The 9th National Widows Alliance Conference (NAWAC-2017) hosted thousands of widows from across Ghana to commemorate the United Nation’s International Widows Day.
The theme for this special event, an initiative of the Mama Zimbi Foundation (MZF) through its Widows Alliance Network (WANE) project for sustainable socio-economic development of widows in Ghana, was ‘Empowering Women for Greater Achievements’.
This annual event is meant for Ghana and Africa at large to appreciate the roles widows play as ambassadors of change in their communities.
It also served as the ideal dialogue platform for the advocacy of a comprehensive policy and legal direction for elevating the standards of widows in the country as well as.
This year’s event was held at the Ghana International Trade Fair Centre, La-Accra..
Activities at the conference included medical screening, talk on the need to abolish evil widowhood practices, talk on women empowerment, singing and dancing by widow groups and mini trade fair.
Some of the key personalities at the event were; Gifty Twum Ampofo, MP for Abuakwa North and Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection; Nana Ogyedom Tsetsewah I, Mankrado of Gomoa Oguan; Nana Oye Lithur, former Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection; Mr. Girmay Haile, Country Director, UNAIDS; Nana Tseasewaa III, Queenmother of Gwira Akyinim, Elmina; and Prophet Cephas Kpegah Tamakloe, Founder and General Overseer of Breaking Yoke Ministry International.
Others were Pastor Dr. Gabriel Nsiah of Valley View University, Prophetess Mrs. Vida Anyang, Founder and General Overseer of Solid Foundation Prayer Ministry International; Bishop Dr. Philip Kofi Boateng, Founder and General Overseer, Blessed Home Ministry Int. – Nhyira Fie; Pastor Roger Parkins, Odo Ahomaso Resource Person, Adom FM; Rev. Dr. Ebenezer Conduah, Founder and President, Leader of Learning To Marry Forever; Prince Anin-Agyei, Projects Director of MZF; and Mrs Elizabeth Nsiah, Board Chair of MZF.
Speaking at the event, the Founder and Executive Director of MZF, Akumaa Mama Zimbi, known in private life as Dr. Joyce Akumaa Dongotey-Padi stated that, “Women must stand up for other women no matter their belief or status especially, for the vulnerable and those in difficult situations like widows, teenage mothers, unemployed graduates, women in prison,  girls in child marriage and prostitutes…What unites us as women is greater than our differences…We are all faced with the same cultural and religious bias and challenges.”
She added that, the few women in leadership positions have the power to help other women and can make the difference by not fighting each other’s successes. “And it is true that not every widow is vulnerable or is subjected to evil widowhood practices, but our society can minimize the negatives and make vulnerable widows have a better life.”
Madam Gifty Twum Ampofo, speaking for Madam Otiko Afisah Djaba, who is the sector Minister, stated that, the Ministry will partner the MZF and make funds available to support widows to work and better their livelihood.
The Country Director of UNAIDS, Mr. Girmay Haile also promised their continuous partnership with MZF to fight against stigma and discrimination associated with HIV in Ghana.
Nana Oye Lithur also urged women to stop taking other women through weird widowhood practices.