The 9th National Widows Alliance Conference (NAWAC-2017), an initiative of the Mama Zimbi Foundation (MZF) through its Widows Alliance Network (WANE) project for sustainable socio-economic development of widows in Ghana, hosted thousands of widows from across Ghana to commemorate the United Nation’s International Widows Day.
The theme for this special event which was held on Saturday 17th June at the Ghana International Trade Fair Center was ‘Empowering Women for Greater Achievements’. This annual event is meant for Ghana and Africa at large to appreciate the roles widows play as ambassadors of change in their communities. It also served as the ideal dialogue platform for the advocacy of a comprehensive policy and legal direction for elevating the standards of widows in the country as well as.
Activities at the conference among other things included medical screening, talk on the need to abolish evil widowhood practices, talk on women empowerment, singing and dancing by widow groups and mini trade fair. Some of the key personalities at the event were Hon. Gifty Twum Ampofo (Member of Parliament for Abuakwa North and Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection), Nana Ogyedom Tsetsewah I (Mankrado of Gomoa Oguan), Hon. Nana Oye Lithur (Former Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection), Mr. Girmay Haile (Country Director, UNAIDS), Nana Tseasewaa III (Queenmother of Gwira Akyinim, Elmina) and Prophet Cephas Kpegah Tamakloe (Founder and General Overseer of Breaking Yoke Ministry International).
Others were Pastor Dr. Gabriel Nsiah of Valley View University, Prophetess Mrs. Vida Anyang (Founder and General Overseer of Solid Foundation Prayer Ministry International), Bishop Dr. Philip Kofi Boateng (Founder and General Overseer, Blessed Home Ministry Int. – Nhyira Fie), Pastor Roger Parkins (Odo Ahomaso Resource Person, Adom FM), Rev. Dr. Ebenezer Conduah (Founder and President, Leader of Learning To Marry Forever), Prince Anin-Agyei (Projects Director of MZF) and Mrs Elizabeth Nsiah (Board Chair of MZF).
Speaking at the event, the Founder and Executive Director of MZF, Akumaa Mama Zimbi, known in private life as Dr. Joyce Akumaa Dongotey-Padi stated that ‘Women must stand up for other women no matter their believes or status especially for the vulnerable and those in difficult situations like widows, teenage mothers, unemployed graduates, women in prison, girls in child marriage and prostitutes…What unites us as women is greater than our differences…We are all faced with the same cultural and religious bias and challenges.’ She added that the few women in leadership positions have the power to help other women and can make the difference by not fighting each other’s successes. And it is true that not every widow is vulnerable or is subjected to evil widowhood practices, but our society can minimize the negatives and make vulnerable widows have a better life.
Hon. Gifty Twum Ampofo, (Member of Parliament for Abuakwa North and Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection) speaking for her Minister Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba at the event stated that the Ministry will partner with MZF and make funds available to support widows to work and better their livelihood.
The Country Director of UNAIDS, Mr. Girmay Haile also promised their continuous partnership with MZF to fight against stigma and discrimination associated with HIV in Ghana. Hon. Nana Oye Lithur, Former Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection added that women must stop treating other women through weird widowhood practices.
Supporters of NAWAC 2017 include UniBank, Indomie Instant Noodles, Everpure Purified Water, Joy Dadi Bitters, GTP, Yeripa Jasmine Rice, The Royals, Minata and Daughters Porridge Servings, Mobile Engineering Services, Kalyppo and Bedita Pharmacy. Others were Bake Shop Classics, Blue Skies fruit Juice, Perfect Hands and HealthCare Services, Asadu Royal Waste Management, T.T Brothers, Danny’s Décor, Last Hour Catering Services and Ghana International Trade Fair Center. The event’s media partners include Multimedia Group Limited, Kasapa FM, Agoo TV, Websoft Solutions and Ceejay Multimedia.