Zongo Women Trained by ZDM

The Ministry of Inner-City and Zongo Development, in partnership with Star Ghana Foundation, on Wednesday held a national forum on gender...

The Ministry of Inner-City and Zongo Development, in partnership with Star Ghana Foundation, on Wednesday held a national forum on gender equity and social inclusion in Accra to empower Muslim women to fight for their rights.
The forum was on the theme: “Leading Change through Gender Advocacy: A Platform for Women Empowerment in Our Zongo and Inner-City Communities”.
It was to give an opportunity to Muslim women from across the country to deliberate on ways to fight for their rights of inclusion in all developmental areas of society.
Among the topics discussed were; “Challenges women faced in the communities,” “Whether women had same rights as men in the Ghanaian and Muslim community,” “What women could do to breach the gap of inequality,” and “What the tenets of the Qur’an teaches about gender balance”.
Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, the Minister of Inner-City and Zongo Development, who launched the forum, said the Qur’an does not restrict women to doing only household chores.
He said such notions were just perceptions created by Muslim male interpreters of the Qur’an.
“The woman is Allah’s workshop, where He created all of us and gave us life. If we want to change the society, we must start from women,” Dr Abdul-Hamid.
He said those interpreters had also triggered the belief that Muslim women were supposed to be suppressed as they don’t have the right to be assertive in any situation.
“There is a blend of Islam and the Arabic Culture, which makes people think Islam is all about abusing and forcing women to be submissive but that is not true.”
“Women, don’t allow yourselves to be intimidated by bad practices of Muslims in some Arab countries, because Islam is in your heart,” the Minister said.
Dr Abdul-Hamid advised men to empower their wives to train up children with the best values and morals.
He explained that women, aside their busy schedules in the contemporary world, also played important caretaking roles at home and could have great influences on the lives of children.
“We are starting the empowerment programme with women so that when the men start granting them those rights, they would not see them as privileges or favour, but their divine rights,” he said.
Dr Abdul-Hamid disclosed that economic empowerment programmes were being undertaken in various Zongo communities in the Greater Accra Region for 300 women with small scale businesses, especially in the areas of food and drink production.
The training covered entrepreneurship development, book keeping, accounting, and packaging among other things, he said, adding that the initiative would be extended to the other regions after its success in the Greater Accra Region.
“We would also consider injecting some capital into their businesses to increase production and make their packaging better and attractive.
“We believe that would improve household incomes to enable them to take care of their families,” the Minister noted.
The National Board for Small Scale Industries, Dr Abdul-Hamid said, would assess the scale of the beneficiaries’ production and support them with the needed capital.
He said the Ministry was planning to partner with the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission to support the initiative with scientific methods of food preservation to increase the shelve lives of the foods the beneficiaries would produce.

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