In order to strengthen the social development of Adaklu, one of the most deprived Districts of Ghana, a project has been set up based on the conviction that women empowerment is an effective avenue of growth and development in the region. Grow Your Dream Foundation (GYDF), together with German donor Schmitz Stiftungen and partnering NGO HITA, has started to roll out the project in ten communities across Adaklu District earlier in 2021. The focus is to empower women to become assertive and productive, e.g. by enabling them to take developmental decisions geared towards community growth. To this end, our approach is to work with community members directly – not only with women, but also with men, as they are key agents of any development towards more gender equality at family and community level.
The project kicked off in spring 2021 with engagement of key local actors for health, social and community development and the traditional gate keepers (community elders) in 10 selected communities across Adaklu. Community groups were initiated and community leaders received initial training through a dedicated workshop. Since then, the Daddy’s Clubs and Mother Support Groups have received hands-on support in their activities from the GYDF team. Typically, GYDF staff visit each group once each month and engage them in some exercises for awareness raising and development of practical solutions to address traditional barriers to gender equality.
Support was obtained from Ghana Health Service staffs, who were invited to some group sessions focusing on educating male and female community members on key health issues related to MNCH and adolescent reproductive health. Through cooperation with community health nurses, who are well known and respected by community members, the project’s gender transformative approach was reinforced.
Because of the increasing self-confidence of group leaders to chair meetings themselves (based on the training they had received at the first training workshop), the role of the GYDF team has changed since starting the project; it is now focused mainly on monitoring and supervising group meetings and to assess the work and activities being undertaken by each group.
The GYDF team recently also used visits to communities to address other target groups, such as adolescent girls and their parents (see photo below).
Next steps in the project are a second training event scheduled for late November 2021, which will be used to discuss feedback and practical impacts of the activities, as well as to jointly develop a plan how the initiative can be sustained over the longer term – and possibly extended to cover other aspects relevant to social development in Adaklu’s communities.