Ghana on Monday joined the world to observe the World Humanitarian Day with an appeal to the government and organisations to show more commitment and support to women humanitarians.
Humanitarians are persons who respond to crises around the world by assisting people amidst conflict, disaster and displacement.
Mr Niyi Ojuolape, the United Nations Populations (UNFPA) representative to Ghana, made the call at a discussion session held in Accra to mark the day on the theme: ‘Women humanitarians, the achievements, challenges and the unfinished business, with regards to humanitarian solutions in Ghana.’
He said women humanitarians were uniquely positioned to reach and assist women and girls in difficult situations.
“Women humanitarians constitute a large percentage of frontline responders who risk their own lives to give hope and save the lives of others,” he said.
Mr Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, in a global speech to the world, said the presence of women made aid operations more effective and improved humanitarian response to gender-based violence, which increased during emergencies.
He urged world leaders and all parties to conflict, to ensure that humanitarians are protected from harm as required under the international law.
He pledged the UN’s support to all humanitarian workers around the world saying, “On world humanitarian day and every day, we stand up for humanitarian workers around the world”.
Mr Tetteh Padi, Programme Coordinator at the Ghana Refugee Board for his part stressed the need for humanitarians to be well trained with the skill to handle the psychological needs of refugees.
This will, according to him, help them work better and deliver efficient service to the refugees who are the persons of concern.
He said Ghana had about 8,000 refugees presently at the various refugee camps that have access to education through the free Senior High School policy and health care through the National Health Insurance Scheme.
He called on government and institutions to assist them with funding to carry out their mandate.
“Presently, on a daily basis, we are getting people coming from Cameroon but out camps are full and we have nowhere to put them, we do not have a transit or reception centre, which leaves us with no option but to leave them to live in the communities,” he said.
Madam Evelyn Borbor, National DOVVSU Director and a woman humanitarian, who shared her working experience with the Ghana News Agency, said women were often ignored in their line of work due to cultural beliefs and gender beliefs and women were perceived to be weak.
She encouraged women to be bold in taking up humanitarian roles and not be deterred by family roles.