BY ANIN AGYEI–
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS, Accra, Ghana- AFRICAN FIRST Ladies and Ghana’s first lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo has called for the economic empowerment of women and girls especially, mothers to help keep their children in school.
Akufo Addo said income generated could “help the girls some of whom were mothers keep their children in school especially female children, who are usually denied an education when the family cannot afford the cost of education.”
The First Lady was making recommendations at a side event organized by the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) at the on-going United Nations General Assembly, in New York.
The meeting which was on the theme “Renewing Commitment Towards Enhancing gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Africa”, brought together first ladies from across Africa, development partners and policymakers from different African countries.
She was speaking on ‘how to improve girls and women’s access to quality education in Africa”.
Citing the Rebecca Foundation of which she is the Executive Director as an example, she said the foundation through its ‘Because I Want to Be’ initiative, “we assign girls who are unable to go back to school to mentors who provide them with income-generating skills.”
She also recommended ‘community engagement’ as one of the tools that the other first ladies could use in getting more people to accept their interventions in the various communities.
According to her, before the ‘Because I Want to Be’ initiative was started, “we carried out research in our target communities to determine the local hindrances to the education of girls and the community’s role and recommendations for improving girls’ education.”
“We also held community durbars to dialogue on how communities can be involved in the project. The result was a high community turn-out at the various launches of the initiative, high endorsement of communities and high patronage of the initiative by both in school and out of school girls,” Akufo-Addo stated.
In her concluding remarks, called on her fellow first ladies to work at building partnerships saying through the ‘Because I Want to Be’ initiative, “we built a multi-disciplinary collaboration with the United Nation Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), various ministries and individuals.”
This, she said ensured access to funding and technical support from these partners saying it also “ensures sustainability and mainstreaming of this initiative even after my term of office”.
She said building partnerships also would ensure success and sustainability of initiatives aimed at increasing enrolment of girls and keeping them in school explaining that under the ‘Because I want to be’ initiative, the Rebecca Foundation works with UNFPA, the Ministry of Education and successful individuals who act as mentors to the girls.
BY ANIN AGYEI, NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS, AFRICA CORRESPONDENT
AFRICA’S MOST READ AND FASTEST GROWING GLOBAL NEWSPAPER – www.newafricabusinessnews.com