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Catch them young: the young female parliament in northern Ghana (PLA 64)

Catch them young: the young female parliament in northern Ghana (PLA 64)
Edward A. J Akapire, Alhassan Mohammed Awal and Rahinatu Fuseini

Women in northern Ghana are underrepresented in decision-making at all levels. This is due to patriarchal cultural systems and a lack of appropriate skills and low self esteem among women. The young female parliament (YFP), designed by ActionAid Ghana (AAG) and the Northern Sector Action on Awareness Centre (NORSAAC) seeks to provide space for young women to acquire the necessary skills and confidence to engage in participatory governance. It also links AAG’s work in promoting girls’ education with its work on women’s participation in decision-making. This article explores why young women and girls in northern Ghana should be engaging in participatory governance – and why they require safe spaces in which to build their confidence. It presents how the YFP was established, discusses challenges and prospects and considers how appropriate the space has been. It then shares lessons learnt with practitioners, governments and civil society in adopting a female-only structure to enhance young women’s participation in governance processes.

Participatory Learning and Action (PLA, formerly PLA Notes) is the world's leading series on participatory approaches and methods. PLA publishes articles on participation aimed at practitioners, researchers, academics and activists. All articles are peer-reviewed by an international editorial board. See: www.planotes.org

Keywords: Children, youth, young people, child rights, participatory governance.

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