The Department of Labour and Human Resource Studies (DOLAHRS) of the School for Development Studies, has hosted an International Writers’ Workshop.
The workshop which formed part of the International Centre for Development and Decent Work (ICDD) programme was on the theme “Gender Equality & Rural Women’s Livelihoods in Ghana, Pakistan and Kenya.” Participants of the workshop were from the University of Cape Coast, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan and Egerton University, Kenya.
The Chairperson for the workshop, Dr. Genevieve Etonam Adukpo, highlighted some interventions and achievements the ICDD programme has made to support and empower women in the rural areas of collaborative members’ countries. She said that, as part of ICDD programme, the various members that constitute the collaborative network meet annually at a conference to discuss research work.
The former Director of CEGRAD, Prof. Akua O. Britwum, who gave an overview of ICDD programme in Ghana, recounted that the programme has positively affected the lives of some people in the southern belt (Yamoansa – Cape Coast), middle belt (Techiman – Brong Ahafo Region) and the Northern belt (Dagomba/ Kasena Nankana) of Ghana. She said the programme has given technical and training support to rural women in Agriculture; livelihood and social protection. Prof. Britwum also said the programme was strongly committed to promoting multidisciplinary research approaches to specific decent work issues and that they were working on various research work. The programme has enrolled two postgraduate students and has two publications as well as other technical reports.
The Head of Department of Labour and Human Resource Studies (DOLAHRS), Dr. Angela Akorsu, in her welcome address assured participants of a fruitful discussion and knowledge-sharing sessions of during the four-day conference. She noted that the conference would provide a venue for participants to network and work towards bringing issues of women empowerment to the attention of world leaders and their respective communities.
Sharing the experience of Pakistan, Prof. Saira Ahtkar, noted that the ICDD programme has contributed to training and supporting women in some rural areas through networking and collaboration. He said their research findings have also helped to initiate women’s participation in Agriculture. He added that they created a network and collaboration with other civil societies; women empowerment programme and international collaborations, as some of their achievements in Pakistan.
From Kenya, Mrs. Susan Njogu, explained that through research findings through the ICDD programme, they have identified some of the problems facing women’s participation in Agriculture to be patriarchal (male centred) issues; difficulty in accessing to fund; cultural barrier; lack of training and support; weak legislative backing; lack of financial control. As part of their contributions to supporting rural women participation in both agriculture and social protection (livelihood) in Kenya, she said they have used their faculty to empower women in some local communities. She added that the faculty was also trying to work together with policy makers to implement a law for the “voices of women” to be heard in Kenya.
A member of the discussion panel, Prof. Samuel K. Annim, advised members of ICDD to be very mindful of their research work by considering integrity, ethics and the end point of their findings, adding that “A research without social change is meaningless.” He said researchers must align their thoughts with the policy makers through accountability and reproducibility.
The University Librarian, Dr. Mac Anthony Cobblah, remarked that researchers must be truthful in their research work in order not to corrupt or jeopardize the knowledge- building of academic institutions. “Research work must also go through proper and rigorous editorial review for credibility,” he added. Dr. Cobblah advised institutions to train graduates on the ethics of research work and not necessarily the methods.
Prof. Nancy Lundgren of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of UCC recommended the incorporation of feminist research in academics because it has the potential to discuss the broad social freedom. “Inclusion of women in policy making and research work cause a better transformation or social change in the society; and females must openly seek cause for social change in order to create quality policies citizenry,” she remarked.
During the closing ceremony, a Kenyan participant, Mr. Charles Wambu, congratulated UCC (DOLAHRS and CEGRAD) and called on civil and corporate societies to embrace the findings of ICDD programme for policy making.
Mrs. Susan Njogu, a participant from Kenya, indicated that the findings would surely be turned into real interventions to affect livelihoods of people. She commended Prof. Akua O. Britwum and her team for their intellectual support.
Participants from Pakistan, Prof. Saira Ahtkar and Prof. Abdul Ghafoor proposed that their findings must be published into book. They expressed gratitude to their Ghanaian partners for their assistance and hospitality.