The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama has launched the Ghana Chapter of the Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa, RAFELA-GHANA in Tamale. The network is a global women campaign to promote gender equality and the economic empowerment of women in Africa. Ghana joined the global network campaign last year in Marrakesh, Morocco during the 8th Africities Summit.

The Women Caucus Representative of National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana, NALAG, Hajia Mariam Iddrisu was elected the President of RAFELA Ghana and one of the Vice Presidents for West Africa. Speaking to Journalists in Tamale during the launch of the Network in Ghana, the Sagnarigu MCE explained that, RAFELA is the Gender Equality Committee of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-A). 

She disclosed that the committee works towards putting the concerns of women at the heart of local government policies and strategies, ensuring the participation of women in decision-making within government institutions, strengthening women economic empowerment and the promotion of women leadership in local communities.

She revealed that the female Mayors of Africa who form the membership of RAFELA envisage the Africa Cities free of street children, zero tolerance of gender base violence, an environment favorable to the economic empowerment of women and equal participation of women in political governance.  

Hajia Mariam hinted that the RAFELA Ghana Network will work with likeminded organizations in the country in order to achieve the four main campaign goals. She tasked the representatives of the network in the 16 regions of Ghana to collaborate with nongovernmental organizations and the civil society groups to implement RAFELA in the various regions .

The Sagnarigu Municipal Chief Executive commended first lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo for accepting to be the patron of the network in Ghana, saying, “We are going to work closely with her office and the ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to see to the achievement of the four main campaigns of RAFELA-Ghana Chapter.”

In an exclusive interview with THE CUSTODIAN newspaper, the Local Government and Rural Development Minister, Hajia Alima Mahama said there should be more concerted efforts by all stakeholders in the country to push for more women participation in the decision-making process.

Local Government and Rural Development Minister, Hajia Alima Mahama

She disclosed that only 8.1 percent of women presented themselves for the just ended District Assembly Elections but only 3 percent were successful to win their elections, which she said the country needs to do more.
However, Hajia Alima Mahama indicated this is an improve figure compared to the previous assemblies, which had 7.5 percent, stating “we want to see more women in local government.”

She said resource constraints have always been a major bottleneck undermining the progress of women to submit themselves for leadership positions.

Hajia Alima Mahama entreated the male assembly men to work for the growth of women and children in their communities, urging them to do so by using the resources of the district assemblies to provide the needs of the people. 

The Minister noted the assemblies must effectively collaborate with other development partners at the local level, stressing this will enable the assemblies to make-up for areas they don’t have resources to accomplish their activities.