The vulnerable and excluded people in society have always been disadvantaged. The Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS 4) defines the extreme poor as those whose standard of living is insufficient to meet their basic nutritional requirements even if they devoted their entire consumption budget to food.
The following categories of people are considered to be in the poor, vulnerable and excluded group in the Municipality.
- Some rural agricultural producers: - Rural agricultural producers, particularly migrant farm hands, settlers and food crop farmers in the district are extremely poor.
- Children in difficult circumstances:- including the quarter of children under five who are malnourished, victims of child labour, street children, children of school going age who are not in school, who have dropped out of primary school, and children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.
- People living with HIV/AIDS, including infected persons and families of people living with HIV/AIDS.
- People in displaced communities, particularly due to mining activities.
- Disadvantaged women, particularly single mothers, malnourished rural pregnant and nursing mothers, teenage mothers, and commercial sex workers.
Others include the elderly who have no access to family care and pension, Physically-challenged persons, particularly those with no employable skills, People suffering from chronic diseases, including victims of debilitating diseases such as tuberculosis, trachoma, bilharzias and breast cancer, Drug Addicts, Victims of abuse, particularly children and women suffering from sexual abuse and battery, Victims of harmful traditional practices, especially victims of harmful widowhood rites, early marriage, servitude, fosterage and perceived witchcraft and unemployed, especially unskilled retrenched workers and the unemployed youth.
From the above definitions, there is the need to develop policies to cover the people in such categories, by the District Assemblies and NGOs.
i. Categorization of the Vulnerable and Excluded Groups
The socio-economic survey conducted revealed the following categories of the people to be vulnerable and excluded within the district as indicated in table 39.
ii. Nature of vulnerability and excluded.
- There is discrimination between the vulnerable group and the non-vulnerable group e.g. the views of the women and children are not considered at public meetings during decision making
- Women are mostly assaulted by men. 13.8% of the problems faced by the group are assault cases.
- Child abuse is rampant example; children are used invariably as income earners for the families. 19% of the reported problems faced by the group were on child abuse.
- Streetism is also very notable in the Municipality. 67.2% of the reported cases made to the social welfare was on streetism.
Some advocacy programmes have been undertaken in the district to sensitize people on the dangers of, and need to ensure that these groups of people are made part of the community. Below are some of the initiatives that are being undertaken:
Though women play important role in the rural economy, they are discriminated against by society when it comes to decision-making, formal education as well as employment in the Municipality. They still suffer vulnerability and exclusion.
For instance, there is low representation of women at the District Level. There is high illiteracy rate among women in the Municipality and this has affected their chances of being employed in the formal sector – an indication of poverty and vulnerability. The perception of the society towards women is also a major factor contributing to women discrimination in the Municipality. Generally, women in the Municipality are not empowered to be involved in decision-making and other issues that affect them. This situation has serious implication for women welfare and general development of the Municipality.
HIV AND AIDS
The Human Immuno-defiency Virus (HIV) and the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) pandemic is a major source of worry to the country in general and the Municipality in particular.
Even though it is not among the top ten diseases in the Municipality, its incidence in the Municipality is on the increase. In view of this, the Municipal Assembly in collaboration with Ghana Health Service (GHS) put in place a framework to manage the spread of the infection. The District AIDS Committee (DAC) is set up to co-ordinate all HIV/AIDS activities in the district.
The Municipality Hospital at Biniani has the state of the art facility for counselling and testing. There is also a trained counsellor who is responsible for the provision of both pre- and post-test counselling services to clients.
The Municipality has NGOs which receive funding from Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC). These NGOs and DA undertake a number of activities in the communities including public education on HIV/AIDS, condom distribution, mobile counselling and testing services and follow-up on clients who test positive for the virus.
The Municipality Hospital at Biniani has the mandate to screen all pregnant women who visit the centre for ante-natal services. This is to ensure that pregnant women who test positive are provided with anti-retroviral drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission. (PMTCT).
The Municipality has limited number of commercial sex workers. These workers are floaters who came to the Municipality during the main cocoa season. It is extremely difficult to provide services to these sex workers since they do not stay in one location for a long time.
The incidence of HIV/AIDS is quite prevalent in the 15-39 years age group. This is expected since they are sexually active. The incidence of HIV/AIDS in the Municipality from 2009 to 2013 is indicated in the table 41.
However, report from the Ghana Health Service still indicated that more people were testing positive in the Municipality particularly 2013 compared to the previous years.
Currently, available data from 2009 to 2013 keeps on fluctuating as depicted in Table 41.
Other sexually transmitted infections that are reported at the Health Centres are syphilis, gonorrhoea, vaginal discharge, candidiasis, vagina warts, sores on penis and swollen scrotum. The development implication is that the active labour force of the population between ages 15-39 who are infected mostly will negatively affect productivity and production capacity of the Municipality.
Gender is a social construct specifying the socially and culturally prescribed roles that men and women as well as boys and girls are to follow. According to the 2010 Population and Housing Census, males constitute 49.4% and females 50.6% of the total population of 123,272 in the Municipality. This is not in contrast to the national population where males and females constitute 48.8% and 51.2% respectively
Women continue to have lower status in the Municipality than men. In the past, women were considered to be more suited towards child bearing and child rearing while men were more inclined towards the ‘public areas’ of work and finance. Though this trend is changing, women, especially after the birth of the first child, continue to perform most of the housework and care giving in their families despite working outside of the home in record numbers. Men on the other hand continue to define their primary role as economic providers of their families.
As the society is moving predominantly towards a market economy, money has become the main currency. In view of this, the number of mothers entering the labour force is increasing every year and mush more mothers with pre-school children are increasing. Since women are forced into the labour market, the gender roles have changed considerably.
Women contribution in the family budget have made men somewhat changed their attitude and help with domestic chores. The invisible work of women still remains the same and is largely unrecognised and undervalued.
In terms of education, the number of boys is quite higher than girls. Boys in school continue to perform better than girls. In the 2014 BECE, 1,335 boys passed representing 46.59% whilst 1,090 girls representing 37.86% passed. There is therefore the need for the major stakeholders to put in place interventions that will help the girl-child to improve her performance. Most girls who complete their basic education but are unable to further their education are engaged as apprentices in hairdressing and dressmaking. Others are engaged in petty trading.
Table 42 identifies the gender participation in the basic educational level for two academic years for the Municipality.
In decision making, the participation of women continues to be marginal. With respect to the composition of the Municipal Assembly, out of a total of 52 members, only 7 are females representing 13.46%. For further details, the situation is very serious because out of the 36 elected Assembly members, only 1 elected female member in Humjibre Electoral Area. There are many sub-committees without female representation as well as the unit committee levels in the local communities.
The voice of women are therefore not heard at the highest decision making body in the district. There is only one female who is the head of a decentralised department. All the other heads of departments are males. In the Central Administration, all the female employees with the exception of one are all junior staff. There is therefore the need for feminist advocacy groups to intensify their campaigns on women empowerment.
In terms of power, men possess more power than women and as such men control greater proportion of the economic resources like cocoa farms, arable land, income, etc, etc.
Differences in power between men and women are institutionalised by culture and are expressed in the everyday relations of men and women particularly in families. Even among couples where wives earn more than their husbands, women still maintained most of the responsibilities for the household. Further, many women deliberately make an effort to protect their masculinity by working to appear that their husbands are in control. In the district, about 76% of the working populations are farmers-either full time or part time. Since men are in control, they take virtually all decisions with respect to land acquisition, technology adoption, credit acquisition and marketing of farm produce.
With the liberalisation of the media landscape, both men and women have almost equal access to information. However, men enjoy more leisure than women. Some even claim that leisure time is not necessary for a wife and mother.
Finally, the reliance on traditional gender roles continues to serve as a legitimate basis for the distribution of rights, power, privileges and responsibility in families and societies
The implication of the gender disparity against women at all level in the Municipality continues to negatively affect their welfare and total development in the Municipality. The Municipality must take Affirmative actions to bridge gap between men and women, boys and girls if not equal levels, but close to ensure equal participation and balance development.
Date Created : 11/19/2017 4:02:12 AM