The Samuel Amo Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility wing of the Tobinco Group of Companies, has appealed to the Government to provide support for widows in the country to protect their rights.
Mrs Harriet Asante, the Executive Director of the Foundation, who made the appeal, said widows remained one of the most vulnerable groups in the country as they continued to live in abject poverty, with the rights of several others being violated daily through outmoded cultural practices.
She said the protection of the rights of such persons, as well as their living conditions, must, therefore, not be belittled by the State.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sideline of an event organised by the Foundation to commemorate this year’s International Widow's Day in Accra, she urged the government to do more to alleviate the plight of widows.
The global theme for this year is, "Invisible Women, Invisible Problems."
The local theme is, “The Right of a Widow; The Industrious Woman Today.”
According to the United Nation’s (UN) estimate, there are around 258 million widows around the world and nearly one in every 10 widows lives in extreme poverty.
The COVID-19 pandemic, the UN said, had also added to the problem in many parts of the world as people lost their partners to the deadly virus.
Government in 2008, introduced the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) to provide support for extremely poor and vulnerable households to reduce poverty by increasing and smoothening consumption and promoting access to services and opportunities among the extremely poor and vulnerable, including widows.
Mrs Asante, while commending government for the policy, called for more social intervention programmes for widows to alleviate them from the economic hardship brought on them by such unfortunate and unplanned incidents.
“I think the government can do more, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection can do more. We give them LEAP but how much is the LEAP if there is a need for us to really appreciate for them to earn a living it’s very important.
“We also encourage other private institutions to come to their aid because the government cannot do all and we appreciate the little they do, churches can do more to help widows,” she urged.
The Foundation currently has over 300 widows it caters for, including Christians and Muslims.
Mrs Asante also urged non-profit organisations and philanthropists to assist widows to cushion the government’s support for such people.
Madam Betty Ayagiba, Founder of Widows and Orphans Movement, commended the Foundation for its continued support for widows and other vulnerable persons in society.
She, however, bemoaned the interference of politicians who normally allegedly interceded on behalf of perpetrators of human rights violations against widows, a situation she said was hampering the Movement in seeking justice for the widows.
“Politicians interfere with our work,” she said. “They protect the people who violate the rights of the widows and neglect the widows.”
The UN officially adopted June 23, as International Widow Day by its General Assembly on December 23, 2010.
Prior to that, the Day, it was observed since 2005 by the Loomba Foundation, which worked closely with children of widows in poor and developing countries and helped them to attend school.