By Anthony Adongo Apubeo
Bongo (U/E), Sept. 21, GNA – Queen mothers in the Bongo Traditional Area in the Upper East Region are significantly complementing government’s efforts to promote development in their respective communities in the area.
Through their lobbying skills, some members of the Bongo queen mothers Association have been able to convince some Non-Government Organisations (NGOs)and philanthropists to construct boreholes and renovate some health facilities in their respective communities.
The queen mothers, through the implementation of sensitization programmes in Junior and Senior High Schools, have been able to contribute to the reduction in teenage pregnancies and early marriages that were previously high in the Bongo District.
The queenmothers also embarked on educational and sensitization programmes at public places such as the churches and mosques to complement the efforts of the security agencies to fight against the youth being recruited into terrorist and violent extremist groups.
Pognaba Christiana Asindikye Ngee, the President of the Bongo Queen Mothers Association, disclosed this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at one of their monthly meetings in Bongo.
She explained that they were able to execute those interventions because of the capacity building they received from the Community Development and Advocacy Centre (CODAC), an NGO through the “Empowering Communities to Strengthen the Participation of Queen Mothers in the Traditional Authority project.”
“The project, which was implemented by CODAC with funding support from Planned Ghana built our capacity which led to the development of an Action Plan for the achievement of these interventions. Though the project has ended, as part of a sustainability plan, CODAC is helping us to make impact in the communities,” the President stressed.
She said the association had also established Village Savings and Loans Scheme where members of the Association contribute and borrow loans from the Scheme at very low interest rates.
“Through this Scheme many members have been able to go into petty trading and pay their children’s school fees up to the tertiary level,” she intimated.
She stated that due to the high illiteracy rate in the district, the Association often took upon itself to go round the communities to interpret and explain government’s interventions and policies for communities to access such interventions.
She mentioned that the Action Plan drawn by the association was aimed at addressing pertinent problems confronting the district which included high teenage pregnancy, low financial and economic status of women in the district, inadequate funds to implement developmental issues in the communities and lack of community mentors.
She commended CODAC and Plan International Ghana for the support but mentioned that among the key challenges confronting the Association was lack of means of transport to go around many communities to initiate more development initiatives and appealed to the Government, NGOs, and other Philanthropists to come to their aid to empower them to do more.
Ms Afayak Limatu, the Programme Officer of CODAC, expressed happiness about the positive outcome of the interventions and indicated that the goal of the project was to increase women’s voice and leadership by transforming gender norms so that women were accepted as legitimate and effective leaders in the chief’s council of elders in their communities.
He said: “Queen mothers’ Association has championed issues of teenage pregnancies and good governance and actively advocating and lobbying for the increased women participation in governance. Participants’ knowledge has also been deepened on Alternative Dispute resolution mechanisms for conflict resolution.”