Thursday, October 15, 2009

Money allocated for gender equity hardly used

Money allocated for Gender Equity Hardly Used

Accra, Oct. 15, 2009 - GNA - A Research conducted by the Ghana Partnership Resource Review, a research group, has indicated that out of US$3.21 million allocated to the social protection sector, only US$390,000 was used for the intended purpose.

This meant that although key donors adopted a gender mainstreaming approach, it was difficult for them to concretely determine what impact their aid was having on Gender Equity (GE) in the country. Addressing participants attending a workshop organized on Thursday by the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations, Ms Afua Ansre, National Programme Coordinator of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), attributed the lack of commitment to GE as one of the main reasons for the slow rate of development in the country.

She said Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB), if properly implemented, would bring tremendous improvement to the lives of women who constituted the bulk of the marginalized and the poor. Gender Responsive Budgeting represents a special type of policy-making that enables budgets or money allocation to become effective tools for advancing gender equity or to ensure that women participated fully or advanced in all sectors of society.

Ms Ansre called on the government to have to a detailed plan for women in the country and to ensure that requirements for the plan reflected in the nation's budget especially at the district level. "According to the Institute of Social, Statistical and Economic Research (ISSER), the least area of government investment in 2008 was in the area of agriculture, and that is where you find the poorest people of Ghana - women crop farmers," she added. The Coordinator bemoaned the high level of maternal and infant mortality in the country, the significant number of girls dropping out of school especially in the rural areas, and the abysmal number of women parliamentarians the nation has.

She intimated that UNIFEM was in the process of building teams of experts to help support the growing desire for GRB at the district and national levels.

Highlighting the importance of GRB, Mr Roland Mordey, Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC), said this included the provision of feedback to the government on whether it was meeting the needs of the marginalized and the realization of women's rights. Mr Mordey said it had also been established that the good implementation of GRB led to real growth in the Gross Domestic product of any nation.

He said Ghana's experience on GRB started recently, adding that in 2008, MOWAC received cabinet approval to pilot the implementation of the GRB in the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. To this effect, MOWAC put in place all the needed requirements to ensure that next year, GRB would be implemented in the three ministries as well as all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies whereby they would allocate a percentage of their financial allocations to support gender programmes.

"To this effect, MOWAC in August 2009 organised a GRB training workshop for 16 selected MDAs including 45 participants from the budgeting and planning sections of the MDAs who were trained in Gender Concepts, Gender Analysis, and Budgeting Systems in the country," he said.

The workshop, which was under the theme "Making Local Level Budgeting More Gender Responsive", was attended by representatives from the Ministries and other civil society organizations.

Source: Ghana News Agency