#InternationalWomensDay | “Celebrate yourself” – Hafsat Sey Sumani

Story; Zakaria Abdul Hakim Cisse || Sanatu Zambang SDGs Live Report

The 2021 UN theme for International Women’s Day is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”, highlighting the impact that girls and women worldwide had as health care workers, caregivers, innovators, and community organizers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hajia Hafsat Sei talks IWD on Sanatu Zambang Breakfast live

On this year’s International Women Day special breakfast live session on Sanatu Zambang, we featured one of the women in Tamale who is actively involved in social development, gender activism and policy development.

Hajia Hafsat Sei Sumani is the Head of Programmes, Policy and Campaign at Norsaac with vast expertise in social work.

Hajia Hafsat during the discussion, highlighted the significance of celebrating the International Women Day. Specifically on the theme for this year, she said it is such a good theme which spans widely to different aspect of life.

This, she said mean; to choose to challenge anything that blocks you from doing what you are capable of and wish to do; to choose to challenge anything that maligns you in society, etc.

Many chose to celebrate the day by holding discussions on women in leadership and how they can achieve equality amidst COVID-19 in Ghana.

Even though the number of women in Ghana’s parliament has improved, we still want to push for better representation which is why Hajia Hafsat commended the theme for this year.

‘’ Sometimes we need to look at the environment. It is not just about putting the woman there. You want to help a woman. But you put her in a position where the executive committee members are all men and the woman is in the center. If there are five men in the executive committee and none of them believe women can do it. What do you think will happen, either she will be overshadowed or tagged?

Hajia Hafsat Sey Sumani

‘‘We shall extend to other public and private institutions. This will help in deriving policies that include women.’’ She emphasized.

She acknowledged that the journey has not been easy but going forward, we need to spark more discussions and implement actions towards women development.

She also celebrated colleague women who are doing their part in challenging the status quo while improving the lives of their local communities.

Hafsatu Sey Sumani holds a Master of Science in Local Economic Development as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Development Studies. She is currently the Head of Programme and Policy of NORSAAC, a local Ghanaian gender-based advocacy NGO.

Hafsatu is committed to women and young people’s empowerment and she has been involved in education and social work for the past 20 years. She is currently leading advocacy on the implementation of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in the Northern Region of Ghana.

‘’ If you put a woman in the midst of five men and none of them believe in the affirmative thing, they don’t believe in what we do, definitely, that woman will not succeed. That happened in the bus branding thing. Nobody looked at it from that angle.’’

Hafsatu Sey Sumani 

Norsaac which is also empowerment for change organization has empowered some of their beneficiaries like the young female parliament and young urban women to go to some of the communities that they work in to observe the day with the communities by educating them on menstrual hygiene. This was done in the form of durbars, meetings, and games.

With their advocacy work, Norsaac projects officers’ were involved in campaigns in the communities against the stigmatization of females during menstruation. Most females are stigmatized during menstruation.

This stigmatization comes with myths that put restrictions on the girl child. This restriction in one way or the other affects the schooling of the girls. One such case was recorded in the Tatali district where a girl misses 75 days of schooling in the year.

Norsaac over the past decade has worked with UNICEF, ActionAid, UNFPA, Plan Ghana International and other NGOs to educate and empower the girl child and women.

The organization has also work to end some bad cultural practices and stigmatization of girls and women that affect them in the realization of their dreams.

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