By Benjamin Commey
Accra, Oct. 12, GNA- The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), has held consultations with relevant stakeholders to formalise the roles, responsibilities and establishment of Gender Desk Officers (GDOs) at all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).
The consultations were to afford stakeholders the opportunity to discuss and validate the proposed roles and structures, collect evidence-based experience from local government partners to identify the numerous challenges that confronted GDOs and to facilitate its formal establishment.
The office, if established, would enhance the capacity of GDOs and ensure a coherent approach to gender and social protection from the district to the national level.
The engagement was held in partnership with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the Governance for Inclusive Development (GovID) Programme, with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Global Affairs Canada (GAC).
Speaking at the event in Accra, Mr Raphael Frerking, Programme Manager, GIZ- Governance for Inclusive Development (GovID) Programme, reiterated the need to mainstream gender equality into planning and budgeting processes and to build strong institutions to implement the reforms.
Mr Frerking noted that gender-responsive planning and budgeting should eventually result in local development plans and budgets that addressed women’s priorities and needs to the same extent as their male counterparts.
He therefore emphasized the need for MMDAs to include the voices of women and marginalised groups in the sub-national planning and budgeting processes.
“Gender-responsive planning focuses on equal access to education, health, transport, water, income-earning possibilities and food security. However, local development plans that are drafted with a gender perspective not only contain projects that are of high relevance for women, but also consider the possible gender impacts of all other projects and programs,” he said.
He expressed optimism that the outcome of the engagement would ensure that GDOs were formalised and their capacity enhanced, advancing a coherent approach to gender and social protection from the district to the national level.
The support by GIZ is part of a larger package of the support by the German Government to the Government of Ghana to advance gender mainstreaming into the country’s planning and budgeting processes.
In a speech read on behalf of Dr Afisah Zakariah, Chief Director, by Mrs Thywill Eyra Kpe , the Acting Director for the Department of Gender, said gender discrimination and inequality perpetuated towards certain groups had gained notoriety, hence the need for government and stakeholders to collaborate to ensure that issues of gender were well addressed at all levels.
To achieve this, she said the MoGCSP launched the National Gender Policy with the aim of mainstreaming gender concerns into the national development processes, adding that the contribution of GDOs was therefore identified as vital to effective gender mainstreaming.
She said the Ministry, together with stakeholders had developed a set of guidelines that would direct the establishment of the GDOs and guide their operations in their respective institutions.
According to her, it would ensure effective planning, gender responsive budgeting and operations to ensure that no one was left behind.
Dr Nana Ato Arthur, Head of the Local Government Service, noted that the appointment of GDOs would be a milestone in making the Local Government Service more client-focus service, which was one of the values of the service.
He added that the initiative by the Ministry and Development Partners was laudable because it would serve as a solid foundation to bring gender mainstreaming to the threshold of the various communities on a highly organized, effective and efficient implementation of all gender-based interventions.