The Upper East Region is ranked sixth out of the sixteen (16) regions of Ghana in terms of widowed population with over 61,000 widows.
Data from the Ghana National Household Registry in 2018 shows that a shocking seventy-five percent of these widows are living in either poor or extreme poverty. Also, sixty-one percent of employable widows are also unemployed.
“The Upper East Region is estimated to have 61,725 widows and ranks sixth out of the sixteen (16) regions of Ghana in terms of widowed population. Data from the Ghana National Household registry in 2018 shows that seventy-five per cent (75%) of widows in the Upper East region are either poor or extremely poor while sixty-one per cent (61%) of employable widows are unemployed. Widowhood has become synonymous with destitution and is unacceptable.
With these statistics, widows and their children will remain in a poverty loop if nothing is done. They, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchild will stay in poverty.”
Given this background, the Widows and Orphans Movement (WOM), a women’s rights non-governmental organisation based in the Upper East Region has stressed the need to end all forms of discrimination, violence and maltreatment faced by widows.
In an address delivered recently to commemorate the 2022 International Widows Day with the theme: ‘Sustainable solutions to ending dehumanizing widowhood rites’, the Executive Director of WOM, Fati Abigail Abdulai brought to the front burner concerns and interventions made for women while celebrating widows.
“Over the years, WOM with support from state and non-state actors especially the house of chiefs have made progress in the modification of some of these rites and practices. E.g. today widows can wrap themselves with a cloth instead of being naked during the performance of some of the rites; widows can resist forced marriage; among others.”
Ms Fati observed that poverty and marginalization experienced by widows and their children are linked with some demeaning widowhood rites. This according to her has been the basis of the advocacy for the modification or abolishment of some widowhood rights.
“The work done by the Widows and Orphans Movement (WOM) since 1993 continues to show that the state of poverty and marginalisation experienced by Widows and their children is linked with some injurious widowhood rites and practices. This has been the basis of the advocacy for the modification and or abolishment of some of these rites and practices that do not uphold the dignity of people,” she added.
Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Osuman Kaapore Tahiru|Ghana