Flashback: James Konlaa, a Municipality's Social Welfare Director with Eyram Bashan
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Starr Woman Dream Edition Project has mounted pressure on the Savelugu Municipal Assembly in the Northern Region to fast track its processes leading to the disbursement of the common fund allocation for persons with disabilities.

Following a stakeholder forum with duty bearers and other stakeholders on gender empowerment and social inclusion targeting persons with disabilities, the project has been tracking various promises made to improve the livelihoods of the PWDs especially women entrepreneurs with disabilities in the Municipality.
Key among promises that had been made was to address all outstanding issues that have denied the PWD’s from accessing the common fund for the past four years.

After a follow up mentoring and empowerment session for the women entrepreneurs with disabilities in the Municipality, the Project Team led by the Project Lead Eyram Bashan called on the Municipal Chief Executive – Hajia Ayishetu Seidu and her team to present the group’s observations and concerns on actions the Assembly committed to undertake.

The Assembly revealed that the first task of setting up a Fund Management Committee had been done and that will pave way for the smooth and efficient administration of the fund. The Welfare Director James Konlaa also disclosed that the PWDs have been directed to submit proposals for consideration, announcing that the funds were ready for disbursement.

Mrs. Bashan appealed to the MCE to treat the PWD’s common fund disbursement as an urgent matter requiring her office’s direct facilitation to address the four year execution gap. She shared the difficult experiences of some of the women with disabilities whose livelihoods’ survival depend solely on the common fund.

The MCE Hajia Ayishetu assured the team that in the next 10days the PWDs will be accessing their share of the fund and thanked the Starr Woman Dream Project for the sustained interest and commitment to keep the Assembly on their toes to deliver on what they have legally being tasked to do.

The Starr Woman Dream Project funded by Star-Ghana has been collaborating with the Assembly and other state institutions to assist women with disabilities through entrepreneurship support and other critical social services.

The Project’s baseline survey findings had unearthed various debilitating issues affecting the economic empowerment and inclusion of women with disabilities in the Municipality. The Districts Assemblies Common Fund allocation for PWDs is one critical source of livelihood support and yet the administration of this fund is often not transparent and accessible to the beneficiaries.

Starr Woman Team in a pose with the MCE staff

Even though the Savelugu Municipal Assembly randomly supports PWDs in the communities, the DACF allocation meant to invest in startup businesses or ideas of PWDs in a coordinated and on a large scale have failed to do so for four years running with the dissolution of the then Fund Management Committee. Support from other state agencies have also not been well coordinated to benefit the numbers save occasional non-governmental interventions to fill in the gap.

The women with disabilities on the Starr Woman Dream Project have been very vocal for a change in the status quo. They have also shown great self-motivation and enterprise in leading their small businesses.

The project has been mentally empowering the women to continue to desire and pursue great economic ventures to build on their wealth and self-worth. The second in series of training workshops organized by the Project for them brought together seasoned business coaches and successful women entrepreneurs in the Region – Vivian Tubigah, A Fashion Entrepreneur and Beads Designer, Fouseina Alhassan – An Entrepreneur into Food Processing, Mercy Apoe, Gender Empowerment Coach and Successful Serial Entrepreneur with physical disability Zenab Abu. Over 30 participants were imparted various skills including beads making, food processing, marketing, branding and general business management skills.

The workshop was quite charged with intense concentration moments of cheers and applause and a charge the participants committed to, to pursue multiple streams of income applying the newly acquired skills immediately.

The Project team also visited some of the participants at their business locations to highlight their challenges and celebrate their achievements to inspire their colleagues to see what is possible and within their reach while they wait for state support.

The Starr Woman Dream Project is also helping mobilize and sensitize the women with disabilities to submit their proposals to the Savelugu Municipal Assembly.

The Starr Woman Dream Project is a two and half year advocacy drive to promote businesses of young women entrepreneurs especially with disabilities and seek policy actions to improve their inclusion and empowerment.

Starr Woman Dream Project is inspiring the dreams of women entrepreneurs with Disability across the country – that it’s possible to dream and achieve economic empowerment and inclusion in Ghana.

Source: Ghana/Starrfmonline.com/103.5FM