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24 January 2017

ExLA Group hosts women Congress in Accra

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The maiden edition of the Young African Women Congress (YAWC) 2016 has taken place in Accra in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana.

The congress sought to empower young women in Africa to play participatory roles in the development of Africa.

In a 5-day span, the congress which was organised by ExLA Group featured over 20 accomplished women leaders of diverse backgrounds across the globe who took participants through various sessions including panel discussions, group discussions and career fair among others.

There were also keynote presentations and personal perspectives on specific issues of women development shared by various special guest speakers.

The congress was officially opened with a grand ceremony at the University of Ghana in Accra on Monday 19th December, 2016. The event was duly attended by a number of dignitaries from Ghana and other African countries including Ms. Mahawa Kaba Wheeler (Director, Women, Gender and Development Directorate (WGDD) of African Union Commission (AUC)); Ms. Comfort Lamptey, Regional Advisor on Governance, Peace and Security for West and Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO) – UN Women;  Ambassador Erieka Bennett, Head of Missions, The African Union Diaspora African Forum; Mrs. Christine Evans-Klock, the UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative for Ghana; H.E. Claudia Turbay Quintero, Colombian Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Irene Vida Gala, Brazilian Ambassador to Ghana; Prof. Akosua Adomako Ampofo, Professor of Gender and African Studies, among others.

The ceremony was marked by a number of activities including an inspiring keynote address delivered by Ms. Mahawa Kaba Wheeler on the theme for the congress, “The Modern Woman Leader, Revising the Status quo”.

Delivering her speech at the peak of the ceremony, Ms Kaba Wheeler acknowledged the persevering effort of ExLA Group in making YAWC 2016 a reality. She reiterated AU’s commitment to empowering women and girls at all levels revealing further the union’s plans for women’s development on the continent in 2017 and beyond.

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Ms. Kaba Wheeler entreated all participants and guests to relay what they learn from the congress to other women who did not have the opportunity to attend the congress.

She debunked the assertion of the “wonder/perfect woman concept”, insisting that it was a drawback to the women empowerment agenda. She therefore encouraged all present to use their leadership positions as a ladder on which other women could climb to the top.

Ms. Kaba Wheeler applauded the YAWC initiative which embraces a mentorship programme to groom participants over specified periods of time.

In an opening remark, the Executive Director of ExLA Group, Mr. Daniel Osei Tuffuor expressed his gratitude to all guests and individuals who helped to institute the congress.

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He underscored the commitment of ExLA Group through YAWC to consciously nurture young women through a well-established network and mentorship programmes to ensure that African women are fully involved in the development of their continent as leaders. He also gave a hint about the post-YAWC projects that will be embarked on after the congress, adding that they would be based on resolutions that would be proffered from the 5-day residential congress.

Prof. Akosua Adomako Ampofo, Board Chair of ExLA Group and Lead Promoter for YAWC 2016 on the same pedestal gave a brief background to the Young African Women Congress while admonishing the efforts of all promoters and members of EGGP for ensuring that YAWC 2016 became a reality.

This was followed by short remarks by the UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative, Mrs. Christine Evans-Klock who touched on critical issues of women development on the continent with particular references to efforts of the UN and UNDP in the women empowerment agenda.

She stressed the need for women to get involved in formal leadership and governance and help formulate and implement policies which will secure their fellow women equal opportunities in the development agenda of Africa.

Members of the diplomatic corps present; H.E. Claudia Turbay Quintero, Colombian Ambassador to Ghana and H.E. Irene Vida Gala, Brazilian Ambassador to Ghana both delivered solidarity messages in support of the YAWC initiative. They also expressed their support and commitment to ensuring that the annual congress achieved its objectives.

Mrs. Angela Dwamena-Aboagye, Executive Director of ARK Foundation also led discussions on “Violence against Women and Girls” before participants left for their various groups to discuss specific areas of concern for women development.

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Other issues of interest discussed include “Assessing Women in Development; Post Beijing Conference In-Retrospect”, “Women and Reproductive Health Issues” with Dr. Bettina Ama Boohene-Andah, Medical Director of Brainwave Consult and Ms. Esther Armah, a broadcast journalist formerly of BBC and CNN all taking part in the discussion.

The various groups constituted at the congress identified specific problems, challenges and hindrances of women/girls development and advanced roadmaps for achieving some practicable targets.

These reports were presented to the Regional Advisor on Governance, Peace and Security for West and Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO) – UN Women, Ms. Comfort Lamptey who in turn expressed her gratitude and commitment to ensuring the support of her office to the various recommendations made in the reports.

 

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