her paper on the “Issues of Discrimination in Widowhood in Ghana that Require Addressing in the Context of the CEDAW” to the United Nations in 2014.

    Fati has risen through the ranks as a volunteer, national service personnel, and project officer and since 2013 has been as the National Director of the Widows and Orphans Movement (WOM), a reputable non-governmental organization. She has also served on many committees, notably the Shea Network Ghana Advocacy committee and the Regional Strategic Plan Apex committee for the Coalition of NGO’s in the Upper East Region.

    Fati holds a Master’s Degree in Renewable Energy: Technology and Sustainability from Reading University, UK; a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resources Management from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology; and certificates in “Livelihoods and Markets” and “Community-based Natural Resources Management” from the COADY Institute of St Francis Xavier University in Canada.

     

    Action Learning Project (ALP)

    Project Title: Widows have a right to inheritance

    Fati’s ALP seeks to increase awareness of the Intestate Succession Law to encourage couples to document their properties for easy identification and distribution in the event of death of a partner. According to the Domestic Violence Program of the Widows and Orphans Movement (WOM), currently 100% of reported cases involve property seizure from widows and their children due to the absence of written wills and widows’ ignorance of the existence of the Intestate Succession Law.

    To address the issue, Fati has organized an in-house seminar for staff of WOM on the Intestate Succession Law. She has also developed educational materials, including five-minute videos to generate discussions and support awareness activities during the sensitization outreach and public education activities. Fati conducted interviews with women in the communities to understand customary practices on succession and inform the strategies for her project. Working together with the Commission on Human Rights, Fati prepared and broadcast radio discussions in Grune (the local language) on the Intestate Succession Law. She wrote and published an article on the law titled “The Intestate Succession Law Does not work in some parts of Ghana” on her blog. The article was also published on the Modern Ghana website and she was named columnist of the week by Action Aid Ghana. She also held an outreach activity in Talensi district for local leaders and community people using role-play as a ‘teaser’ to provoke discussions on this sensitive topic.

    Outcomes of the ALP include increased knowledge of the Intestate Succession Law among WOM staff who are now counselling other women on property rights, and undertaking outreach activities. Residents from Talensi district have increased their knowledge and interest, as demonstrated by the number of people who listen to the radio talk show and call in to ask questions. More women and men are visiting the office of WOM for advice on property rights. Other partner organizations have become more aware of the law and are interested in working together to address the problems. The Commission on Human Rights office is also collaborating with WOM to educate more people on the law.

  • Sheila Aboagye

    Executive Director, Pervita Foundation

    Bio

    Sheila Aboagye is the founder of Pervita Foundation; an NGO based in Ghana aimed at developing the minds of children using non-formal education around the country. A few of Pervita’s notable achievements include educational tours in rural communities; introducing ICT in some rural areas, building mini libraries for foster homes and rural communities, and painting and restructuring schooling units in rural areas. She has also been an international volunteer under the European Union Project for Young Adults (EVS) in Romania.

    While in EVS, she worked with children in schools on cultural diversity assignments and also played an important role in clinical animation for children in hospitals. In Ghana, Sheila has implemented numerous social-based activities for children and youth under the wing of “Touring with a Purpose” in which youth come together to impact lives in tourism areas in Ghana. Her expertise has landed her great international opportunities to share the dreams of Ghana to the world.

    Sheila has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Human Resource Option) from Central University College. Currently, she is a final year participant of the Institute of Human Resource Management Practitioners’ Ghana, a program designed to provide professional training to graduates who desire to practice human resource management in organizations. Sheila wishes to use her knowledge to help build a positive image of children and youth in Ghana. Her commitment to social change lies in her passion to see a developed Africa in which youth take full authority and develop their capacity to make impact. In the long term, Sheila wishes to acquire her master’s degree in Social Entrepreneurship and Management and build a home for less privileged children.

    Sheila likes to tour, play video games and hangout with children.

     

    Action Learning Plan (ALP)

    Project Title: Developing Minds of Children through Creative Art

    Sheila’s project looks to develop the creativity and enhance the social consciousness of children through non-formal activities within the formal school system.  Children between the ages of 9-18 are naturally adventurous and creative but the educational system in Ghana has failed to develop the natural creativity of these children.

    Sheila is working with two organizations, the Vine Christian School and Power for Love Orphanage, to engage students’ creativity with hands-on art projects: painting, drawing, murals, and origami. The project will also build students’ confidence through public speaking skills and team building. The goods produced will be sold at mini-charity sales with the proceeds used to support the Power of Love Orphanage Home.

    At the end of the project, it is expected that children involved in the program will increase their confidence through creative arts and enhance their awareness of social and environmental issues. Sheila believes that by fostering children’s creativity, she will be able to foster innovative thinking among children for a better Ghana.

  • Lois Aduamoah-Addo

    Program Officer, Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF)

    Bio

    Lois Aduamoah-Addo is a young and passionate advocate for women’s rights. She has been working with WiLDAF Ghana for the past seven years as a Program Officer and has been instrumental in ensuring the successful implementation of various projects under WiLDAF’s Rural Women’s Empowerment Projects. These projects have focused on empowering community members in human rights, family laws, women’s land rights, agricultural and food policy and programs, reproductive health rights and waste management.

    Through her work, she has engaged stakeholders such as District Assemblies, traditional authorities, and other community members (particularly women) in advocating for the promotion of women’s rights within the various thematic areas. She represents WiLDAF in local platforms such as the Civil Society Coalition on Land (CICOL), and has represented the organization internationally at ECOWAS, AU and UN CSW meetings on women’s land rights. She has also developed various sections of manuals, brochures, and policy briefs on human rights and land rights and has been invited by several organizations to deliver presentations.

    Lois holds a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from the University of Ghana and a Bachelor’s Degree in Integrated Development Studies from the University for Development Studies, Ghana.

     

    Action Learning Project (ALP)

    Project Title: Creating Awareness on Women Land Right

    Lois’ ALP seeks to increase the knowledge of the public and policymakers on the challenges faced by women farmers in equitable land distribution. The inability of rural women to access and own land has led to high levels of poverty and public ignorance of the problem inhibits the promotion and protection of the land rights.

    Lois has used several strategies for this campaign, including producing a documentary that dramatizes these challenges. She has shared the documentary with one traditional council and written a newspaper article on the issue. In addition, she has organized and taken part in three television and two radio programs to generate discussions and reflection on women’s land right in Ghana. In Suhum, she organized a meeting with 66 traditional leaders to review cultural practices that deny women’s land rights.

    The key project outcome is the contribution it has made to improving awareness and knowledge among the general public about challenges faced by women farmers in instigating policy interventions. Lois’ project has allowed for the increased visibility of issues affecting women’s rights and increased knowledge on the needs and challenges of women farmers. There is increased public interest in learning more about the issue, as demonstrated by the number of calls and invitations for talks received by Lois and WILDAF after the airing of TV shows and publication of the newspaper article. Some traditional leaders had made commitments to reviewing traditional practices that deny women’s right in the Suhum Municipality.

  • Petra Adu-Parkoh

    Program Manager, The Ark Foundation, Ghana

    Bio

    For thirteen years, Petra has worked with the Ark Foundation, Ghana, and a women’s rights advocacy-based organization. Beginning as a volunteer in September, 2003, she became a staff member in January, 2004. Petra now has thirteen years of professional experience in program/project management and alumni coordination; policy brief development; website content management; library management; and facilitation and training skills.

    Her responsibilities have included designing and implementing trainings in leadership, human rights, gender, and other capacity building programs, particularly for young women. She has been involved in raising funds for the institute’s programs and activities, developed several policy briefs, and facilitated the networking activities of the institute’s alumna.

    She has trained and facilitated with various capacity-building programs on topics such as human rights, women’s rights, gender, and domestic violence. She has also participated in a number of national and international human rights trainings, such as the renowned annual International Human Rights Training Program (IHRTP) in Canada, organized by Equitas.

    Petra holds a diploma in Journalism from the Ghana Institute of Journalism and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies from the University of Ghana. She is a member of the Institute of Public Relations, Ghana (IPR) and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA). She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in development communication and a certificate course in French. In her free time Petra likes to read, watch movies, and sightsee.

     

    ACTION LEARNING PROJECT (ALP)

    Project Title: Young Women Take Action to Bridge the Gender Divide

    Petra’s ALP seeks to raise awareness of gender and human rights issues among young women aged 16 to 24 in order to empower them and equip them with information relevant to young women’s rights and help them to develop their fullest potential. Young women in Ghana are often caught up in the pressure of conforming to gender-related societal expectations, without much thought given to their own oppression and the broader context of gender inequality and perceptions of women’s status in society With the support of the Ark Foundation, Petra developed and delivered a gender empowerment program for young women from the Medie and Pobiman communities within the Ga West Municipality in the Greater Accra Region. The workshop topics were based on an initial survey that revealed that women participating in the project had poor knowledge about their challenges and rights.

    Petra’s ALP offered peer learning, training and information sharing opportunities for a group of 25 women. In collaboration with other GWSLP participants who work with organizations supporting women rights, she organized three workshops on gender inequality and stereotypes, managing personal relationships, and building a career. In addition, Petra developed educational material to support the trainings. Some Ark foundation staff also had the opportunity to attend some of the workshops. As a follow-up to the training sessions, Petra organized monthly review meetings with participants as a way to offer a safe space to discuss issues related to the training topics and ensure that participants are applying the knowledge they learned as they interact with their peers, teachers, and families.

    ALP, participants have reported that they acquired new knowledge and understanding of human rights, and gender inequalities. Some women stated they are better equipped to challenge the status quo on issues that affect women. Others resolved to end ongoing ‘bad’ relationships. The group has now formed a virtual network (a WhatsApp group) to share experiences and support each other in their various occupations.

  • Grace Afrifa

    Programs Officer (Research), ABANTU for Development

    Bio

    Grace Ampomaa Afrifa is a highly ambitious young leader committed to supporting women’s rights and changing the status quo.

    Grace began as an intern at ABANTU for Development and is currently ABANTU’s Programs Officer. She designs, manages, and oversees the delivery of gender-sensitive research and policy analysis program and contributes to the development of relevant background materials for ABANTU’s research and policy analysis program. She also develops research materials and reports and contributes to the program department.

    Grace has also served as president of the youth ministry of Assemblies of God-Ghana Tandra Hill and as district secretary of the youth ministry of the Achimota district of Assemblies of God-Ghana. She mobilizes youth for development projects and encourages them in their endeavors.

    Grace holds a BA in English and Political Science from the University of Ghana, Legon, and is currently pursuing her M.Phil. in English. She also holds a certificate in French from the Ghana Institute of Languages.

     

    Action Learning Plan (ALP)

    Project Title: Empowering Women in the Informal Sector

    Grace’s ALP project is a leadership training program that looks to empower women working in informal sectors of the economy who are also active in the church community. This ALP contributes to supporting a pool of competent and gender sensitive women who can take up leadership positions in all policy spaces of the Ghanaian society.

    The program recruited twenty-five young women in the Tantra Hill Assemblies of God church who work in the informal sector. In the past year, with support of other leaders and the ABANTU organization, Grace has designed and facilitated a series of training modules and workshops which covered important topics such as sexuality and reproductive rights, women’s leadership and participation in politics, and decision making. Some of the workshops also highlighted the links between leadership in the church and society, and offered safe spaces to reflect on women’s leadership and gender equality.

    The project has been well-received in Tantra Hill Assemblies of God and since the Women’s Ministry of the church has expressed a desire to support and sustain the program in the church, it will have the opportunity to transcend its target group. Two participants are also rekindling their interest in district assembly leadership. ABANTU has used this platform to inform the women about the Ghana’s Women’s manifesto and the need for women to participate in politics and plans to continue this initiative with other churches.

  • Rosina Akourkor Teye

    Founder, Dolly Foundation

    Bio

    Rosina is an activist around human rights, youth issues, and politics. She is the founder of Dolly Foundation, an NGO providing training and community education on violence against women, harmful cultural practices, and economic inequalities for women and girls. She is also the Regional Secretary for the Coalition of NGOs in Health in the Central Region and an aspiring Member of Parliament for Assin Central Constituency.

    Rosina was recently appointed a member of the Resource and Mobilization team for Young Africa Women Leaders (YAWL), a Pan African NGO for women leaders in Africa. Rosina is also a fellow of the Women in Politics Training (WIPT) program organized by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), ABANTU and Women in Broadcasting (WIB) and completed a two-year Vital Voices leadership fellowship and training program under the Clinton Emerging Young Leaders program. Under her leadership, Dolly Foundation won the Africa Young NGO of the Year award for 2015.

    Rosina is currently studying Sociology and Social Work at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana. She has diplomas from Cambridge International College in London, England, as well as certificates on HIV/AIDS program and a Legal Literacy Volunteer course from Women in Law and Development of Africa from WILDAF Ghana.

     

    Action Learning Plan (ALP)

    Project Title: Voices of Community Champions

    Rosina’s ALP looks to create a common platform for enhancing rural voices of the Assin Central Constituency on issues of health and education. The limited civic engagement on health and education issues at the community level is due largely to a lack of effective and equal participation of women and men in community discussions and decision making processes. The ALP is hosted by Dolly Foundation, a Community Based Organization (CBO) based in Fosu, the capital of the Constituency.

    Rosina used a participatory approach to engage women and men on the issues. Specific methods included Focus Group discussions (FDGs) and panel discussions broadcast on an FM radio station based in Fosu. Through these methods, Rosina has selected six communities in the Dolly Foundation target areas. Using a selection criterion of 60% women and 40% men, participants were recruited from the six communities to benefit from training workshops on leadership. Some of these trainees were then selected to participate in radio panel discussions on health, education, and gender issues. The recordings of the radio panel discussions are being used to produce a documentary, which will serve as a means to further inform the wider public on health and education matters as they manifest themselves in the Assin Central Constituency. The project has been successfully implemented and welcomed by the community.

    The project has worked with key community advocates, both women and men, who can lead their community to demand change. The ALP addressed the issue of poor representation of women in the local governance and decision-making structures and has empowered women to demand their rights and make their voices heard. Through this work, the women are not merely represented in the project, but also contribute to making stakeholders more aware of gender-related issues affecting the community. The documentary will continue to be used as a source of information and tool for starting future community discussions.

  • Mary Awelana Addah

    Acting Programs Manager, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII)

    Bio

    Mary Addah has been at the forefront of Ghana’s anti-corruption and good governance campaign for over the past decade as the Program Manager of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII)—the local chapter of Transparency International. Mary holds a master’s degree in development studies and has several years of experience working with civil society to advocate for institutional and system changes for an improved national integrity system. She has previously worked with the Ghana Trade and Livelihoods Coalition (GTLC), the Centre for Community and Social Development (CENCOSAD) and the Ghana Education Service. Mary’s work is focused on governance, research, anti-corruption, education, project management, coordination, and monitoring and evaluation including the empowerment of socially excluded groups at state and non-state levels.

    At GII, Mary is responsible for project concept development and design, technical proposal writing, project implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. Mary is also responsible for representing the organization at various forums at both local and international levels. She has made presentations to esteemed platforms, including the Ghana Audit Service annual forum. She holds certificates in ‘Multi-Stakeholder Processes and Social Learning’ and ‘Role of Civil Society in Aid Effectiveness’ awarded by Centre for Development Innovation (CDI), Wageningen University, the Netherlands, and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DANIDA) Fellowship Centre. She also has certificates in Leadership Development organized by BUSARA, Global Partnership for Social Accountability on fostering strategic social accountability and other short courses on monitoring and evaluation (M&E), participatory videoing (PV), project proposal development, and anti-corruption.

    Mary is passionate about issues of women and youth and their impact on the economy. This has led to active engagement in various organizations, including a role as a board member of the Youth Development Research and Innovation Centre (YOUDRIC) and serving in various capacities on several committees and associations.

     

    Acton Learning Project (ALP)

    Project Title: Women against Corruption

    Mary’s ALP seeks to increase anti-corruption awareness among women in hopes of involving more women in anti-corruption activism. The overall goal of the project is to increase commitment and capacity among women to fight corruption. The project is hosted by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII).

    More specifically, the ALP seeks to sensitize a select group of women to recognize and fight corruption. The project identified 18 women to be trained as “Women Anti-corruption Champions” (WACs) in target communities in three zones (Northern, Middle and Southern) in Ghana to lead campaigns against corruption at the local level. Mary has organized three capacity building workshops for selected women leaders. The project has supported women in mounting anti-corruption campaigns and increasing awareness among other women. A WACs WhatsApp group was created for constant engagement and interaction. The project included monthly follow-ups, which provided anti-corruption mentorship exercises conducted through phone or email and follow-up meetings with the WACs in each zone to support them in dealing with emerging issues.

    Ultimately, the ALP implementation creates sustained efforts at the various levels of GII’s work in the fight against corruption. Over 500 women were sensitized to corruption and its effects on their livelihoods. The key to this effort will be incorporating these efforts into the organization’s recognized structures, particularly in areas where GII citizen’s groups already exist. The project was highly successful as now 30 additional women are now working through ten different platforms in the communities as WACs. One of the women has initiated a girl’s club in her school as a result of the training. At the level of the host organization, there is greater awareness around gender issues and the role of women in anti-corruption work. Citizen groups of GII at the community levels have now included ten of the trained women as part of sustainability efforts.

  • Purity Bosson

    Impact Generation, Director (Organizational Projects), Impact Generation

    Bio

    Purity Bosson has a keen interest and passion in youth development and empowerment. She believes that young people are capable of making positive impacts and becoming catalysts for change in their communities and beyond.

    Serving as Director of Projects of Impact Generation has provided Purity a platform for positively contributing to improving and impacting the lives of many young people. She has experience working with people from diverse backgrounds through volunteering and collaborating with other non-governmental organizations.

    Purity holds a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology with Political Science from the University of Ghana, and other professional qualifications in human resource management, project monitoring and evaluation, and youth leadership. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, specializing in Human Resource Management, from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana.

    In 2011, Purity was selected by the Moremi Initiative as a Ghanaian representative to the Milead Fellowship for Africa's 25 Most Outstanding Women Leaders. She has also had the opportunity to represent young people at different functions including the 4th Pan-African Youth Leadership Summit, Techcamp West Africa, and the 4th World Summit of Mayors and Leaders from Africa and of African Descent.

     

    Action Learning Project (ALP)

    Project title: The Volunteer for Change Project

    Graduate unemployment is very high in Ghana. Research shows that students lack the work experience and professional skills needed in the corporate world. Unfortunately, they have little interest in volunteering and would prefer instead to earn an income from work.

    Purity’s ALP recruited fifteen students from the University of Ghana and gave them the opportunity to build their professional capacity by volunteering with non-profit organizations. Volunteering with these organizations provides the students with a community-engagement experience and allows them to gain the work experience they need to compete in the job market. The project seeks to not just to let young people acquire professional skills but also expose them to community activities in non-governmental organizations and inspire volunteerism.

    Participant students have been trained in volunteering, time management, and other employable skills. They have been placed in six organizations within Accra for a period of two months. It is expected that all fifteen students will continue volunteering, introduce their peers to volunteering, and be retained as volunteers of the organization in order to sustain the project.

    As a result of the project, the target population has had an increased awareness and interest in community volunteering and enhanced their professional skills. A strong partnership has formed between Impact Generation and host organizations. The project has now been adopted by Impact Generation and will be sustained in the future.

  • Veronica Dzeagu

    Gender Programs Officer, Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC)

    Bio

    Veronica Dzeagu is a policy advocate and researcher who believes in an equitable and just society in which all individuals can achieve their full potential and realize their aspirations with dignity. She is a champion for the protection of rights of women and girls. She is currently the Gender Programs Officer with the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC), a coalition of civil society with organizations engaged in promoting the right to education.

    Led by her passion for community development, human rights, and human dignity, she joined local NGO SEND-Ghana as an intern and was later appointed as a senior project officer. She successfully led various advocacy projects aimed at promoting social equity, human rights, and empowering citizens to hold government accountable. In 2014 and 2015, she submitted reports to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women on the negative impact of the increasing commercialization of education for children in lower socio-economic groups. As a GWSLP fellow, she led a project to raise awareness levels of girls on their reproductive health rights and the importance of education in order to reduce the dropout rate of girls in deprived communities.

    Veronica holds a Master of Arts in International Relations and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Political Science from the University of Ghana. She also has certificates in project management and managing budget implementation.

    Action Learning Plan (ALP)

    Project Title: Increasing Girls’ Aspiration Levels and Leadership Capacity for Development

    The project seeks to help girls aged 13-15 in Teshie, a poor urban community in Ghana, to complete the full course of basic education (junior high school) and progress to higher institutions of learning. The majority of adolescent girls in this community are unable to complete basic education as a result of early marriage, teenage pregnancy and other poverty-related causes. Thirty girls identified as being at risk of not completing JHS in the community, were selected to participate in the program.

    Veronica implemented a baseline survey and developed a series of workshops which included topics related to adolescents’ sexual rights and responsibilities and the importance of pursuing higher education for girls. She also distributed exercise books donated by the Ghana Agriculture Workers Union through a fellow GWSLP participant. Selected participants attended a workshop on developing a personal education plan. Veronica organized follow-up sessions to support the application of the learning and help them to develop and implement their personal education plan.

    Young girls who participated in the project have all completed the educational plans. Overall, most of the participants reported that they have acquired new knowledge on sexual and reproductive rights and now know what type of resources they can tap in cases of sexual harassment or abuse or in case they need other advice. Participants also acquired new knowledge on what it takes to progress from JHS to higher education institutions. By the end of the training, most participants demonstrated more interest and commitment to completing their education. As a result, more young girls are interested in joining the girls club at Lekma Junior High School. The club will continue activities to create knowledge and awareness about girls’ sexual and reproductive health rights.

  • Bashiratu Kamal

    Gender Desk Officer, General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) of TUC - Ghana

    Bio

    Bashiratu Kamal works as the Gender Desk Officer of the General Agricultural Workers Union of the Trades Union Congress, Ghana. She has a passion for working on women’s and children’s issues in order to ensure a better Ghana. She believes every community has heroes who can change their world. With these principles in mind, she has helped provide alternative livelihoods for women’s economic development in 25 communities in Ghana.

    She has facilitated the establishment of Union Women’s committees in over 40 communities to ensure an institutionalized integration of women in informal labor into the Union’s structures and activities. She facilitated the organization of the first Regional and National Women’s Conferences for the Union, and spearheaded constitutional amendments to institutionalize an annual National Women’s Committee.

    Bashiratu has experience working with the Ghanaian Chronicle, a national newspaper, and as an anchor for radio station Zuria FM, where she hosts gender discussions and reaches an audience of more than 10,000 members of the Muslim community in Kumasi. She contributed to drafting the National Youth Policy of Ghana in 2008-09 and the drafting of the Youth and Gender Policies of the Trades Union Congress, Ghana, in 2012. She was nominated as one of seven experts to finalize structures of young workers in the Trades Union Congress.

    Bashiratu holds a bachelor’s degree in human resource management, a higher national diploma in journalism, and certificates in inclusiveness, diversity and anti-discrimination; gender equality bargaining and mutual gains negotiation; and youth development from the International Labor Organization.

    Action Learning Plan (ALP)

    Project Title: Increasing the Visibility of Women in the Decision making Structures of the General Agricultural Workers Union of Trades Union Congress - Ghana

    Bashiratu’s ALP aims to increase the visibility of women in the decision-making structures of the Ghana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU). Women’s issues like child care and maternity leave have repeatedly and unconsciously been ignored in bargaining processes as negotiation teams and other leadership roles are often headed by male members of the GAWU. Women in the union also have little or no knowledge on their rights.

    Bashiratu has organized seven education sessions to sensitize five local workplaces in the Eastern, Volta and Western Regions in Ghana on the organizational and administrative structures of GAWU, and to help inspire women to take up leadership positions. In addition, she followed up with the local leaders to ensure that elected women's committee members were properly appointed to local organizations and that the local union and management supported them and complied with the union’s legislation.

    The ALP included the formation of Local Women’s Committees in Benso Oil Palm Plantation; Norpalm Ghana Limited; Cocoa Health Extension Division and the Ghana Rubber Estate Limited in the Western Region; Seed Production Division,; Volta River Estate Limited in the Eastern Region; and five communities each in the Kwabibirem District and the Kpando Torkor District. The women’s committees ensure the integration of women into the union’s structures at the local level and provide a common front, voice, and representation to women workers. With GAWU support, Bashiratu has developed educational material that provides key information on women's role in decision making as partners.

    As result of this project, women workers have become more aware about the need to participate in decision-making processes to advocate for their needs and rights. Successful outcomes include the selection of three women among the seven executives who have been elected into the Volta Regional Council of GAWU—the second highest decision making body of the Union in the Region—with one woman elected as a Trustee who will represent the region at finance committee meetings. Similarly, two women have also been elected into the Greater Accra Regional GAWU Council’s seven executives. Additionally, Bashiratu has developed a GAWU Gender Policy, which will help give direction on all gender related activities of GAWU from 2016 - 2020. The policy has been approved by management and the National Women’s Committee to be presented to the GAWU Quadrennial Delegates Conference for adoption in May.

  • Gladys Manye

    Head of Gender Desk, Centre for Development Research and Advocay (CeDRA)

    Bio

    Gladys Manye works for the Centre for Development Research and Advocacy (CeDRA) as the Head of its Gender desk. Gladys has been involved in projects in key thematic areas such as governance and leadership; peace and security; economic and social development; gender issues and women’s empowerment; and human resource development.

    Having served as a student leader and the Head of the Gender desk, Gladys has a keen interest in gender issues and draws on this experience working with women to make a difference at the Centre for Development Research and Advocacy.

    Since 2012, Gladys has been involved in the Centre’s community projects, working with others to bring peace among the Chiefs and people of the Osudoku Traditional Area. This area has been locked in chieftaincy conflicts for two decades, resulting in clashes during every national election since 1992. Gladys sees the program as an opportunity to acquire more skills, work with women to promote peace within their families and communities, and to serve as a mediator to address political and religious extremism. Gladys is convinced that women can overcome extreme divides to make the world a better place for everyone.

    Gladys holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology of Religion from the University of Ghana. She also completed a post-graduate executive course in human resource management from the Graduate School of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and received a Youth Leadership Training certificate from Friedrich Ebert Siftung (FES), which trained her in a broad range of leadership skills including communication, negotiation, and facilitation.

     

    Action Learning Project (ALP)

    Project Title: Promoting Gender Responsive Peace Initiatives among Traditional Leaders

    Gladys’ ALP seeks to reduce community violence in the Osudoku Traditional Area in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Ongoing chieftaincy conflicts impact women and men differently and affect the ability of community members to agree on important public issues, such as which development projects to implement. Past conflict resolution attempts have not involved queen mothers and women leaders. This is problematic given the fact that queen mothers and women leaders play a pivotal role in their communities and therefore have a capacity to influence decision-making processes and promote peace.

    To address the issue, Gladys’ project aimed to mobilize queen mothers and other women opinion leaders and build their capacity on leadership and peace. Gladys organized a series of meetings and designed and facilitated conflict resolution training sessions for 20 women. These trained women have been mentored to form a women’s peace building group consisting of all the queen mothers in the area, as well as some other women leaders and opinion leaders in the three major communities. The group has been provided with continuous support and feedback to ensure conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and peace building. All themes and issues have been introduced and discussed from a gender perspective.

    An association of queen mothers now exists in the Osudoku area. Members are actively participating as leaders in the decision making process of the Traditional Council. There is some evidence that the conflict has decreased in the region. For instance, the burial of a paramount chief in 2015 who could not be buried due to conflict in the community has been resolved. The women’s association has also highlighted the needs of poor people in the region; established links with the Frist Lady of Ghana, Mrs. L. Maharma, who has visited the community; and collaborated with the Lordina Foundation in obtaining food items to be distributed to poor and aged women in the target region. Local leaders are now acknowledging queen mothers and women leaders’ contributions in conflict resolution processes.

  • Rita Ntoso

    Programs Manager, Socioserve-Ghana

    Bio

    Rita Ntsoso currently serves as the Programs Manager of Socioserve-Ghana (SSG). With ten years experience as a development specialist, she has managed projects focused on improving the health and socio-economic status of community members in deprived areas. Rita has overseen several projects involving information, education & communication (IEC) for community empowerment, advocacy, and behavioral change communication targeted at sustainable development in rural communities. She has solid technical expertise in the implementation of community action plans and use of participatory methodologies for community education. Part of her work has focused on training and building collectives of women and youth and educating the public on pressing community issues including equal rights, domestic and sexual violence, violence against people with HIV, and harmful traditional practices.

    Under her management, Socioserve-Ghana she has been adjudged the “Best Collaborating Partner in Health Delivery” by the Health Management Teams of Asuogyaman District and Lower Manya Municipal on various occasions. SSG was also adjudged an ‘Outstanding Grant Partner’ for an advocacy project she coordinated under the DFID-funded RAVI Project. Rita also played a vital role by providing technical assistance for the first public hearing of the Government Assurances Committee of Ghana’s Parliament.

    Since 2004, Rita has coordinated a thriving association of Women Living with HIV & AIDS. She is a Founding Member/Executive Secretary of Ghana Medicinal Alliance Transparency Civil Society Group and was the Executive Secretary of the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health’s Eastern Regional Branch for six years.

    Rita holds a master’s degree and post-graduate certificate in NGO management and a Higher National Diploma in marketing.

     

    Actual Learning Project (ALP)

    Project Title: Development of a Communication Strategy

    Rita’s project seeks to develop a gender sensitive communication strategy plan for SSG as a way to raise SSG’s public profile with its target stakeholders. In 2014, an organizational assessment at SSG showed that the unavailability of a documented communication strategy was a major shortcoming affecting the organization’s ability to communicate its successes, establish strong links with stakeholders, and attract substantive funds from donors. Rita and her colleagues as SSG realized that a sound communication strategy would increase SSG’s visibility throughout the country and mobilize resources to better serve the community.

    Rita and her colleagues reviewed SSG’s strategic plan, policy manuals, and other key documents and obtained input from other staff, the GWSLP coach, and some communication experts. Together they had produced a sound communication strategy which is now in the implementation phase.

    Socioserve-Ghana now has a communication strategy that guides the internal and external communications of the organization. The organization has also recruited a communication officer. They are developing a newsletter and have re-designed the website. A major objective of the communication strategy is supporting gender mainstreaming in all activities of the organization. Currently all project outputs and results are recorded, analyzed and disaggregated based on gender. The European Union (EU) is supporting SSG to promote electoral integrity and issue-based campaigning and voting in Ghana’s upcoming 2016 elections. As a lesson learnt from the ALP, special provision has been made by SSG in the project to ensure that women adequately participate in the electoral process. SSG is advocating for quotas for women and providing transport for women to take part in parliamentary debates and collating issues of interest to women to engage parliamentary candidates. SSG has also secured funding from the European Union to upgrade and update the organization’s website.

  • Joyce Renee Ago Djanie

    Executive Assistant (Project Coordinator), Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana

    Bio

    For the past thirteen years, Joyce Renee Ago Djanie has worked in various capacities relating to project management, administration, and governance in the fields of Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH), youth development, and gender.

    Joyce currently works as the Executive Assistant/Governance and Gender Focal Person with Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana. She is also a trainer for the IPPF/PPAG Learning Centre Initiative (ASRH Programming). Previously, she was the Human Resource and Capacity Development Manager at Hope for Future Generations and the Assistant Project Officer at the Accra Young and Wise Centre with PPAG. She spearheaded the establishment of the National Youth and Adolescent Network on Population and Development and served as its first Coordinator, under the auspices of UNFPA and the National Youth Authority.

    She has participated in several national campaigns and working groups, including the National HIV Anti-Stigma Taskforce and the technical team which developed the National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan (2011-2015) and Youth Action Matrix. She served on the UNFPA Global Youth Advisory Panel and the UNFPA National Youth advisory panel.

    Joyce holds a master’s degree in international affairs and a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She also writes and directs original plays for diverse audiences. She pioneered the establishment of the Grace Methodist Drama Ministry and has written twenty plays.

    Action Learning Project (ALP)

    Project Title: Improving the Reproductive Health status of Young people with disabilities in Restricted Environment

    Joyce’s ALP aims to improve the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) of young People with Disabilities (PWD) at the Cape Coast School for the Deaf and Blind. The project responds to the limited access to SRHR information and services among young PWD and the resulting incidence among this population of STIs, unsafe abortions, sexual exploitation, and abuse. The project aligns with the vision of the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG).

    The main activities of Joyce’s ALP included establishing an in-school club as an institutionalized mechanism for continuous access to SRH information and services among PWD. It also included appropriate training for club members and schoolteachers to provide SRHR-related information to their peers through innovative club activities including talks, group discussion, quiz competitions and debates. The club uses the PPAG Peer Educators Manual and the Ghana Health Service Adolescent Health Info pack as a curriculum. It is expected that students with needs for SRH services—such as counseling and treatment of infections—will be identified through the club’s activities and referred to the School Clinic or a PPAG facility for support.

    One major outcome of the project has been the Establishment of the Young and Wise Adolescent Health Club at the Cape Coast School for the Deaf and Blind. Over the past year and ten peer educators and five teachers have received training and more than one hundred members have been recruited. Surveys demonstrate that students have increased their knowledge on SRHR and related issues. In addition, club volunteers have received solid training on SRHR and on how to run club activities. Some of the volunteers are now even learning sign language, and two club members and one staff person received sponsorship to participate in the 7th ACSHR in February, 2016. The SRHR program at Cape Coast School for the deaf and blind is now a model for other schools for PWD. In addition, PPAG has adopted the program more broadly, helping to ensure its sustainability.

  • Susana Serwah Dartey

    Project Officer, Theatre for a Change (TFAC), Ghana

    Bio

    Susana completed her high school in Harvard College, Accra-Ghana. She began volunteering with the Centre for Popular Studies, Action and Development (CENCOSAD) while waiting for her results in 2001. Finding an passion for volunteer work, she became a participant with Theatre for a Change (TFAC) in 2004, a Ghanaian NGO which uses interactive theatre for education and advocacy centered around sexual and reproductive health. She began with a group of young people from James Town, a community in Accra, with low employment rates and uneven education levels. As a result of her hard work, Susana became fully employed by TFAC in 2008 as a Monitoring Officer for a project with trainee teachers in Greater Accra. After first taking part in the activities, she was later selected as a facilitator.

    Since 2012, Susana has worked as Project Officer for the TFAC Old Fadama project where she works with female sex workers in an Accra slum on sexual and reproductive health issues and access to justice. She encourages women to explore issues affecting their lives and advocate behavioral changes in their individual lives via workshops and in their community via radio dramas and interactive theatre. She has produced two successful radio dramas with two different groups of female sex workers. Susana has played a key role in the founding of Act for Change, a grassroots NGO run by young people from Jamestown. Through her volunteer work and employment, Susana has had the opportunity to participate in international exchange programs in Bielefeld, Germany and Glasgow, Scotland.

    Susana holds a National Open College Network Certificate (OCN London Region) in Forum Theatre, awarded by St Mary's University, London.

    Action Learning Project (ALP)

    Project Title: My Network, My Rights

    Susana’s project provides a safe space and support structure for female sex workers where their human rights are protected and their dignity respected. Among female sex workers (FSW) in the Old Fadama community in Accra, Ghana, there still exists poor sexual and reproductive health, compounded by violence from clients, partners, and the community. Stigma and discrimination also deter the women from accessing appropriate health and legal services. The main objective of the project is to enhance the self-esteem and confidence of the 26 female workers by creating a supportive network led by Female Sexual Workers (FSW) to provide information and support system.

    In the past year, the project has trained six FSW facilitators and formed two support groups in the community. A total of twelve support group meetings have been held at the Old Fadama and Jamestown communities. Meeting topics included basic human rights, reproductive health rights, family planning, negotiation skills, and confidence in reporting abuse.

    The main outcome of Susana's ALP includes the establishment of a sustainable network to promote the dignity and rights of FSWs in the Old Fadama Community. Women who have participated in the program feel they have formed a community and increased their knowledge about sexual and reproductive health rights, gender related justice, and learned about support resources. Participants have also increased their confidence, as most of them expressed that they now feel capable of negotiating protected sex. Twenty-six women have had the opportunity to get tested for HIV and some have decided to open savings accounts to help ensure their economic well-being. The project has so far received financial support through the Theatre for Change in the UK and increased financial contributions to the program, and secured a space in Jamestown.

  • Selina Torrison Saaka

    Assistant Registrar, University of Ghana – Legon

    Bio

    Selina holds a Master’s Degree in Sustainable International Development from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management, a bachelor’s degree in English and law, and a post-graduate certificate in development evaluation from Carleton University. Her experiences span from the grassroots to the policy level of development cooperation. She currently works as the Assistant Registrar at the University of Ghana Business School, volunteers for several NGOs, and serves as a mentor for students in her community.

    Previously, Selina worked as a Program Officer with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DANIDA) where she coordinated the ‘Support to Private Sector Development Program’ and facilitated complex stakeholder relationships that included senior government ministries, NGOs, private sector entities, and development partner donors.

    She also worked with Oxfam to advocate for policies to improve the lives of farmers in Ghana and Burkina Faso by building coalitions of farmers to fight policies that were harmful to them. This work included research, advocacy and program support. While Oxfam, she also raised funds for the Single Mother’s Association—an NGO which mobilizes marginalized women. Through these efforts, she set up two mechanized rice processing and packaging plants in the Upper East Region of Ghana. This program has produced a model-rice-project which has increased the income-earning opportunities of 400 marginalized women who process and package locally grown rice. Selina has also worked with World Vision, on economic empowerment for women, water and sanitation, and child-rights related issues. 

    Action Learning Plan

    Project Title: Corporate Mentorship Program

    The project seeks to equip and prepare thirty final-year students from the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) for the job market through professional development skills and mentorship. Many students lack employable skills when they graduate. There is a weak linkage between the academy and industry, and some academic courses and programs do not provide enough training in soft skills. Employability skills refer to those attributes and skills that make one functional and effective in the workforce. These are often different from job-specific skills, which are qualification-based, and such soft skills are also critical to a successful career.

    Selinas' ALP built partnerships with Barclays Bank and the Rotary Club and paired 30 students to 10 mentors who committed to a nine month long mentorship relationship with students. Students meet mentors once a month during the academic semester and mentors occasionally invite students to their offices for job shadowing over student holidays. Separate WhatsApp platforms have been created to continue conversations among mentors and mentees. While the entire group has met three times for interactive sessions, this platform has provided a continuous avenue for experience sharing.

    In addition, participating students have benefited from attending two seminars on career development. The seminar series covers topics relating to professional development and branding for the job market, with presentations made by people in the corporate world and human resource agencies. Students have expressed that they have benefited from the trainings, guidance, and consulting from mentors. They have also built strong networks and are more aware of the benefits of mentorship. The program has recruited 34 students for the 2016/17 academic year, and will continue to grow. In addition, the program has signed two MOUs with two corporate institutions for long-term partnership with UGBS.

FIRST COHORT PARTICIPANTS (2013-14)

  • Esenam Abra Ahiadorme
    Program Officer for Governance,Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF Ghana)
    Bio

    Esenam is a dedicated professional with over five years of experience in human rights, gender rights, community development, project design, and management. Currently, Esenam works with Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF Ghana) as Program Officer for Governance in charge of coordinating the We Know Politics II project. This project is aimed at monitoring women’s participation and representation in decision-making structures and state obligations towards the implementation of the national and international treaties law. In this capacity, Esenam also coordinates the Oil and Gas project aimed at educating women on how to engage with oil and gas actors to ensure responsiveness to women’s concerns, accountability and transparency in managing oil and gas resources.

    Prior to joining WiLDAF Ghana, Esenam worked with World Vision International, the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana, Dodowa District; and the Women and Development Project (WADEP) in Nkwanta South District. All these organizations focus on women, children, youth, community development, economic and social justice, and human rights.

    Esenam has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Sociology from the University of Ghana. She also holds a diploma in adult education from the University of Ghana, a Teacher’s Certification from Jasikan Teacher Training College and a General Certificate of Education from Taviefe Secondary School. 

    Action Learning Plan (ALP) Project Title: Reproductive and Maternal Health Care in Community Hands

    Esenam’s ALP seeks to reduce maternal mortality and improve maternal healthcare in the Akwopem North District in Ghana by increasing young women’s knowledge on reproductive health. Since January 2014, the project has built the capacity of 30 selected JHS (Junior High School) on health rights and advocacy, and reached 100 community members and has educated them on reproductive health rights, gender, and available health facilities in their district. As a result, the “My Body My Health My Future’ (BHF) club was established. The club facilitates workshop sessions to members on human rights, gender, leadership, the need for women’s participation, and women’s economic rights. These activities have increased knowledge on reproductive health rights and improved maternal care among pregnant adolescents and young mothers in the district).

    Main Gains/ Outcomes

    • Created awareness on sexual and reproductive health and rights in JHS (Junior High Schools).
    • Built the capacity of 30 selected JHS students on health rights and advocacy to demand quality health care from health providers as a platform to request improved reproductive health and maternal care for adolescent pregnant women.
    • Reached out to approximately one hundred community members to spread knowledge and awareness on reproductive health rights, gender, and available health facilities in the district, including female adolescents and women, traditional leaders and parents of pregnant adolescents and health workers.
    • Established ‘My Body My Health My Future’ (BHF) clubs with 25 girls. At the request of The Ghana Education Office to include boys in the club, 10 boys were admitted.
    • WiLDAF Ghana has adopted the club initiative under its 3 years European Union sponsored maternal health project in the district.
    • Support 3 pregnant girls and bring them back to their families/parents who have understood the need to support girls’ future and education.

  • Jamila Haruna Yeboah

    Assistant to the Head of Planning Department,BXC Company Ghana Limited

    Bio

    Jamila is a strong advocate for gender equality and ethnicity in all spheres of society. Jamila would like to become an Executive Director in a non-government or international organization that seeks to address issues on gender and human rights specific to gender based violence.  Charting a pathway towards this goal, she worked with The Ark Foundation, Ghana, as a Volunteer Project Coordinator. As a passionate young woman with the desire for change, Jamila embarked on sensitization and education on human rights and gender base violence. Jamila is currently the Assistant to the Head of Planning Department with BXC Company Ghana Limited, a private company where she gained experience in strategies for social change.

    Jamila is one of thirty young women who executed the “Nuisance Project-Young Women Speak Peace to Power”, which advocated for peace before the December 2012 elections. A notable accomplishment of the project was getting the support of over 1000 leaders, including the Chief Justice, to sign a petition for peace. From her experiences on the project, Jamila believes that one can always find a way to make a positive impact in society. She also received an award for her tireless contribution to the success of the Nuisance Project.

    Jamila also worked as a service person with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Africa and Regional Integration Bureau in Ghana. In this role, she was part of the team that successfully organized a permanent joint commission for cooperation between Ghana, Mali and Burkina Faso. She was also the Public Relations Officer of the Faculty of Social Science Electoral Commission at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. 

    Jamila is an alumna of the Women’s Law and Human Rights Institute of the Ark Foundation. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Studies from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology where she served as Canteen Chairperson in her hall of residence. Jamila enjoys learning new things and meeting people from different backgrounds. In her spare time she likes listening to music and travelling. 

    Action Learning Plan (ALP) Project Title: Speak Up

    Jamila’s ALP seeks to build the confidence of adolescents in schools and sensitizes them on the effects of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and the need to prevent it. Jamila’s ALP aims to educate 200 girls through a series of trainings and poster campaigns for teenage girls at the Junior High Schools (JHS) in the Haatso Area. The project introduces young girls to be aware of the psychological, emotional and physical consequences of IPV through questionnaires, workshops, school presentations, and motivational talks on self-worth. Students are learning how to speak up and to seek help if they find themselves in such situations. The project also offers workshops to parents and teachers on how to recognize IPV in adolescents and how to support them.

    Main Gains/Outcomes

    • Educated 54 JHS students (24 boys and 30 girls about warning signs on intimate partner violence).
    • Provided the JHS students, 10 parents and 10 teachers with information on where to go for help. In total, the project reached 74 participants.
    • Increased knowledge on IPV resources that address violence against women and children.
    • Added available reference materials on IPV at targeted schools’ libraries.

  • Ernestina Ofoe

    Program Coordinator, District Assembly, Agona Swedru

    Bio

    Ernestina is a passionate and self-motivated young woman with experience in marketing, communications, project coordination, public speaking, advocacy on women and youth issues and a Master of Arts student in Gender, Peace and Security at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.

    Ernestina currently schools and works with the District Assembly in Agona Swedru as the Program Coordinator of the Gender Desk and as an Internal Auditor. Prior to her work at the District Assembly, she volunteered as an Executive Assistant at Totally Youth where she helped train young girls in ICT.

    Ernestina worked as Assistant Projects Coordinator and Spokesperson for Women in Democracy with Political Safari, which screened the movie ‘An African Election’, a political participation project developed by Urban Republic, an organization based in Los Angeles and Ghana. The project sought to promote peace and women’s participation in governance.

    Ernestina served as Women’s Commissioner of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), the largest student organization in Ghana that seeks to empower students. In fulfilling her mandate, Ernestina embarked on a nationwide ICT project to provide training in leadership and advocacy. Most beneficiaries of the project are currently employed in paid positions while in school. Ernestina loves travelling and sightseeing. 

    Action Learning Plan (ALP) Project Title: Women in Democracy and Development

    Ernestina’s ALP seeks to empower young women to take up political leadership positions in the various Student Representative Council (SRCs) from the Universities in Ghana and the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS). This project trained young women to sensitize the general public on the need to accommodate women leaders, and advocate for improved standard of living for every woman. The project equipped young girls with leadership skills through meetings with other student leaders, a leadership conference and various media campaigns.

     Main Gains/Outcomes

    • Planned the Women Empowerment Summit to educate participants on the need for women to be involved in decision-making processes where forty-four students participated (including men) in the Summit.
    • Deconstructed negative perceptions as summit participants agreed there were prevailing gender inequalities in society and there is a need for women to be involved in all decision-making processes to effect that change.
    • Distributed books such as the Women’s Manifesto, Women in the District Assembly, and books on domestic violence to students’ representatives from the Universities in Ghana and the National Union of Ghana Students.
    • Educated students on lobbying skills and its effects in political leadership.
    • Opened a Whatsapp group to ensure continual interactions between members.
    • Opened Facebook and Twitter pages along with a blogging site to discuss social issues on women.

  • Grace Wornyo-Azaonoo

    Program Officer for Human Resources, Abantu for Development

    Bio

    Grace possesses thirteen years of experience as the Human Resource Officer for ABANTU for Development, a gender rights and policy advocacy organization. As a gender activist, Grace is passionate to support the work of the women’s movement in Ghana and in the sub region. Her roles include engaging with ABANTU’s constituents at different levels, in particular, at the local and national levels of governance.

    Prior to her position as Human Resource Officer, Grace coordinated ABANTU’s Young Women’s Mentorship Program for more than seven years. In this role, she was given the opportunity to take on leadership challenges and mentor a significant number of young women from second cycle institutions. As a result, approximately 80 percent of these young women have actually assumed leadership positions in different capacities upon entering the tertiary institution and beyond.

    From these experiences, Grace witnessed and appreciated different groups of women navigating through their political aspirations and careers; from being mentees to local level or district assembly aspirants and members, and finally as members of parliament. Grace has participated and contributed at national, regional and international workshops and conferences such as the Association for Women’s Rights in Development’s (AWID) 11th International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development in South Africa, where the theme was “The Power of Movements”, and a Community of Practice (CoP) for young women’s mentorship, an interactive and sharing conference in Canada. 

    Action Learning Plan (ALP) Project Title: Young Women Mentorship Program

    The Young Women’s Mentorship Program (YWMP) is a comprehensive leadership-training program for young women in Ghana between the ages of 16-25. This program aims to create awareness in an effort to empower young women to develop the skills, knowledge and experience they need to take up leadership positions in their communities and country as a whole. In total twenty (20) young women have been selected from two Senior High Schools; Trinity and O’Reilly Senior High Schools in the Spintex Community in Accra. The training and mentorship program included topics such as: gender inequality, leadership & development, gender and governance, peace building and security; climate change, and media. 

    Main Gains/Outcomes

    • Selected twenty young girls between the ages of 17-25 for the young women’s mentorship program.
    • Built the capacity of sixty students from both O’Reilly and Trinity Senior High Schools on gender perspectives in leadership and development.
    • Conducted a training workshop on Gender and Development for twenty girls. As a result, two clubs were formed in the beneficiary schools-Trinity and O’Reilly Senior High Schools, both in Accra.
    • Improved typing skills and the effective use of internet amongst fifteen mentees through the ICT training program.
    • Formed girls’ clubs with twenty young women in their communities and churches to educate their peers on leadership roles.
    • Developed writing skills and writing as a hobby amongst three mentees: Benedicta Yeboah-Afari, Divine Otaroghene and Belinda Kumatu.  The former two have written articles related to “Barriers to Women’s Participation in Leadership” edited by Ms. Nafisatu Yussif, a Program Officer at ABANTU for Development for publication. Belinda Kumatu wrote and entered an article on women’s leadership in Ghana to the Women’s Manifesto Coalition’s 10th Anniversary Essay Competition and won an award on September 2, 2014.

  • Regina Antwi

    Relations Manager,Leading Ladies Network

    Bio

    Regina Antwi’s passion for leadership is born out of a genuine desire to bring about a paradigm shift to humanity and mankind. She believes that mentoring is a vital tool in the life of a young, ambitious and energetic person. Regina has mentored many young individuals to realize their dreams in terms of taking up leadership roles in all aspect of their lives. She has volunteered in Civil Service Organisations to impact the lives of the less privileged in society. Regina’s rod is not to give any thought to herself only but to the wellbeing of other people with the inspiration that if an individual is empowered a whole community is empowered. She holds a certificate in NGO Management from Cambridge Centre of Excellence, Ghana, a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Purchasing and Supply Management Studies from Accra Polytechnic. Regina has also participated in a one year Leadership Program organized by Friedrich – Ebert – Stiftung Ghana, FES and another at the Research Centre for Leadership in Action at NYU Wagner, in Accra - Ghana and New York. 

    Action Learning Plan (ALP) Project Title: My Future, My Life

    My Future My Life is a transformative leadership program that seeks to build the confidence and leadership skills of 25 adolescents by supporting their active participation in decision making and to develop their hidden potential. The project is intended to contribute to developing teenagers’ leadership capacities, and increase opportunities and awareness on gender equality issues through training. The transformational leadership training is a six (6) month intensive program designed for teenagers between the ages of 13 – 19 in the Junior High Schools. The project is currently being implemented in the Eastern Region of Ghana, in the Yilo Krobo Municipality at Somanya.

    Main Gains/Outcomes

    • Developed and facilitated five seminars/workshops with diverse stakeholders on: gender and human rights issues, entrepreneurship and economic development, leadership development, and sexual & reproductive health issues.
    • Some girls who participated in the program have developed entrepreneurial activities to support their education.
    • Received a proposal by the headmasters of SRA Presbyterian School for a similar training for young boys.
    • Collaborated with teachers, local authorities, and leaders who participated in the program.
    • The Queen Mother of Somanya, has embraced the program and will continue supporting the initiative.

  • Noelle Theara Appiah

    Legal Aid Coordinator, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA-GHANA)

    Bio

    Noelle Theara Appiah holds a Bachelor degree in Chemistry from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. A passionate and goal driven young woman, she is the legal aid coordinator with seven years of experience at the legal aid department of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA). Her hard work and team spirit shaped her life and career, leading her to be the change agent she desires to see in her society. Being innovative and practical led her to the additional role of organizing events for various organizations.

    Noelle began her career at FIDA as a National Service Personnel where she transitioned to Program Assistant and then to the Legal Aid Coordinator. Her resourcefulness and strengths have contributed to her personal trajectory and the organization’s development.

    Working in FIDA strengthened her skills and competencies in proposal writing and grant management. Recently she had the opportunity to facilitate a meeting for state actors on how to be responsive to women’s rights violations. At this meeting she also made a presentation on the trends of women rights violations’ cases at FIDA, featured in the national daily newspaper.

    Noelle aspires to be a lawyer and women’s rights advocate. She has a strong passion to help the vulnerable and change the marginalization of women’s access to justice. Noelle currently resides in Accra, Ghana. When she is not at work organizing and participating in outreach programs, trainings or monitoring visits, she is busy with family and friends. 

    Action Learning Plan (ALP) Project Title: Roses and Thorns of Marriages

    Noelle’s ALP seeks to educate women and the general public about equity during divorce. A new spousal property bill has been introduced before parliament and Noelle is seeking to utilize her ALP through FIDA’s organizational capacity to educate the public, especially women and the vulnerable on the laws that affects them.  Noelle is writing a series of articles on these themes, doing research and using data collected by FIDA. Noelle wants to highlight legal rights and identify successful case studies and lessons learned.  To disseminate her articles and find a publication outlet, Noelle is reaching out to the Orthodox Church editorial boards to have her articles published in the church newsletters. 

    Main Gains/ Outcomes

    • Produced the article “Tangible Legal Frameworks to Handle Property Rights: Relevance of Property Rights of Spouses Bill,” published in the National Newspaper, Daily Graphic Gender page on October 2014, which aims to increase the knowledge of more than 1000 women on their property rights within marriage through the article.
    • Future plans include distributing the article in the form of newsletters and other media forms.

  • Wendy Naa Yaaboko Abbey

    Senior Technical Advisor, Human Rights Advocacy Centre

    Bio

    Wendy Abbey has six years of postgraduate professional experience in human rights and social protection. Three years of her work have been in management positions, first as a Coordinator for Reproductive Rights and HIV Programs, and Acting Executive Director of the Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC) in Accra, Ghana since February 2013. As part of an Access to Justice Program at the HRAC, Wendy supervises the operations of a 104-member network of pro bono lawyers providing confidential legal aid to indigent and vulnerable populations in Ghana. Wendy is also the liaison between the HRAC and its constituencies of policymakers, community leaders, vulnerable populations and donors. She works on behalf of project communities to ensure compliance with donor project deliverables.

    In 2012, Wendy was part of a team of researchers conducting the first ever-legal audit of HIV and AIDS related laws and policies in Ghana. The report influenced the National Commissions on HIV and AIDS in Ghana to develop a National Draft Bill on HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections. She also organized stakeholders’ forums with the executive body of the National Health Insurance Authority in 2011. These forums influenced the inclusion of a provision on family planning commodities coverage under the 2012 National Health Insurance Scheme Act. 

    Wendy has experience delivering human rights presentations at the domestic and international levels. She represented the HRAC at forums in Ethiopia, Malaysia and the United States. Currently, Wendy manages and coaches a team of HRAC local staff and international interns who work to protect the human rights of all persons in Ghana.

    Wendy is passionate about the protection of the human dignity of all persons and through her work she is dedicated to efforts that create an all-inclusive social justice system in Ghana.

    Action Learning Plan (ALP) Project Title: Development Framework for Visibility Upgrade of the Human Rights

    Wendy’s ALP seeks to develop and implement a communication strategy plan to improve HRAC’s visibility and support its vision to provide information on human rights and legal aid to the public and vulnerable populations. This project seeks to develop targeted messages around the program work focus, provide periodic updates on the website and publish articles, reports, and newsletters. The project increased access to information and strengthened HRAC’s internal organizational development for constituents, policymakers and donors through social media platforms and sharing of activity reports and newsletters.

    Main Gains/Outcomes

    • Developed a framework aimed at increasing HRAC’s visibility and provided information on its services to the wider public, in order to enhance its relevance in human rights work in Ghana by using simple communication platforms.
    • Formed a four-member communications team currently applying the communication tools outlined in the framework of the ALP through the support of the HRAC Executive Director, management and staff. The communication team has subsequently developed and designed two newsletters, the 7th and 8th editions on HRAC. The newsletters are going to be published and distributed to donors, civil society groups and policymakers.
    • Wrote three articles, pending publications in three newspaper outlets, as part of HRAC’s advocacy efforts aimed at influencing pertinent issues on health, gender-based violence and human rights with policymakers.

  • Mabel Pinkrah

    Principal Research Assistant and Administrator, Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy, University of Ghana

    Bio

    Mabel Pinkrah is the Administrator at the Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy at the University of Ghana. Mabel joined the University in 2003 as National Service Personnel at the Development and Women’s Studies Unit of the Institute of African Studies, and later the Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy.

    For the past ten years, Mabel has been working as project supervisor on several research projects at the center. She performs administrative and supervisory duties, managing the disbursement of project funds, preparing budgets and monitors expenses for the running of the center, prepares reports, and assists in the design of multi-stakeholder projects. Mabel also coordinates colloquia, symposia, film shows, consultative committee meetings and a variety of workshops including curriculum development, strategic planning and proposal writing.

    Mabel is currently pursuing a Masters in Organization Development at the University of Cape Coast and an MBA in Human Resource Development at the University of Ghana. She has a postgraduate Diploma in Organization Development from University of Cape Coast, a certificate in Project Planning and Management from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Ghana.

    Mabel is a member of the International Society for Organization Development (ISOD), a worldwide network of practitioners, scholars, and students interested in continued growth and development, and a member of Sisters against Disrespectful Advertisement (SADA), a women’s advocacy group working to ensure that media and advertisement portray women as human beings with dignity and respect. Mabel has a passion for children and the elderly. She aspires to support others in their professional development. 

    Action Learning Plan (ALP) Project Title: Sexual Harassment Policy

    Mabel’s ALP aims to spread the awareness of the sexual harassment policy at the University of Ghana, promote dialogue about sexual harassment among students and staff, and help them understand their role and responsibility in ensuring an academic institution free of sexual harassment. This project will address and develop an abridged version of the sexual harassment policy and distribute 5000 copies of the policy brochures to students and faculty. Mabel aims to increase awareness among students and members of the University community on the need to prevent and reduce sexual harassment through discussions with students, interactive programing, educational campaigns, and monthly dialogue series. 

    Main Gains/Outcomes

    • Distributed 5000 copies of the University’s sexual harassment policy to students and faculty.
    • Organized five sensitization programs on sexual Harassment Policy for students of the University of Ghana.
    • Established a network with student leadership in order to facilitate communication and psychosocial counseling for victims (and perpetrators) of such harassment; this was realized through the identification of student leaders and various groups to familiarize them with the policy.
    • Helped more students understand their roles and responsibilities in ensuring an academic institution free of sexual harassment, through dialogue sessions between students at lecture halls, hall of residence and one-on-one student session on campus.
    • Introduced University’s sexual harassment policy to 1500 first year students during the 2014 academic year’s orientation.

  • Beauty Emefa Narteh

    Communications Officer,Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition

    Bio

    Beauty is a passionate development communicator and currently serves as Communications Officer at Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition, a multi-stakeholder grouping of public, private and civil society organizations with the sole aim of building a national effort to confront the problem of corruption and effective control measures. Beauty facilitates communication and advocacy activities to assure stakeholder commitment and consensus building in the fight against corruption in Ghana. Beauty’s prior professional experience includes working more than 7 years in diverse development issues, including areas of gender, the socially disadvantaged, sustainable forest management and good governance. Beauty holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs with a concentration in Communication and Development and a graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from Ohio University, United States. Beauty also has a certificate in Executive Communications and Governance Reform from the World Bank and the Annenberg School in the United States.

    Action Learning Plan (ALP) Project Title: Advancing the issues of transparency and accountability in Ghana through social media

    Beauty’s project addresses the need to improve the use of social media platforms in her organization to engage a key segment of stakeholders in the fight against corruption in Ghana. This project aims to utilize social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to disseminate activities of GACC, as well as empower a critical mass of society (especially the youth) with the relevant knowledge and tools to advance issues of transparency and accountability in Ghana. Beauty is working with the GACC team to develop and post anti-corruption related information on social media platforms, educate people on the need to identify corrupt practices, and provide opportunity for feedback. This project will empower the stakeholders in demanding accountability through the use of social media platforms and other media outlets. The project will also produce 6 monthly newsletters and a short educational video. 

    Main Gains/Outcomes

    • Built the capacities of GACC’s staff using social media to promote transparency and accountability in Ghana.
    • Provided a number of training and coaching support to eight staff members of GACC on social reporting skills specifically on: Facebook, Twitter, and web management and updating.
    • Held additional sessions on presentation skills for the staff with TED talk videos used as practical guides.
    • Strengthened the capacities of the staff on social reporting skills and supported them in utilizing the skills in their everyday activities through the training.
    • Used social media to create awareness about GACC work by encouraging engagement on the different platforms: The following gains were recorded-290 new Facebook likes and 38 new Twitter followers.
    • Produced a short documentary using funding from the World Bank, which highlighted the activities of the West Africa Contract Monitoring Network (WACMN). The documentary aired on major networks in Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

  • Mary Yaa Ayim

    Assistant Lecturer, National Film and Television Institute

    Bio

    Mary has over six years of experience in radio and television news production as a news producer, assignment editor, research executive and reporter. Currently, she is an assistant lecturer at the Broadcast Journalism department of the National Film and television Institute (NAFTI) in Accra. In this position, she anchors, produces, and reports for the institute’s Television magazine program- INDEPTH as well as co-teaches liberal arts courses. As part of her project for the Ghanaian Women’s Social Leadership Program, she developed a curriculum for the introduction of gender, media and culture course for first year students of the National Film and Television Institute. She will co-lecture this course with another seasoned lecturer in the school.

    Previously, she served as a Public Relations Manager for Ogilvy Africa media, Ghana. In that position, she was involved in the planning, developing and implementing of PR strategies; as well as researching, writing, and distributing press releases to targeted media. She enjoys volunteerism especially with regard to children’s educational needs and is curious about the circumstances leading to high incidence of maternal mortality in Africa and especially Ghana. Her areas of interest include Broadcast Journalism, Public Relations, Gender and development, maternal health and public speaking.

    She has a postgraduate diploma in teaching and learning in Higher Education from the University of Education Winneba, Ghana. She has a Certificate in Television Field Reporting from Canal France International (CFI). She holds a Master of Communication with her research focusing on women’s participation in political talk shows on TV, and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Theatre Arts from the University of Ghana. She is a member of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Toastmasters International (a world leader in communication and leadership development that helps members improve their speaking and leadership skills), and member of the Institute of Public Relations (IPR), Ghana. Mary enjoys public speaking, researching, reading, watching and analyzing football and volunteerism. She is married to Jasper Segbefia and they have a son.

    Action Learning Plan (ALP) Project Title: Developing a Gender, Media and Arts Education Course

    Mary’s ALP seeks to design and implement a course that will offer NAFTI students introductory knowledge on gender and media arts education thereby enabling them to promote gender sensitivity in their research and in their work as film makers. Mary presented her plan to the NAFTI academic board, wrote a concept paper on the theme, engaged gender experts and professionals from NAFTI and other institutions. Mary drafted the appropriate curriculum for the course with input from key faculty from NAFTI and Ghana University. Mary is also developing a plan to monitor and evaluate progress/impact of the gender and media arts education course and aims to identify a team to monitor and carry the appropriate evaluation of this initiative. 

    Main Gains/Outcomes

    • Worked on a curriculum on Gender, Culture and Media to be taught in Level 100 second semester.
    • Submitted curriculum to the NAFTI Board and Dean of Studies at the National Film and Television Institute. Curriculum was approved and the course will be implemented and offered to students in 2015.
    • Outreached and collaborated with more than 20 faculty members.
    • Developing a plan to monitor and evaluate progress/impact of the gender and media arts education course, which aims to identify a team to monitor and carry the appropriate evaluation of this initiative.

  • Miracle Damanka

    Development Director, Orphan Aid Africa

    Bio

    Miracle Abena Damanka is an Information Studies graduate with over six years of experience in both the public and private sectors, including field experiences in Ghana and Mauritania. Committed to people development and enlarging the entrepreneurial space for young people in Africa, Miracle specializes in administration, strategic planning, project and grant management, training and facilitation, pro-poor enterprise and microfinance – the expertise necessary for leading the poor to sustainable development and financial independence.

    After her undergraduate studies in the University of Ghana, Legon, Miracle trained in conflict resolution, social work, microfinance and pro-poor enterprise, operations, and project management. Miracle has served with the U.S. Peace Corps Ghana, ECLOF Ghana (now CCML) and is currently the Director of Development for Orphan Aid Africa. She also serves as the National Consultant for Innovations for Financial Inclusion (IFI).

    A woman with extraordinary passion for social change and development for the marginalized, she will stop at nothing to ensure that the orphans and vulnerable children of Ghana receive the attention they deserve. Miracle founded Abapa Fie Company Limited, a microfinance institution, and Finlit Ghana, a nongovernmental organization that implements projects for economic empowerment of the poor and provides all its beneficiaries with financial literacy education.

    Aside from her professional life, Miracle is involved in Christian Youth Ministry and is a member of ‘Christ like Disciple makers Movement’. Miracle is happily married and blessed with a daughter, Adeline. Her hobbies include acting and listening to music. 

    Action Learning Plan (ALP) Project Title: Foster One-Encouraging Positive Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (hereinafter OVC) Fostering in Ghana

    Foster One seeks to increase concern for OVCs and improve the fostering culture of OVC in Ghana by conducting a research into the legislative provisions concerning fosterage, creating awareness on risks and advantages of fostering and producing a policy brief with recommendations that will inform the ongoing review of the Children’s Act 1998 (Act 640). This document informs policymakers in the quest to move the agenda of de-institutionalizing foster homes. The document has been shared with key policymakers who has the power to transform fostering in Ghana. 

    Main Gains/Outcomes

    • Produced a policy brief for better legislation and regulation of fostering in Ghana, which was distributed to 62 influential policymakers in 31 institutions.
    • Organized a mentoring group for vulnerable beneficiaries in the Ayenyah community to provide information on their rights, encourage girl participants to take up responsibility for their lives and bodies, and to become role models for the younger girls in the community. Seven women are currently participating in the mentoring group and the group meets weekly.
    • Participated in radio discussions on Rite FM in Somanya on the challenges faced by OVCs and seeking opportunities for support, reaching listeners across the southern belt of Ghana.
    • Future projects include adding a financial literacy training, as well as support for an income generating activity like soap, batik or bead making to help empower the young ladies in the Ayenyah community financially.

  • Linda Ataa Osabutey

    Rehabilitation Manager, Challenging Heights

    Bio

    Linda is a young leader and a social work professional in Ghana and Africa. Linda has been a strong force behind global actions towards ending modern-day slavery around the world. Having significantly contributed to the lives of several young Ghanaians, especially women through personal initiatives and educational leadership opportunities, Linda joined Challenging Heights in 2011. The organization presented opportunities to achieve her passion by contributing to Challenging Height’s vision of “a world where every child is in school and living in a loving and caring family”. 

    Linda is currently senior staff and a member of Challenging Heights’ Management Committee. As the Rehabilitation Manager, Linda provides oversight responsibility and leadership for 21 staff in the day-to-day operation of Challenging Heights Hovde House; a 65-capacity transitional shelter for victims of child slavery and abuse in Ghana.  While in the role, 222 former child slaves rescued from the fishing industry of Ghana were provided holistic rehabilitation and onward reintegration between 2012 and 2014.  As a social work professional, she has strong experiential knowledge and skills in managing social change through participatory approach, project management, conflict management, behavior management and modification for traumatized children and monitoring and evaluation of development interventions.

    Prior to joining Challenging Heights, Linda worked with the National Youth Authority of Ghana where she managed a National Youth Network on adolescent reproductive health by leading a team of 6 young men and women to launch the network in 10 administrative regions of Ghana. Linda holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Social Work from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Human Rights at the University of Education, Winneba. In Linda’s spare time, she enjoys reading, cooking and swimming.

    Action Learning Plan (ALP) Project Title: Building the Capacity of Children Right Advocates (CRA)

    Linda’s ALP aims to provide leadership development training to thirty adolescent girls from two communities in Central Ghana (Sankor in the Eddutu Municipality and Winneba & Achiase in the Gomoa East District), and prepare them to serve as peer educators and Children Rights Advocates in their schools and communities. The project seeks to achieve three objectives: 1) Provide leadership training to empower selected teenagers to take up leadership roles and positions in Junior and Senior High School and in their communities; 2) To create awareness on gender issues among teenage girls involved in the program; 3) To strengthen program participants understanding of adolescent reproductive health issues and rights and extend training to other teenagers  Overall, the project aims to develop leaders and create awareness about children rights as a way to prevent child trafficking, teenage pregnancy and school dropouts which are serious issues affecting the youth in Central Ghana.

    Main Gains/Outcomes:

    • Empowered thirty young girls ranging in age 12 to 17 years from two communities.
    • Divided selected children in two Child Rights Advocates Groups  (each group selected members for executive positions)
    • Organized five workshops for the selected participants and other school teenagers in collaboration with school key stakeholders. Training workshops covered diverse topics such as: career aspiration, fundamental children’s rights, leadership key qualities, gender inequality, and adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health and rights.
    • Extended training to other students in the selected school/communities on Adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights. A total of 75 young girls and 20 young boys attended the trainings. 
    • Established the “Young and wise club” in the two communities as one of the outcomes of the project. (Peer educators are learning how to train other teenagers to become Child Right Advocates in their respective communities)
    • Established a solid collaboration and networks with diverse community and school stakeholders and between Challenging Heights and Abantu for Development and PPAG, Planned Parent Hood Association in Ghana and Compassion International. These organizations helped to develop and facilitate the training and will continue working with Linda to sustain this project towards the future.

  • Joyce Lena Danquah

    Project Officer, Gender Studies and Human Rights Documentation Center

    Bio

    Joyce Lena Danquah is a development practitioner with experience in water and sanitation as well as the women’s rights sectors of Ghana’s development. Joyce has engaged with various civil society organizations such as Water Aid Ghana, Gender Studies and Human Rights Documentation Centre and the Institute of Economic Affairs. She has served with the Millennium Development Authority and the Ghana Statistical Service. In other capacities she has served as Administrative Officer, Gender Focal Person, and Program Coordinator. She is a woman with a strong passion for women’s development issues with particular interest in improving the living standards of young women. She is a product of the University of Cape Coast and the Business School of the University of Ghana.  As a product of the Ghanaian Women’s Social Leadership Program, she has realized among other things the value of mentoring programs for young women. 

    Action Learning Plan (ALP) Project Title: Four Years Encounter with the Gender Centre –An Inspirational Journey

    After working for more than four years at a gender based organization, Lena noticed that some of the staff, particularly non-project staff were unable to articulate on women’s rights issues. Lena’s project documents her experience around these issues though an article which aims to be published on different internet platforms. The article allows her to reflect on her experiences, and motivates other organizations to think about the need of developing communication tools and fostering an organizational learning culture. Her project aims to support a learning and reflective environment at the Gender Centre, and serve as a source of motivation for other gender-rights based organizations to address similar issues.

     Main Gains/Outcomes

    • Produced a final article entitled Four Years Encounter with the Gender Centre-An Inspirational Journey.
    • Increased awareness on the need to create a learning culture within gender-rights based organizations.
    • Created a dialogue on the topics addressed by the article by distributing it amongst key stakeholders.

  • Patience Antonio

    Senior Human Resource Specialist, Compassion International Ghana

    Bio

    Patience is a passionate achiever with over fifteen years of experience in development work, human resource development and project management. She has worked with both international and national nongovernmental organizations, such as, Freedom from Hunger, Habitat for Humanity and Training, Research and Networking for Development (TREND). She is currently the Senior Human Resource Specialist at Compassion International Ghana where she held other positions including Program Communications Manager, Senior Training Officer, Community Development Expert and Training and Support Manager. Within her current role, Patience led her office to improve employee engagement through measurable indicators such as Gallup surveys, a comprehensive employee handbook and on-line job application process. She has also trained managers and supervisors in behavioral interview process and built staff capacity in areas such as performance management, time management, and multi-tasking.

    Prior to her current role, Patience took up assignments in rural housing, water and sanitation, micro-finance, institutional capacity building, health education and holistic child development.  She advanced this work with funding from the World Bank, DANIDA, Germany Development Services, the Department for International Development, Plan Ghana, Action Aid Ghana, and Compassion International.  Patience was a trainer for Peace Corps volunteers and assisted in a number of research work with the Department of Social Work at the University of Ghana, Legon, under the sponsorship of UNICEF. She co-authored “Social Work in Ghana: A Participatory Action Research Project looking at Culturally Appropriate Training and Practice” published in Social Work Education.

    Patience holds a Master’s in Business Administration and a degree in Social Work both from the University of Ghana, Legon. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), USA and the Institute of Human Resource Practitioners, Ghana.

    Based on Gallup’s Strength Finder assessment, Patience’s top five strengths are responsibility, achiever, futurist, learner and belief. She is self-motivated, results oriented with proven capability to lead people; a good team player, keen on acquiring knowledge on new or current innovations and has excellent communications skills. She enjoys reading, interacting with people, travelling and listening to inspirational messages and music.

    Action Learning Plan (ALP) Project Title: Assessing “Auxano” as a New Performance Management and Learning System in Compassion International Ghana

    Patience’s ALP aims to assess the effectiveness of “Auxano,” a new Performance Management and Learning System at Compassion International. Patience designed a process to collect staff feedback to address the needs and concerns of both female and male staff related to the new system. This project allowed the staff to assess performance management and learning functions to determine whether the system addresses the problems encountered in the previous performance management system. The project seeks to support a learning culture within the organization for dialogue and feedback through staff assessment teams, meetings and discussions, a survey, and producing at the end a report to improve the Auxano System. The main objective of the assessment was to identify the level of understanding of CIGH staff in the use of Auxano. A survey was carried out. Out of 70 staff that is Auxano users, 52 were sampled to participate in the survey.

    Main Gains/Outcomes

    • Created a team in the organization to implement the project (supporting the working and collaboration).
    • Obtained a high 96% response rate with 48 staff respondents positively giving.
    • Obtained findings, which demonstrate that the staff knowledge on using the “Auxano” for performance management is high (88% of staff had no challenge using the system and on average, staff access the “Auxano” twice a month).
    • Identified gender gaps related to the performance measurements.
    • Tested the effectiveness of the new system and formulated key recommendations, which would help to improve the efficiency of performance measurements.

  • Ama Ofori-Antwi

    Project Officer, Coalition on Domestic Violence Legislation in Ghana

    Bio

    Ama is a professional social worker dedicated to promoting the welfare of the vulnerable in society. Ama is passionate about advocating for the rights of people living with disabilities, youth, orphans, refugees, older people, abused women and children. Ama has over seven years' experience as social worker in various capacities, with skills which include project management and research, interpersonal, analytical and communication skills and the ability to adapt to changing and challenging circumstances.

    Ama successfully implemented the projects “Strengthening Institutional Structures and Mechanisms” for the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act in Ghana and "Realizing the Rights of Marginalized Older People," a monitoring project commissioned by Helpage International. Ama launched these projects in six deprived communities in three regions in Ghana. As part of these projects, Ama developed packages of care and policies and monitored access to health care, including HIV/AIDS, pensions and the LEAP cash transfer program by using questionnaires to ensure that rights of beneficiaries were upheld.

    Ama is currently the Executive Secretary of the Environmental Services Providers Association. She is also the treasurer for the 1993 Achimota School Year Group. Ama previously served as Director of the Department of Social Welfare in Ningo-Prampram District. She has worked with the Coalition on Domestic Violence Legislation in Ghana, Helpage Ghana and Women Initiative for Self-Empowerment. Ama holds Masters of Philosophy in Social Work and is a member of General Social Care Council, United Kingdom. Ama is interested in home improvement and is a volunteer-worker. 

    Action Learning Plan (ALP) Project Title: Sustainable Waste Management Project

    Ama’s ALP aims to sensitize women’s groups to take up leadership roles to ensure their communities are clean and to raise awareness and promote good practice about waste management and disposal in the Prampram region in Ghana. Ama uses media to sensitize and to create awareness on sanitation challenges facing Ghana. The project produces print, electronic media campaigns and newspaper publications to educate the public on sanitation challenges. The project also aims to have a stakeholder forum on sustainable waste management to get policymakers and service providers to partner and collaborate with other stakeholders in the WASH sector. 

    Main Gains/Outcomes

    • Planned the Women Empowerment Summit to educate participants on the need for women to be involved in decision-making processes where forty-four students participated (including men) in the Summit.
    • Deconstructed negative perceptions as summit participants agreed there were prevailing gender inequalities in society and there is a need for women to be involved in all decision-making processes to effect that change.
    • Distributed books such as the Women’s Manifesto, Women in the District Assembly, and books on domestic violence to students’ representatives from the Universities in Ghana and the National Union of Ghana Students.
    • Educated students on lobbying skills and its effects in political leadership.
    • Opened a Whatsapp group to ensure continual interactions between members.
    • Opened Facebook and Twitter pages along with a blogging site to discuss social issues on women.
    • Produced print/electronic media campaigns to sensitize the public on sanitation challenges in the country.
    • Wrote newspaper articles for publications to educate the general public on sanitation issues.
    • Organized three sensitization sessions on waste management and its impact with the community and local leaders.
    • Conducted the first meeting with 30 women who discussed the declining sanitation conditions in the Prampram region over the years. Findings from the meeting included:  inadequate public funds for investment in sanitation management (refuse trucks and containers), inadequate and poor drainage systems, and negative attitudes from the community about implementing a clean environment.
    • Created collaborations with community leaders, local authorities, the head of the Environmental Health Directorate and the Assemblyman of Prampram.