Partial lockdown: ‘Take Steps to support vulnerable women’- Gender Ministry urged

The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) has been called upon to take steps to support vulnerable women, particularly women caught up in a situation beyond their control during this difficult times.

The passionate call was made by three Coalitions; namely Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT), Women’s Manifesto Coalition and DV Coaliation in a press release on COVID-19 interventions.

These Coalitions believe that, there is the need for authorities to immediately provide temporary shelter at designated places in the city with access to necessary amenities such as water and other sanitation facilities for these vulnerable people which includes kayayei and other homeless women and children during this lockdown period.

The Coalition in a press indicated that, “although COVID-19 interventions are essential, it must not further compromise the already precarious livelihood options available to the poor; as it stands, the women who have been returned, have become internally displaced persons (IDPs)”.

The groups as well called on the Ministry to work with all relevant sector Ministries to ensure that these women and children that were returned to Accra are tested and if negative, repatriated, since they want to go back to their respective communities.

These demands are in connection with the taking note of the plight of the over 80 women and children who were found on board two (2) cargo trucks on their way to Walewale to escape the untold hardship that the partial lockdown in Accra is likely to have on them.

These women, recognizing the difficulties that would arise from their lack of permanent shelter and the likely loss of income, apparently made strenuous efforts from Saturday, 28th March, 2020 to leave the city of Accra and got to as far as Ejisu in the Ashanti Region.

Despite their efforts, they were returned to Accra on Tuesday, the 31st of March, 2020, and it is unclear what steps the city authorities are taking to help them.

The 3 Coalitions note with concern that given the very short notice for people to observe the lockdown, the plight of the poor and vulnerable will be even more exacerbated as sources of meagre income would have been stopped practically overnight: the near absence of social safety nets means that this group of people will be faced with great hardships.

While it is commendable that the government and the security forces are working to ensure strict adherence to the lockdown measures, Government must immediately take steps to care for its defenseless citizens for whom the lockdown is manifesting as a punishment, an experience they are completely unprepared for and without any home they can’t safely stay in obedience to the lockdown declaration.

Source: Delali Gavor

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