Vulnerability is defined as women, orphans, and poor men, children in conflict with the law or any person prone to any act of insecurity. A person is considered vulnerable if he/she is and/or can be sub-projected to all forms of abuse. A person deprived of his/her basic rights and needs is also described as vulnerable.
The Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II) of Ghana defines a vulnerable person as one who does not reach his/her full potential and cannot contribute effectively to the economic growth and sustainable social development in a country.
Exclusion is the invariable penitence of vulnerability. That is the extreme form of vulnerability which later becomes a socially accepted concept leading to exclusion of the person involved termed as the excluded. Exclusion therefore leads to a social group referred to as “the marginalized and disadvantaged”. These conditions in society hinder these groups of people from participating in general development and therefore do not contribute to development but become spectators in the society. They are also neglected, in very important activities such as decision-making which would impact positively on their socio-economic wellbeing.
Vulnerable and Excluded Groups in the District
Vulnerability refers to the inability to withstand the effects of a hostile environment. A vulnerable person therefore is the one who does not reach his/her full potential and cannot contribute effectively to the economic growth and sustainable social development in a given environment. Thus the vulnerable are often excluded from very important activities such as decision-making which is expected to impact on their lives.
The table below presents identified vulnerable and excluded groups in the district and the effects of the vulnerability.
Types of Shocks and Risks Faced by Households in the District
Shocks and Risks can be said to be activities or situations that expose the vulnerable groups as children, women the elderly among others to emotional and physical stress or trauma. The risks and Shocks faced by households in the district ranges from natural events (which cannot be predicted and gives no warning for its occurrence) to man-made (that is conflicts, policy induced, terms of trade shocks, illness and death).
Agriculture being the mainstay of the District depends mainly on rainfall for production. The existence of the Volta Lake is not fully exploited for irrigation farming during the dry season. As a result the major shock and risk affecting food availability, incomes and wealth accumulation are those that relate mainly to crop, production and fishing. The economic activities that individuals and households are involved in also determine to a large extent the vulnerability they suffer in terms of income stability and asset loss in the District.
The main types of shocks affecting most households in the district relate to the areas of food insecurity, human insecurity and job insecurity.
In Pru, most of the shocks cited are related to production, since is a major agricultural area. These shocks may occur as a result of crop failure due to poor rains, flooding and bush fire, affecting harvest. This type of shock according to reports from District Poverty Profiling was reported by 30% of households. Also, farm produce like yam may be stored at the farms and at times are burnt into ashes by bushfires. In 2009 a total of 1,258 farmers reported this type of shock.
Price-related stocks were also cited. This was reported by the fishermen, farmers, transported operators among others. Due to the fluctuating prices of agricultural produce like maize, yam and cassava and inadequate storage and processing facilities, increased harvest usually end up in glut of produce and low prices. Also increases in fuel prices indirectly affect production cost which in turn affects the prices of goods and services especially transportation cost.
The unavailability of storage facilities in the Districts compels farmers to sell off their produce immediately after harvest for the fear of produce getting rotten, or any unforeseen hazards, when prices are low. The same farmers are forced to buy back the produce during the lean season, when prices are at their highest levels.
Other shocks and risks cited include illness, job loss and disability of income earner, loss of assets due to disease (death of livestock) or bushfire or theft/arm robbery on the highway conflicts resulting from chieftaincy disputes and insecurity of land tenure were also mentioned as shocks.
Due to the seasonal nature of agricultural production and the lack of other sources of income; apart from farm/fishing related generating opportunities, most of the youth in farming or those employed in this sector are virtually without work during a large part of the year. About 38 % of employees in the private sector and the self-employed have to gone through periods of inactiveness due to ill-health, infrequency in the demand for their services or the seasonal nature of their jobs.
Shocks and risks related to rain storms, flooding (especially those near to the lake), bush and domestic fires are reported events that affect houses including schools, community buildings and other individual property.
Coping Mechanisms / Strategies to Overcome Shocks
In view of the challenges resulting from the shocks and risks facing households in the district, a number of coping mechanisms are developed by people to enhance their livelihoods. Studies have revealed that households in the rural areas are more exposed to natural and agriculture-related shocks than those in the urban areas. In Pru, rural communities respond to shocks of this nature by selling their assets or livestock and informal insurance mechanisms. The non-poor that is those in the urban areas also use self-help mechanisms as well as market-based strategies like falling on personal savings and loans from the banks. The uses of the formal insurance mechanisms are not patronized. This may be due to the information on their existence in the district.
Persons Living in Disaster Prone Areas
A disaster is an event, which affects the lives of human beings, their properties, infrastructure and the environment. It destructs day to day life and renders affected communities unable to cope with day to day life. It increases the need for external assistance and has a causative agent which includes wind rain, blasts, bombs and accidents. It happens suddenly and gives no warning (NADMO Definition).
Some communities in the District have experienced disasters of many forms, natural and man-made disaster. The various disaster prone areas and the types of disaster that occurred there in the year 2009 are presented in the table below.
Programmes and Safety Nets put in Place for the Vulnerable and Excluded
The District recognizing the role of the vulnerable and excluded has designed programmes and safety nets to help them contribute effectively to the decision making process. These programmes and measures are geared towards the prevention of any forms of hardship. The programmes include the mass registration of the identified persons under the National Health Insurance Scheme, the increase in coverage of the LEAP and the establishment of cooperatives and welfare societies. Aside this, the social Security and the National insurance Trust pension schemes for the aged helps retired people to have some livelihood.
Similarly, a series of programmes like, sponsorship packages for the girl child, withdrawal of children in worst form of child labour, abuse, trafficking, appointment of more women into the Assembly, school feeding programme (improving the nutrition of vulnerable children), microfinance especially for women, conditional transfer (LEAP) among other related programmes are focused on improving the living conditions of the vulnerable. Detailed programmes are outlined in the composite programme of action of this document.
Gender analysis mainly centres on men, women, boys and girls in the society. It consist of the societal roles and responsibilities of men, women, boys and girls as well as power relations between the groupings. The analysis measures the extent to which gender gaps exist among issues such as opportunities, needs, rights, voices, participation, access to resources, control of resources and decision making. It provides information on the different roles of women and men at different levels; their respective access to and control over the material and non-material benefits of society; their priorities, needs and responsibilities. It shows the linkages between inequalities at different societal levels; needs assessment is a vital component of gender analysis. Needs analysis is a necessary step when identifying appropriate strategies for the promotion of gender equality.
The roles and responsibilities of men and women are based on the various activities performed by both in the society. Men?s and women?s activities are identified as either “reproductive” or “productive” types, and these activities reflect access to and control over income and resources in society. Under productive, women are often engaged in activities which offer them little remuneration. They are mostly involved in wage labour, subsistent farming, crafts and so on.
With regards to reproductive work, they are engaged in childbearing and rearing, domestic tasks that guarantee the maintenance and reproduction of the current and future work force, for example, cooking, cleaning and so on. They are also engaged in care and maintenance of the household and its members (bearing and caring for children, food preparation, water and fuel collection, shopping housekeeping and family health care). Works which are seldom considered „real work? and are usually unpaid are most at times the responsibilities of girls and women. As a result of this, women and girls have minimal access and control over resources like land, education, equipment, labour, cash from sales, extension services, training, agric inputs, irrigation, technology and credit.
On credit, both women and men have different credit needs for income generation and other expansion schemes. Women control money for small household items, but men control income for larger items; and they tend not to know about their rights in applying for loans in the communities. It is considered not feminine if women ask for credit. Men generally own land and other fixed capital. One needs to be able to read and write to fill the loan forms, and there tend to be more illiterate men than women. Women have low self-esteem and view men in lending institutions and also in NGOs as „superior?.
Development programmes and projects affect females and males differently and therefore it is important for development organizations to understand the cultural milieu of their project societies to ensure that their interventions produce equitable outcomes and impacts for females and males.
The gender distribution of the population shows that females account for 48 percent of the district population (2010 PHC, GSS), which translates into a sex ratio of 103.8, i.e., about 103 males to 100 females, i.e., females are about two percent less than males. In spite of the percentage of female in the district population, they have very low representation when compared to males in decision making institutions in the district. Females representation in the country such as traditional councils, district assemblies and parliament mainly occupy low positions of employment in the district.
In terms of traditional leadership, males dominate. For instance, all the two Traditional Councils are occupied by males while females are designated queen mothers. Also, majority of the subchiefs chiefs of the divisional and almost all their „Odikro? are males.
Regarding political representation at the national and local government levels, the district is largely represented by males. At the beginning of the implementation of the Fourth Republican Constitution in 1992, the Pru West Constituency has had males as members of parliament since its creation in 2012. While at the district assembly level female assembly members accounted for only 16 percent (Appointed) of the total number of 18 assembly members for the period 2017 – 2019. In terms of elected representation, out of the 12 elected assembly members in the 2015 district level election none of them were females. Out of the 6 Government Appointees only one is a female.
This means that 16 of government appointees and 5% of the General Assembly members are females. This shows that the electorates are not electing as many women as men or that women unlike men are not offering themselves for elections. Women therefore remain largely outside the decision making structures of the district. It is obvious that their concerns will not only be well articulated but will be considered one of the general issues that affect males and females and therefore solutions provided will be one fit for all which may lead to low impact on women.
Economically, females are greatly found in occupations such as agriculture, forestry, or fishing and service and sales, which are significantly found in the informal sector of the district economy and are characterized by low and unreliable incomes. According to the 2010 PHC results 53.6 percent of the employed female population 15 years and older are employed as agricultural, forestry or fishery workers while 19.1 percent are employed in manufacturing.
Females are also overburdened with their inherited traditional roles of reproduction, production and household chores, which increase their vulnerability. Gender dimensions should therefore be considered for all programmes and projects to ensure that women contribute meaningfully to the development processes in the district. The district will seek to increase the representation of women in decision making at the Assembly level and also provide alternative livelihood activities for women engaged in farming and micro and small scale business.
Societal Roles of Men, Women, Boys and Girls
Gender roles are basically the different tasks, responsibilities and expectations the society has defined and allocated to men, women, boys and girls. Generally, three (3) major gender roles can be identified; reproductive, productive and community management roles. These roles are not different from the roles identified in the District from the findings of a study undertaken by the DPCU.
Reproductive roles involve the care and maintenance of the household and its members including food preparation, water and fuel collection, shopping, housekeeping and family care. Reproductive roles include child bearing and rearing responsibilities for both men and women. However, women and girls perform the bulk of reproductive tasks considering its importance of human survival. This role is often time consuming, labor-intensive and places some limitations on women participation in other activities. The importance of this role cannot be down scored, therefore the need to design and deliver basic social services for women to facilitate the continuous play of this role.
Community management roles involve the collective organization of social events, maintaining family links, managing council resources, developing community infrastructure, making-decisions for the community and ensuring that the household support each other. Women ensure that basic resources are available for the household, including cooking, cleaning and healing. Maintaining cleanliness of the community, preparing places and foods for festivals, funerals and other communal events are assigned to women and children. This has been perceived to be an extension of domestic work. Women are responsible for allocating the limited resources, services and infrastructure to achieve optimal results. However, local political activities which involve participation in public decision-making in the district favors men compared to women.
Women, men, boys and girls are likely to be involved in all three broad areas of roles. In the district, however, women do almost all of the reproductive and much of the productive work. Any intervention in one area will affect the other areas. Women?s? work load can prevent them from participating in development projects. When they do participate, extra time spot farming, producing, training or meeting means less time for other tasks such as child care or food preparation. Table 1.28 below shows the defined societal roles and responsibilities, needs and interests of the various gender groups identified in the district.
Date Created : 2/6/2019 7:04:05 AM
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