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Regional News Sat, 9 May 2009

Upper West Chiefs emprace queen mothers

Wa, May 9, GNA - Paramount Chiefs in the Upper West Region are redesigning their traditional councils to accommodate some women leaders as Queen Mothers (Pognamine) to enable them to participate in decision-making in the traditional authorities. Naa Sohamininye Danaa Gore, President of the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs who disclosed this, said times had changed and traditional councils could not be moving forward as dynamic institutions if women continued to be excluded from their membership. He said this at a day's workshop at Wa organized by the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD) a local NGO, to assess the findings made in a study by the University of Development Studies on various perspectives about the institution of queen mothers in the region.

The institution of Queen mothers in the region is an initiative of CIKOD aimed to propel women in the area to support the work of their chiefs beyond the current behind the scenes approach to involvement of women in traditional matters. Naa Gore urged his colleagues who were still operating without queen mothers to take steps to appoint them so that they could take their positions in the traditional councils to express their opinions on issues especially those which concerned women and children.

Mr. Bernard Guri, Executive Director of CIKOD said for poverty to be addressed fully, the chiefs must of necessity take another look at indigenous structures and make them responsive to the needs of women. He expressed regret that traditional leadership in Northern Ghana had not made women leaders in the area visible to the rest of the country and that was undermining their role in the development of their communities. According to him, the Upper West Region was the initial focus of his organization in its bid to get the institution of queen mothers implanted in traditional authorities in the North and expressed the hope that this would influence its acceptance in the Northern and Upper East Regions.

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Mr. Isaac Owusu-Mensah, Senior Programme Manager of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), a German political foundation which sponsored the workshop, noted that structural changes were very difficult to make and entreated the chiefs to continue to be accommodative to the cause of women. "Our aim is to hear a Naa saying this issue is about women and children and my queen mother must make the decision or another Naa saying according to my "pognaa" (queen mother) the decision is in the best interest of women and children", he pointed out.

Source: GNA
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