Hajia Alima Sagito Sa-eed, Executive Director of SWIDA-GH

The Savannah Women Integrated Development Agency Ghana (SWIDA-GH), a nongovernmental organization into women empowerment with funding support from the African Women’s Development Fund is implementing a project christened: KASA, to raise awareness on sexual violence in the north.

Women commissioners from the various tertiary schools in the northern region as well as other women leaders numbering about one hundred assembled in Tamale over the weekend to discuss issues of sexual and gender based violence – the role women, girls as well as other stakeholders can play to achieve sustainable solutions to end sexual violence.

Violence against the girl child and women is a global canker and the sustainable development goals recognize the importance of eliminating the phenomenon. In view of this, goals 5 of the SDGs emphasize the need for Ghana like any other UN member country to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030.

In addition, goals 16 further promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Executive Director SWIDA-GH, Hajia Alima Sagito Sa-eed, in a media interview said one of every three female have suffered some form of abuse in their lifetime.

“We’re here to discuss a very important issue of concern to society – and that is gender and sexual based violence but for this gathering the emphasis is on ending sexual based violence. It is necessary – because, it is evident, that, research has shown that one in every three females have been abused in any form.”

Hajia Sagito indicated the objective of the program is to empower the young women with relevant information, skills, confidence and the ability to lead the processes of ending sexual violence in their communities and institutions.

She revealed the program would be rolled out in the next two years and the idea is to work with as many as 200 young female leaders from different institutions especially at the tertiary and secondary school levels to be the champions of change for ending sexual based violence.

“We are going to do a lot of jingles to be playing, songs and we also intend to do info graphics to communicate the need for sexual based violence to stop; and we’re stop it and it is a responsibility for everybody.”

The SWIDA-GH Executive Director noted the bottom-top approach is geared towards finding sustainable solutions pertaining to the culture of sexual violence, explaining, we know there are a lot of youth leaders in northern region that are leading more women and also young people, who are sometimes victims and perpetrators of this issue, so, if we all understand it, it will be more comprehensive and we will tackle it from different angles and we will get better results.

“…And we are not looking for results today, we’re looking for sustainable results – that is why we’re starting with these students, that’s why we’re starting with young people because the future is for them; if they understand the need to stop it, then it means that we’re sure that five, ten, years time, there would be no issue of sexual violence whether in the school or community” Hajia Sagito emphasized.  

For her part, the Acting Director for the Department of Gender in the northern region, Madam Bushira Alhassan welcomed the advocacy intervention coming from the NGO.

She said issues of gender based violence require combined effort and therefore pledged her outfit will offer the nongovernmental organization the necessary support and collaborate to intensify the public education.  

Beyond the advocacy and public sensitization, the department of gender, she said always encourage the public to report cases of gender based violence, saying it amounts to nothing when people are reluctant to report such cases for the necessary actions.

Madam Bushira indicated not all cases reported to the department end up in court, stating some people are adamant to file complaints against perpetrators due to the purported litigation.  

“One thing we encouraged is reporting – because, usually when we do the sensitization, we educate them on these issues but when the cases come and they don’t report, it amounts to nothing, because, if somebody is unaware of something, the person would not report but you’ve been educated on the issue, you understand it; it might not be yourself but it could happen to your neighbor and so when that happens – its proper that you come out to talk about like the project is titled; KASA! she pointed out.