The Sirigu Women’s Organisation for Pottery and Art (SWOPA), a Non- Governmental Organisation, is empowering some women groups in the Kassena-Nankana West District and the Kassena-Nankana Municipal of the Upper East Region, to promote sustainable peacebuilding and social cohesion in communities.
The women groups termed “Poyaasi and Isi” are to, among other things, play critical roles in maintaining peace in their respective communities of marriage and maternal communities to promote accelerated development.
These were made known at a two-day training workshop on peacebuilding and conflict resolution for women and men at Sirigu, a community in the Kassena-Nankana West District, organised by SWOPA under its peacebuilding project.
The project dubbed, “leveraging community connections to build sustainable peace and conflict resolution: role of Poyaasi and Isi”, is being funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI).
“Poyaasi” is a Gurune term referring to women married in a particular community while “Isi” refers to their children (both men and women) born in the marriage.
Ms Bridget Adongo Akasise, the Manageress of SWOPA, said apart from being one of the vulnerable groups in times of instability, women were naturally peace makers who could play key roles in ensuring sustained peace in communities and prevent conflicts.
She, therefore, urged major stakeholders, including traditional authorities, to tap into the influence of women to resolve differences within and between communities, through non-violence means.
Ms Akasise said women were mostly neglected when it came to decision making regarding peace in communities and the situation was worrying and needed to be addressed to ensure attainment of lasting peace for development.
She explained that women groups had been formed in communities in the area and in those groups, women who were from the same community and married in another community were put together (poyaasi).
This, she said, would enable the women to discuss issues affecting their growth and development and help resolve conflicts in both their fathers and husbands’ communities for lasting peace and development.
“Women are peace makers but circumstances sometimes lead them to do things out of ignorance, so we want to bring them together and train them to understand and appreciate how to be peace makers in their communities and let that peace continue to reign wherever they find themselves,” she said.
She urged the women to use the knowledge acquired from the training to influence the two communities to ensure peace at all times.
Mr Eric Chimsi, the Senior Development Officer, Canadian High Commission to Ghana, explained that conflicts and disputes disrupted development and progress and mostly affecting women and children, who were always left behind in the decision making process.
He said it was time for leaders to recognise the significant role women could play in ensuring peace in communities and called for stakeholders to ensure that women had enduring roles to building peace for development.
Ms Ayelwaa Ayaba, one of the participants, noted that the land dispute between Doba and Kandiga was affecting their lives and economic activities and appealed to stakeholders to help resolve the conflict to protect women and children.