- Country: Berekuso, Eastern Region, Ghana
- Work for: Foundation for Grassroots Initiatives in Africa (GrassRootsAfrica)
- Role in #women2030: Gender expert
- Related SDGs: SDG 5, SDG 1, SDG 2, SDG 6, SDG 7, SDG 10, SDG 13, SDG 17
My name is Hawa Nibi Amenga-Etego. I am the Executive Director of Foundation for Grassroots Initiatives in Africa (GrassRootsAfrica) based in Accra, Ghana. We provide capacity building, research and advocacy in support of grassroots organizations. We work with women and gender-based organizations at the community level through capacity building and sensitization. We also work at the national level through networks and collaboration with other like-minded CSOs to influence policy through policy advocacy and monitor policy implementation. We work on environmental justice issues including: access to water and sanitation, climate change, clean energy access and governance from a gender and human rights perspective.
I am driven first and foremost by the quest for development, that is, right to development. This is borne out of the fact I come from one of the poorest region and the poorest districts in Ghana (Northern Region, Bunkpurugu Yunyoo District) when it comes to development issues. Growing up in Tamale, one of the major problems which I believed hindered development in the region has been access to clean water and sanitation. The region was a guinea worm endemic place; though, now it has been completely eradicated. I remember having to walk miles with other older women balancing big and heavy head pans on their heads in search of clean water. I also remember in secondary school, we had potable water delivered twice, sometimes three times a week by water tankers.
Most of the time, we relied on water from dug outs which we shared with animals (cattle). Cooking and extraction of groundnut oil and shea butter and production of groundnut cookies were all done using firewood and charcoal by most women in the region. Over the years some lands used for subsistence farming have lost their fertility reducing food production and these are the lands given to women for farming. Some rivers and streams have also virtually dried out and wells that were dug in the past have all dried up and unable to recharge.
All these among other reasons are why I do what I am doing. My passion is to fight for equal development, for climate and water justice as well as access to clean energy for women both in Northern Ghana and in the country as a whole. I believe that there cannot be any meaningful development without the full, inclusive and meaningful participation of women.
Photo credit: Annabelle Avril / WECF
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