The Distance Education Students Association of Ghana, University of Cape Coast (DESAG-UCC) has held its 5th Biennial Women’s Conference with a call on female students to add value to themselves.
The two-day conference which had the theme: “Empowering Women in Entrepreneurship during and after COVID-19” was attended by delegates from the 16 regions of Ghana.
Speaking at the function, the Queen Mother of Anomabu, Nana Mbroba Dabo I, whose speech was delivered by the Krontihemaa of the Oguaa Traditional Area, Nana Amba Eyiaba I, advised women to be prepared to make relevant investments and adopt entrepreneurial practices to empower themselves. Nana Dabo I noted that empowerment must start with the mindset through the development of a can-do attitude which according to her should influence their decisions. “This is why female specific workshops are essential to the woman entrepreneur,” she added. She underscored the need for women to acquire skills to effectively overcome challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pro Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Dora Francisca Edu-Buandoh, who chaired the conference noted that COVID-19 had disrupted almost every aspect of human endeavour, however, it was important for the female students to adjust themselves by acquiring new skills so as not to depend on what they earned through formal employment. “It has really become important for us women not to only rely on the end of month paycheque but do other things to earn additional income to support ourselves and the family,” she urged.
Prof. Edu-Buandoh encouraged the delegates to take advantage of the hands-on skills training they would be taken through at the conference to build a livelihood when they return to their various regions. “This is the time for you to reflect on what you can do and also acquire additional skills to add value to yourself” she stated.
The Pro Vice-Chancellor advised the delegates to look beyond the pandemic and focus on how they could work towards applying the skills and knowledge they had acquired to change and shape their future. “We are in difficult times and you cannot sit idle and expect your life to turn around within a twinkle of an eye, you need to do something meaningful to make your standard of living better,” she implored them. She was hopeful that the delegates would form teams to begin joint ventures after the training sessions.
The Deputy Minister for Works and Housing, Mrs. Barbara Asher Ayisi, who was the Guest Speaker stated that women were becoming more entrepreneurial in their thinking and this had led to the creation of more businesses in recent times. She disclosed that research had shown that women make up about 40% of new entrepreneurs.
Mrs. Ayisi who is also the Member of Parliament of Cape Coast North Constituency indicated that women’s contribution to economic growth could not be underestimated, adding that “When we have a lot of entrepreneurs in this country, we can help the economy to develop”.
She encouraged the delegates to start business ventures if even their capital was not enough stressing that “It is better to start something with the little you have than sit at home after your university education. Remember that it is important to have a skill aside from being a graduate or a professional worker because nobody can tell what tomorrow holds.”
The Provost of the College of Distance Learning Education (CoDE), Prof. Isaac Galyuon noted that some of the graduates and students who had attended these conferences in the past had gained a lot and established their own businesses. He urged DESAG and the Women’s Commission to sustain this creative and innovative skills training programme even when the COVID-19 pandemic was over.
The National Women’s Commissioner DESAG-UCC, Miss Thelma Ofosua Tabi, explained that DESAG was committed to empowering women with the needed skills and knowledge to become productive members of society. She said the Women’s Commission had introduced new programmes to the conference such as counselling session, health screening, and training on the production of hand sanitizer and liquid soap.
Present at the conference were Coordinators and Senior Members of the College of Distance Education, National Executive Committee members and delegates of DESAG-UCC.