Let the silent voices be heard – Obaapa Adwoa Ankyaa

Obaapa Adwoa Ankyaa, Nkosoohemaa of Afigya-Kwabre district has urged all stakeholders to create an enabling environment for all silent voices to be head. She said so many women and children are being abused but they are quiet about it because they hardly get supportive people to talk to. Obaapa Adwoa Ankyaa popularly known as NanaHemaa Awindor was interacting with Esenam Amuzu and Ekow Tachie-Mensah of UNFPA Ghana on the first day of this year’s 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence.

“I am passionate about women and children so anything that hinders their development is my focus and I go all out to ensure I mobilize to resolve whatever issue it is particularly issues of violence and harmful practices. I mobilize because I know I cannot do it alone” - NanaHemaa resounded.

NanaHemaa used the opportunity to highlight what her organization Obaapa Development Foundation has being doing in the area of teenage pregnancy under the “Teenage Mothers Back to School Project”. She said once a girl gets pregnant as a teenager, it simply means there was a violation and that must have been taken up by the law because it is either rape or defilement by the laws of Ghana. But it is not that easy and these are some of the challenges faced in Ghana. “Under the project, we educate the girls, encourage them to go back to school and serve as a support system for them. We also involve traditional leaders in the entire programme. We create awareness on the laws and get them as change agents and advocates. This is one of the ways to eliminate sexual and gender-based violence. We all have to come together and work together with one accord”. She said Traditional rulers have a role to play because they are the first point of call in every community and so they must be empowered to act without feeling guilty. Education must be intensified at the family level to enable parents take up responsibilities. For us to avoid motherhood in childhood, we as traditional leaders have to work assiduously and team up with governmental and non-governmental organizations in advancing the health and well-being of women and girls. This is what I do as a development queen with initiatives such as the Teenage Mothers Back to School Project”. NanaHemaa boomed . It is her belief that it is the responsibility of traditional rulers to ensure that communities are safe.

UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said “We have also seen the difference between the way that our societies and our public services respond to citizens who present with a life-threatening illness, and those who come for help with a life- or health- threatening partner” NanaHemma Awindor said this statement is not different from what happens in Ghana. “If we change the status quo, women can be empowered to speak up when they are violated. I am grateful to DOVVSU for the dedicated hotline of 055 5000 100. It has helped and is creating the safe spaces for victims of domestic violence in Ghana. Let’s make this our country’s headache our individual headaches every day and ensure that we actually get the zero cases of sexual and gender-based violence before 2030. Obaapa Adwoa Ankyaa concluded.