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ECOWAS deliberates on how to empower women in the region

A 3-day meeting on ways to empower women in ECOWAS member states is taking place in Accra with participation from five countries.

It is dubbed the ECOWAS Cross-Border Women in Development Network Needs Assessment and Project Identification.

Empower women conference 

The Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Massandje Toure-Litse, in a speech read on her behalf by the Director of Free Movement and Migration, Albert Siaw Boateng, said that the 3-day meeting is an indication of the commitment of ECOWAS member states to improving the standard of living of women in border communities.

She stated that by assessing the needs of these women and deliberating on possible areas of intervention, they will be able to access the ECOWAS financial grant provided by the Women in Development (WID) Networks to build their capacities and provide support to small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).

Madame Toure-Litse indicated that the first phase of the WID Networks Initiative will be implemented in three stages, with each stage involving five Member States meeting to jointly assess the needs of identified border communities in their respective countries to propose capacity building and socio-economic empowerment projects in sectors like Trade, Agriculture, Education and Healthcare, among others.

Senior Commercial officer at the Trade Facilitation Division of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), Dilys Ankomah Boafo, said, that the meeting will “unravel the nuanced needs and aspirations of women in the West African region, seeking to understand their perspectives, ambitions and they obstacles that confront them.

Through this deep exploration, she said, “we will lay the foundation for impactful projects that resonate with the realities of women’s lives.”

The success of this initiative, she iterated, will hinge upon collaboration and partnership. She therefore urged the participants to seize the opportunity to “harness our collective wisdom and experiences, as we strategize and identify projects that can catalyse change and uplift women in their journey towards empowerment.”

The Senior Welfare Officer at the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Oloni Atinuke Folashade, said that the assessment will enable stakeholders develop synergies, targeted solutions and support systems to propagate them as well as build the capacities of women in border communities.

She stressed that the discussions will be focused on providing assistance where needed throughout the process assist them to work to ensure an inclusive future for all women.

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