Mother's Day is intended to be a day to celebrate motherhood. The Day has become widely accepted and celebrated in Ghana every year. Mothers’ Day is just a few days away and Ghanaians, like all others worldwide, are busily preparing to honour mothers in various ways.
There is something unique about this year’s Mothers’ Day celebration in Ghana – For the first time, the Northern Region Local Rights Programme (NRLRP) of ActionAid Ghana is celebrating Mothers’ Day with the excluded mothers and grandmothers accused of witchcraft in the Kukuo Camp – one of the six alleged witches camps in the Northern region of Ghana.
AAG and partners including Songtaba are mobilising the Ghanaian public to express love and empathy for all alleged witches in the six camps so as to give them (alleged witches) a sense of being loved, belonging and dignity.
The annual celebration is also meant by AAG to call for action by duty bearers (government, traditional and religious authorities) towards getting all alleged witches successfully reintegrated into their communities and all the witch camps disbanded. Additionally, the occasion will be used to call for a change in public perception on the phenomenon of witchcraft and its resultant stereotyping and rights violations.
As part of activities for the day, AAG, partners’ staff, the Nanumba South District Chief Executive and the youth of Kukuo community will be mobilized in a communal spirit to spend time with the alleged witches in the Kukuo camp, supporting them to re-thatch 30 of their leaking huts. This certainly will be a unique way of saying “Happy Mothers’ Day” to these excluded women.
This activity will be preceded by a short ceremony to share with the alleged witches in Kukuo the global concern and support for improvement in their situation. 400 photos and messages collected from Greek nationals will be read and shared with alleged witches in Ghana. These messages were gathered in March and April this year by ActionAid Hellas in solidarity with alleged witches in Ghana.
At the end of the day AAG and partners seek to achieve the following:
- To increase the self-esteem and self-worth in alleged witches in Kukuo
- To improve security and quality of life of the women through rehabilitation of huts
- To build a cadre of youth activists as campaigners against witchcraft allegations and the associated violence
- To call on government to meet the needs are we talking about the roadmap? of alleged witches in the camps, how about? “to remind duty bearers, including the MOWAC, about the demands made by the alleged witches and stakeholders in the communiqué issued in Dec 2011” and
- To reiterate calls for reintegration of alleged witches and disbandment of camps while spelling out the process leading to re-integration
ActionAid Ghana has been working with over a thousand alleged witches and their dependants, mostly children and grandchildren in all the witches’ camps camps in the Northern.
Initially ActionAid Ghana’s intervention work with these vulnerable women and children concentrated on providing for their immediate needs (shelter, food, health care), The scope however expanded to include building their rights awareness and consciousness and finally supporting them to organize and mobilize into a strong network, called Ti-gbubtaba, to fight their own cause.
The women through Ti-gbubtaba with support from AAG and partner Songtaba have advocated for government to increase support to the camps, as most residents (old and frail) are unable to work to cater for themselves. The women have in the process succeeded in lobbying the Nanumba North and South District Assemblies to register 426 of them and their dependants on the National Health Insurance Scheme and to support them with 60 bags of maize, providing them with free access to healthcare and improving their food security among others.