The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, on Monday, organised a programme to mark this year’s Mother’s Day, which is observed annually on the second Sunday of May.
Participants included some Directors from the Ministries of Gender, as well as, Information, representatives of Civil Society Organisations (CSO), including the Greater Accra Regional Markets Association and the media.
The programme, which is also the first of its kind to be held by the Gender Ministry to commemorate the Day, featured a panel discussion on the theme: “The Role of Mothers in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms Cynthia Maamle Morrison, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, acknowledged the tremendous roles that mothers play in the psychosocial, and holistic development of every individual.
She said their invaluable contributions towards the sustenance of humanity at all levels, could not go unnoticed, hence the special Day set aside each year to acknowledge these efforts.
The Gender Minister first acknowledged the great motherly roles being played by both the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, and Mrs Samira Bawumia, the Second Lady of the Republic of Ghana and wished them “Ayekoo”.
She also commended all mothers who are farmers, traders, teachers and particularly those with children with disabilities, and those who have become single parents by no choice of theirs.
Ms Morrison said due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant restrictions, they could not have other programmes at the regional levels, hence the innovation, which perfectly allowed for greater discussions on the selected topic of national interest, and that this would be replicated in the regions hopefully in the ensuing years.
The panelists, during the discussions, looked at some of the challenges that confronted mothers in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they had been coping with these situation, and made suggestions.
Ms Mercy Mainoo, a representative from the Network for Women’s Rights (NETRIGHT), CSO, applauded all women for the skillful ways in which they have managed their families since the outbreak of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown and restrictions.
She said the challenges have been enormous, particularly for those who had huge financial challenges and lacked support for the upkeep of their children who were currently at home, while they were away at work.
She said issues such as feeding, water and electricity were also of major concern to mothers, especially for those with growing children, because they needed to properly regulate the use of these utilities to prevent any additional cost.
Mrs Roberta Okyere-Darko, the Representative of ROD Foundation, a Non- Governmental Organisation, and also a member of the panel, said the world has entered into a new phase with the COVID-19 pandemic, and this required new parental skills and approaches.
She said effective communication has become a key tool that mothers must explore to keep their children safe and also involved in all the efforts been made to stop the spread of the virus.
She said mothers with younger or disabled kids, formed support systems involving their neighbors or relatives who live close by, to have oversight on their children when they had to step out of the house for a while or go to work.
Mrs Okyere-Darko also appealed to Gender Ministry to liaise with other organisations to facilitate access to the acquisition of funding from the 600 million cedis stimulus package by mothers who operated petty businesses for expansion to support their families.
Mr Pius Enam Hadzide, the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Information, assured Ghanaian women of the commitment of Government to stand by them throughout the difficult period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the President’s relief on utility tariffs and the introduction of the 600 million stimulus package to small scale businesses are important steps to ease the burden on Ghanaians.
He also spoke about the various social protection interventions in place such as the Free Senior High School and School Feeding, as greater support to allow for the enrollment of more females into formal education.
Mr Hadzide said government would also continue to increase the number of women ministerial appointees to allow women into the decision-making circles.
A cake was later cut by the Gender Minister supported by the Directors and invited guests, to mark the Day.