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General News of Monday, 3 July 2006

Source: GNA

Gender advocates must educate women -JH

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Accra, July 03, GNA - Mr. Joseph Henry Mensah, Senior Minister has called on gender advocates to educate women on energy and water related issues to help them use the resources efficiently. He said women, especially the rural women every day use their time and creativity to generate energy for cooking, adding that because most women in Wa in the Upper East Region do not know the process of storing rain water; they lack water even though it rains frequently there than Accra.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a five-day women and energy workshop in Accra, the Senior Minister further stated that, the predicament of women was not only centred on energy but water as well, as they make use of the two everyday emphasizing that, the two must always be tackled together.
The workshop, which was under the theme; 'Turning Information into empowerment: strengthening Gender and Energy Networking in Africa' was organized by Ghana Gender and Energy Network (GEDA) in collaboration with GRATIS Foundation and sponsored by ENERGIA an international network on gender and sustainable energy based in the Netherlands. Mr Mesah encouraged urban dwellers to take advantage of high purchases to get energy appliances, citing for instance the use of gas, which he noted was more economical and environmentally friendly than firewood.
To the rural women, he advised them to stop the habit of felling trees along river banks to burn as charcoal in order to preserve their water sources.
Chairing the function, Professor Aba Bentil Andam, Dean of Institute of Science and Technology for Africa, KNUST noted that, many rural women are saddled with the problem of spending more than five hours daily in gathering firewood for home use whiles they could be introduced to the use of gas.
Prof. Andam said women were capable of making changes for the better if they were given the necessary empowerment, adding that, women, when introduced to renewable sources of energy would go a long way to ensure sustainable energy in Africa.
Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, in a speech read on her behalf said due to the importance of energy in a nation's development, the Independent Commission of the United Nations Millennium Project Report has identified energy as an essential part of the means to a productive life.
She said, in line with this, her Ministry was implementing a three-year strategic implementation plan which focuses on gender equality, women empowerment, the growth, survival and development of children.
She the Ministry intends to put up a gender research and resource centre to strengthen linkages with key sectors, including civil society organizations.
Giving the background of the workshop, Mrs Sabina Anokye Mensah, Coordinator of GEDA said the programme, which started in January 2005 as part of activities implemented within ENERGIA, aims at strengthening the capacity of 25 professional trainers in the country in the preparation and delivery of training courses.
In a presentation, she noted that, in May this year, ENERGIA prepared a national paper on gender and energy situation in Ghana for the 14th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. Mrs Anokye Mensah said the paper identified factors such as low emphasis on implementing policies on renewable energy and energy efficiency as well as negligence of women's influence in decision-making on energy as those that affect sustainable development and achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals in Ghana.

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