Source:savannanews24.com/Hamza Lansah Lolly:
Shea Network Ghana has joined the world to mark international rural women at Laligu in the Savelugu municipality. International rural women day is set aside by the UN in October every year to honour the critical role of rural women in enhancing agriculture and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.
This year’s celebration was under the theme “Rural Women and Girls Building Climate Resilience”
Shea Network Ghana is an organization in the shea sector businesses, stakeholders and value chain actors. It seeks to influence policy and provide solutions to industry wide challenges for overall growth of the shea sector in a coordinated manner.
As part of the international rural women day celebration, the National Coordinator for Shea Network Ghana Mr. Zakaria Iddi in a speech read on his behalf by the Project Coordinator, Miss Yvonne Song Galaa shares with the people of Laligu and the Savelugu Municipality the importance of the Shea tree and how it can serve as a source of income if they are well catered for.
Mr Zakaria said, the Shea tree is part of the vegetation in the Northern Ghana growing naturally and serves as a source of income to many women and their children but however the Shea tree is increasingly under threat due to its destruction for commercial farming, extension of government projects and other factors such as bush fires among others.
He also lamented on how women who collect the nuts do not have ownership rights of the trees to be able invest in them and also protect them to guarantee future access.
Under the GESI project, Mr Zakaria said, the project seeks to ensure inclusion of marginalized women and excluded social groups into long term decision making on Shea parklands management for sustainable investment in 12 Districts in Northern Ghana.
He said, the Shea Network Ghana want proper targeting to be done and also ensure that there is the inclusion of Shea women in the governance of the upcoming Tree Crops Development Authority.
Under the GESI project, the Shea Network Ghana is working to improve marginalized women rights to access and control shea parklands to guarantee long them sustainable in investment in Northern Ghana.
The Shea Network Ghana National Coordinator therefore call for the amendment of the economic plants protection act to include Shea so that Shea trees destroyed for government projects receive compensation to women of affected communities.
Sheanut pickers coming from various areas within the Savelugu Municipality to celebrate the International Rural Women Day thanked Shea Network Ghana for impacting the lives through various initiatives to become economic independent in the communities.
According to Mma Fati, the knowledge impacted them has transform their lives, “at first we were just picking the shea nuts for some small income but since we joined the Shea Network Ghana our lives have improved a lot”.
Mma Fati hinted that, shea nut pickers have not only became bread winners for the families but role models as well, adding that, the shea picking which was a female economic activity have attracted many males to join. “Because of the support from Shea Network Ghana there is ready market for shea, we to use in bowls but now we sell in large quantities”.
Meanwhile the chief of Laligu, Naa Abubakari Yakubu said, women contribute a lot to the socio-economic development of the area, adding that, women apart their household chores also bring a lot of dignity and hope to the home.
The Chief of Laligu thanked Shea Network for celebrate this year’s International Rural Women Day in his area, reiterated that, the traditional area holds women in high esteem and will continue to support them in their income generating activities.