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Garu: YHFG empowers traditional leaders to combat gender discrimination, harmful sociocultural norms

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Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana (YHFG) has recently engaged and trained traditional and religious leaders in three communities in the Garu District of the Upper East Region on how to address and dismantle harmful gender and sociocultural practices that perpetuate discrimination and inequality.

This initiative forms part of the “Peace Building Fund Project,” which aims to foster social cohesion and empower women and youth in northern Ghana.

The community engagement and sensitization sessions held in the Kugri, Denugu, and Siisi communities focused on sensitizing community leaders and members with the skills and knowledge to address discriminatory and socio-cultural norms in the communities.

The programs aim to address and dismantle harmful gender and socio-cultural practices that perpetuate discrimination and inequality.

The Project Officer, Dominic Anarigide, elaborated on the significance of selecting these particular communities, noting the presence of underlying issues that could potentially lead to conflicts and violent extremism.

According to Mr. Anarigide, the project’s primary objective is to mitigate these risks and promote a peaceful environment and social cohesion.

“The overall objective is to enhance social cohesion and social contract, through empowerment of women and youth in three Northern regions of Ghana. These communities were chosen because they have underlying issues that could trigger conflicts and violent extremism, so the project intends to address these and prevent any situation of conflicts in the communities so they can live in a peaceful environment,” he stated.

During the engagement, leaders were encouraged to abandon discriminatory gender practices and harmful socio-cultural norms.

These included widowhood rites, male preference, domestic violence, denial of female education, and female genital mutilation. Instead, they were urged to grant equal opportunities to both boys and girls, fostering an environment where everyone can achieve their full potential.

The chief of the community and other opinion leaders also used the opportunity to urge community members to take the sensitization program seriously and show commitment to the project while ensuring that they abandon acts and behaviors that perpetuate gender inequality and harmful norms at the community level.

The two-year project, funded by UNFPA, covers three districts—Bongo, Bawku West, and Garu—and involves nine communities with the aim to build capacities among local leaders to facilitate community-level sensitization and awareness programs effectively.

Some of the trained traditional and religious leaders took the opportunity to educate participants on crucial topics such as gender roles, gender equality, equity, and the detrimental effects of discriminatory gender norms.

Issaka Kwame Ussif, one of the facilitators, urged his peers to utilize their newfound knowledge to effect positive change within their communities.

The initiative is expected to foster a more inclusive and harmonious society in the Northern regions of Ghana.

Source: A1Radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Moses Apiah|Garu

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