Covid-19: Women’s Rights Groups in Ghana Enjoy Funding from Canada


The Global Affairs Canada and the High Commission of Canada have provided additional funding to women’s rights groups in Ghana, in its ongoing Women’s Voice and Leadership Project, as the Covid-19 pandemic lingers on.

The 500,000 Canadian dollar increase, equivalent to approximately 1.3 million Ghana Cedi, will help to reduce the negative impact of COVID-19 on the rights of the poorest and most marginalized women and girls in Ghana.

This will further aid the women-based organizations in terms of advocacy for gender-responsive COVID-19 policies and programmes nationwide.

The Women’s Voice and Leadership-Ghana Project is been implemented by Plan International Canada and Plan International Ghana in partnership with Women in Law and Development Africa (WiLDAF), the Network for Women’s Right-Ghana (NETRIGHT).

The project supports these two national women’s rights networks to enhance their collective voices to advocate for Ghanaian women’s and girls’ rights and ensure sustainability of the women’s movement in Ghana.

Other beneficiaries include 21 local women’s rights organizations (WROs) to deliver services to advance gender equality, and to better advocate for changes in policies and legislation that negatively impact women and their rights.

According to the acting High Commissioner of Canada to Ghana and Sierra Leone, Sara Nicholls, “COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on women and girls, and our responses must reflect this challenge. Ghanaian women’s rights organizations are on the frontline, providing services to women and girls and fighting for their rights during these uncertain times. This additional funding will support efforts to find and implement gender-sensitive responses to COVID-19 in Ghana.”

Programmes Manager for NETRIGHT, Patricia Blankson Akakpo, stated “In our diversity lies our strength, together as feminist organisations we shall maximize our efforts to promote a dignified life for women and girls during this pandemic. This support from Global Affairs Canada is important because it puts funding and decision making power directly in the hands of women’s rights organisations to respond to the unique needs that women and girls face in the pandemic.”

“Ghanaian women constitute the majority of primary care givers for families and in professional capacities of health and social work, placing them at an increased risk of exposure in both their personal and professional lives. Let women’s voices count in responding to COVID-19. These women know how to solve their challenges, and together we shall win the fight against COVID-19”, she added.

On her part, National Programmes Coordinator for WiLDAF-Ghana, Melody Darkey mentioned, “Ghana, having been largely spared the 2014 Ebola outbreak, women’s rights networks such as ours did not have a dress rehearsal on gender and vulnerability risk communication, disaster preparedness and response to fall back on for a pandemic of the scale of COVID-19. As has been witnessed so far in Ghana’s COVID-19 response, the pandemic has clearly amplified existing inequalities between women and men, the rich and the poor and exposed the underbelly of vulnerability in this country.”

“It has thus made it clear that integrating gender and vulnerability into pandemic response should not be an after-thought, rather, it should be a deliberate, systematic, participatory and cyclical process, allowing for iteration of lessons as the situation evolves. The support from Global Affairs Canada will not only help support the immediate needs of vulnerable women, children, and men, but also enhance our institutional capacity and preparedness to provide the necessary support to our constituents, while at the same time enabling us to unearth the emerging advocacy issues requiring the attention of state institutions at the forefront of the pandemic response.”

Also the Project Lead for Women’s Voice and Leadership Ghana Project, Patricia Isabella Essel hinted that, “COVID-19, aside from taking precious lives and challenging global health systems, is also exposing and deepening gender inequalities, as well as having multiple effects on women and girls worldwide, from increased sexual and gender-based violence, unpaid care work, to deepening poverty. This additional support from Global Affairs Canada is so timely and a great relief for local women led organizations in Ghana, to give voice to the voiceless and provide a chance to address the inequalities and also to remain relevant in this crucial time. The support will not just save lives but will also contribute to the collective efforts of getting through this pandemic together and bouncing back stronger in giving meaning to gender equality and women’s rights.”

The project is part of Canada’s Women’s Voice and Leadership Program, which includes 32 projects in 30 countries and regions for a total amount of 174 million Canadian dollars.

Ghana is one among six Women’s Voice and Leadership projects in Africa to receive additional funds to advocate for and implement gendered-responses to COVID-19.

Plan International Canada’s Director Gender Equality, Saadya Hamdani, espoused that “Not only has COVID-19 magnified existing gender inequalities, it has exacerbated them. The voices of women and girls are invariably absent in public and private level decision-making during crises – including local, girl-led and women’s rights organizations. When the Canadian government directly supports local women’s rights organizations in countries such as Ghana and Ethiopia where COVID-19 is exacerbating gender inequalities, it means that we’re directly supporting girls and women who are at risk, or who are victims of rights violations, including gender-based violence, exploitation, child marriage and dropping out of school. Local women’s rights and girl-led organizations are critical agents of change and service delivery in their societies and supporting their work is crucial in ensuring they can continue their work and leadership within their communities.”

Plan International Canada is a member of a global organization dedicated to advancing children’s rights and equality for girls. Globally, Plan International has been building powerful partnerships for children for over 80 years and is active in more than 70 countries. Plan International has been active in Ghana for 25 years focusing on programming that advances gender equality, maternal and child health, women’s economic empowerment, education and girl’s empowerment.

In addition, up to 75 local WROs will benefit from grants designed to support innovative approaches that will create lasting contributions for women and girls and respond to pertinent issues, such as challenging harmful and discriminatory practices and social norms in Ghana.

With the additional COVID-19 related funding, the project now has a total value of 5.89 million Canadian dollars and will be implemented over 5 years (2019-2024).

Email Daily Mail GH: or
Whatsapp: +233(0)509928122


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here