Ace actress, cultural icon, multiple international award-winner, Founder and Executive Director of Mama Zimbi Foundation, Akumaa Mama Zimbi, known in private life as Dr. Joyce Akumaa Dongotey-Padi, has once again hosted over 2,000 widows from across Ghana under one roof to foster strength and a sense of purpose and also encourage widows to learn to grow in self-confidence.
The 7th National Widows Alliance Conference (NAWAC-2015) was held at the Ghana International Trade Fair Centre, La in Accra.
The annual National Widows Alliance Conference (NAWAC) which is part of the Widows Alliance Network (WANE) project for sustainable economic development of widows in Ghana, being undertaken by the Mama Zimbi Foundation (MZF), continues to serve as the ideal dialogue platform for the advocacy of a comprehensive policy and legal direction for elevating the standards of widows in Ghana.
To date, WANE has formed over 400 widowhood clubs and associations to its credit with about over 8,000 widows in free membership. The theme for NAWAC-2015 was ‘Transforming women through education’. It was also to celebrate the United Nations International Widows Day.
Mama Zimbi stated that the Domestic violence Act, 2007, (Act 732), considers acts likely to cause physical abuse, economic deprivation, emotional verbal or psychological abuse, forcible detention of another person, and sexual abuse as acts of violence. However, Ghana is still living with many forms of outmoded traditional practices like some aspects of widowhood rights in some communities.
This situation has created a marked difference and a class society where widows are found at the base of the ladder. And therefore called for the abolishment of all weird widowhood practices from our society.
She added that, her organization is currently striving to set up an ultra modern ‘Center for Skills and Entrepreneurship Training’ (CENSET) as a permanent place to provide vocational training, human rights education, reproductive health and social integration programs for women and girls. This center will also increase the rate of providing employable skills training and opportunities to widows in Ghana.
Key personalities who spoke at the conference included Hon. Dzifa Abla Gomashie (Deputy Minister, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts), Mrs. Eva Lokko (CEO-Totally Youth), Mrs. Hilary Gbedemah (Rector, The Law Institute), Madam Mary Benedicta Buako (Chairperson, Board of Directors, Mama Zimbi Foundation – MZF), Superintendent Patience Quaye (Director, Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service), Nana ogyedom Tsetsewah I, (Mankrado of Gomoa Oguan, Osumpahen of Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Area; Tema Fantsehen; Mediator of Ogyedom ADR Center) and about 20 other Queenmothers.
Other dignitaries were Rev. George Obeng Appah (Priest in Charge, Sts Thomas More and John Fisher Catholic Churches, Achimota), Rev. Dr. Gabriel Ansah (Chancellor, Nasem University Fellowship; Board Member, MZF), Prophet Emmanuel Badu Kobi (General Overseer, Glorious Waves Church Int. Tema) and Rev. Dr. Ebenezer Conduah (Learning to Marry Forever). The MCs were Captain Smart and Afia Pokua Vim Lady, all of Adom FM. Well known musicians who also thrilled the widows with their outstanding performances were Willie and Mike, Anita Afriyie and Gasmilla.
At the conference, the widows were given free medical examination, addressed by important personalities, engaged in a mini-trade fair, received gifts, danced and had plenty to eat and drink as well. Widows from places as Tarkoradi, Tamale, Adawso, Akosombo, Somanya, Sampa and Hikpo were all at the conference.
Supporters of NAWAC-2015 included, Indomie Instant Noodles, Lucky Herbal Clinic, Sir – Ernest Farms and Logistics, Minata and Daughters Porridge Servings, Mobile Engineering Services, Fru Telli and Bedita Pharmacy. Others are Ulti Malt, Bake Shop, Classics, Skyfalls Natural Mineral Water, New Crystal Hospital, Danny’s Décor, Last Hour Catering Services and Ghana International Trade Fair Centre.
The media partners include Media Fambern, Websoft Solutions and DDP. Partners include ATV, Multi TV, Adom FM, Joy FM, Asempa FM, Nhyira FM and Hitz FM.