Alliance for Women in Media Africa (AWMA), has launched a project to enhance inclusive participation in local governance in Ghana through capacity building for journalists and female political aspirants in the country.
The project seeks to empower thirty (30) journalists and female aspirants contesting the impending District Assembly elections in Greater Accra, Ashanti and Northern Regions.
Speaking at the launch, seasoned researcher and policy analyst, Dr. Esther Ofei Aboagye noted that the media must play a critical role of setting the agenda on objective and independent coverage of issues of women election, information sharing and influencing public opinion on women candidature and roles as voters.
Dr. Ofei-Aboagye further reiterated the call on the media to educate and promote citizen’s awareness of issues of local governance and women participation. She asserted that the media must ensure all misconceptions and hindrances that impede the election of women into public offices and positions are broken.
She encouraged journalists to guarantee level playing fields for all persons and not leave any one behind.
“A wild range of and variety of media players must work together to avoid elite capture and leaving people behind. Journalist must leverage opportunities for visibility for those who would be the danger of not being seen or heard” she noted.
On his part, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission, Alexander Bannerman called on the Ghanaian media to devote enough airtime and space to educate and encourage more women to take up positions and contest in the upcoming district level election. He cautioned the media not to allow their platforms to be used to rundown women that put themselves up for elections.
“for our democracy to grow and be sustained we need women at all levels of our political governance structure and it is only the media that will become the voice for them” he added.
A representative of the Canadian High Commission, John Chrysler explained that Canada is committed to building a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world with women and girls at the heart of all policies and programs. He said Canada believes women and girls’ full participation of all aspects of society is a key driver to advancing gender equality leading to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He affirmed the commitment of the High Commission to the project and other projects that promote an all-round development of women.
The Acting Executive Secretary of the Private Newspapers and Online Publishers Association (PRINPAG), Jeorge Wilson-Kingson in a solidarity message, emphasized the readiness of the association to use its platforms to promote women contesting in the upcoming district level elections. He advised the media to prioritize gender-sensitive reporting and adopt guidelines and codes of conduct that promote fair and balanced coverage of women candidates.
Some of the female candidates expressed total satisfaction with the project and appealed for more support to win the elections.