Mr Obrain Nyarko, Oti Regional Director of Agriculture, says there is the need to fully include the perspectives of women in the formulation and implementation of programmes at all stages of the pandemic response to leverage on the gains made.
He noted that when women lead, they made the conscientious effort to put the welfare and needs of the people first.
Mr Nyarko in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Emmanuel Minah, Krachi East Municipal Director of Agriculture during the 2021 World Rural Women's Day Celebration at Gbi Wegbe noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had brought with it a "New Normal" where the "Old Normal" had given way to the "New Normal."
He noted that COVID-19 and the lesson learnt, had taught that women's participation in nation-building was important in achieving an equitable future and a more prosperous future.
Mr Nyarko said it was not misplaced to celebrate the effort of women who through exemplary leadership had helped to shape a more equitable future and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that there were women who served as frontliners of the COVID-19 crisis as health workers and also served as some of the most exemplary and effective leaders in combating the pandemic.
"The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the skills and knowledge of women to effectively lead. The entire world has come to accept that women bring on board different perspectives, knowledge, and skills that work better for all."
The Regional Director said most countries that had been successful in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic including Germany, Denmark, Ethiopia, and Finland were led by women adding that "all these countries have been recognised for the effectiveness of their nation's response to the COVID-19."
The celebration was on the theme: "Celebrating the efforts of Women and Girls around the World to shape a more Equitable Future and Recovery from COVID-19 pandemic."
Madam Qudiratu N. Ishak from the German Association of Rural Women (Dlv), Ghana Office, said the Dlv had been in Ghana since 2017 and operational in the Volta, Oti, and Brong Ahafo regions and worked in three main intervention areas including rice processing.
She said they were supporting rice women groups in the Volta, Oti, and Northern regions in the processing of their rice by improving the quality, adding that the first phase of the project trained the women on rice parboiling.
Madam Ishak said the women groups had also received training on marketing, quality assurance and also helped them to network by taking them to farmers' day and rice festivals to expose them to other people and see what they were doing.
She said the second intervention area was in regards to nutrition by training women groups in Northern and Bono East regions with emphasis on home gardening adding that there was the need for the knowledge on how staples were combined with other things to get the micronutrients.
Madam Ishak said the third intervention was strengthening groups that were identified to be in need of support by giving them capacity building training and group dynamics training.
She said there were many challenges the rural women faced that only the German Association of Rural Women could not solve including the unavailability of rice mills for women in the Volta region in rice production which affected the quality of rice produced.
Madam Ishak said since the machines were expensive and the women could not afford them, the Association of Rural Women gave the women advocacy and lobbying skills to be able to lobby for some of the interventions from the government.
She said water was also a challenge for women in the Northern region with regards to rice parboiling and drying of the rice, adding that some of them had no nice platforms where they dried their rice.
Madam Ishak called on partners that could give grants to come on board to provide grants, machinery to assist the women since there had been quality in terms of their rice production and packaging as a result of the training and support they received.
Madam Janet Adade, CEO of ELSJYNE Enterprise and Women Leader, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the celebration which had begun in 2018, had impacted the various women groups in the Volta and Oti regions and thanked the stakeholders who put the celebrations together.
She said the celebration over the years, served as motivation to other women in most communities to also form groups adding they had begun with ten women groups in the Hohoe Municipality which had increased to about 50 groups.
Madam Adade said the groups had taken measures such as registering with the various Assemblies and contributing monies to help themselves such as the purchase of agro inputs, hire machines to come and work for them.
She said they still had some challenges as rural women including the difficulty in bringing the women together while calling on organisations, individuals, and government to come to the aid of the women farmers through the provision of harvesters, tillers and processing and packaging machines.
ELSJYNE Enterprise presented farming tools to outstanding women groups from Likpe, Fodome, Akpafu, and Wli as well as other individuals.