As part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence worldwide, the U.S Embassy in partnership with Mobile Web Ghana organized a workshop to enlighten stakeholders on gender-based violence. The focus of the workshop was to address the different forms of violent acts against women and girls, hence the theme: “Understanding the Rights of Women and Girls”.  In attendance, were over fifty (50) participants who were representatives of Civil Society Organizations, Diplomatic missions, law firms and the media.

The workshop was moderated by the Director of Mobile Web Ghana, Madam Florence Toffa. Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy Christopher J. Lamora gave the opening address. His speech highlighted the consequences of gender-based violence on victims and the fact that it is an indictment to economic growth and empowerment. The focus of this campaign by the US Embassy in Ghana is to give women and girls a ‘Safe space’ where their abuse cases can be addressed and resolved. Find excerpts of his speech below:

“Gender-based violence has many harmful consequences. This year, the U.S. Government is highlighting ways in which gender-based violence is a pervasive barrier to women’s empowerment and economic growth.  Domestic or intimate partner violence, street harassment and violence in public spaces, and sexual harassment in the workplace all have a direct negative impact on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment

The U.S. Embassy also serves as a convener of “safe spaces.”  We provide a platform for programs in which advocates, social workers, and law enforcement specialists meet with survivors of gender-based violence and with audiences that are most vulnerable: adolescent girls and the disabled.  We rely on a network of women leaders to facilitate these sessions”.

Follow THIS LINK to read the full speech.

A short documentary on gender-based violence was screened after the Ambassador delivered his speech. Then came the time for a break-out session, which saw participants break into three groups. Each group was tasked to develop ideas that can help address gender-based violence appropriately within a stipulated amount of time. During this session, individuals contributed their knowledge to what gender-based violence is, its effects on victims, and workable solutions in curbing the occurrence of such acts. Some of the participants also shared from their wealth of experience, in their various fields.IMG_1203

Breakout Session where participants were tasked to develop ideas that can help address gender-based violence issues.

Breakout Session where participants were tasked to develop ideas that can help address gender-based violence issues.

At the end of the break-out session, each group made a presentation on what they had developed. They each stated what gender-based violence means and the different kinds of gender-based violence acts there are. The dimensions of gender-based violence were identified by the three groups as:

  •         Physical abuse
  •         Sexual abuse
  •         Economic deprivation
  •         Psychological / mental abuse.

One of the objectives of the task was for participants to highlight the causes of gender-based violence. Some of the key points identified were as follows:

  •        Men are entitled to education
  •        Men are seen as natural decision makers of the home
  •         Women are tagged as vulnerable.
  •         The ‘kitchen’ is the place of the girl/woman.
  •         Traditionally, most families prefer a male child to a female child.
  •         Defining certain roles for boys/men and girls/women.

Participants were also tasked to highlight the impact of gender-based violence. Find a summary of the points they made below:

  •         Reduction in productivity
  •         Marginalization of skill-sets towards men.
  •         Teenage pregnancy
  •         Broken homes
  •         Spousal neglect
  •         STI’s / Infectious diseases.

The teams also came up with workable solutions in tackling gender-based violence. Some of these were:

  •         There should be effective Gender mainstreaming.
  •         Mentoring
  •         Survivors should serve as role models
  •         Abuse cases should be reported.
  •         Education and Sensitization
  •         Rehabilitation for victims.

The workshop was a successful one. Participants were motivated to go all out in their advocacy against gender-based violence. It was delightful to see how everyone was zealous to contribute in their own little way to fight this menace. The time is NOW, for everyone, whether, young or old, rich or poor, to actively participate and be bold in addressing gender-based violence.

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