H. E. Hajia Mrs. Samira Bawumia, Second Lady of Ghana, has called for a clear focus on women participation in the fight against Climate Change at the Africa Women and Children Conference (AFRIWOCC) pre-COP28 Climate Forum at the prestigious Harvard University, in Cambridge-Massachusetts, USA. As Chair and Convener for AFRIWOCC, Mrs. Bawumia stressed the need to step up efforts aimed at combatting climate change and mitigating its impacts, particularly on women and children.
AFRIWOCC is a biennial high-level conference, which brings together global experts to deliberate on issues related to women and children within the African continent. The maiden edition, convened this year, under the theme: “Amplifying the Voices of Women and Children in Climate Action” served as a nuanced engagement platform for climate issues and their impacts. It was framed as a conversation to elicit responses from some of the leading actors in the areas of climate, environment, natural resources, agriculture, and energy.
Mrs Bawumia who doubles as a Global Ambassador for the United Nations’ foundation, Clean Cooking Alliance and the World Health Organisation’s Health and Energy Platform for Action (HEPA), highlighted the underrepresentation of women in the energy sectors. She asserted that the International Renewable Energy Agency puts women at a paltry 32% of the workforce in renewable energy sectors.
Addressing the forum, the Second Lady further asserted that, the United Nations estimates that 80% of people displaced by climate change threats, such as severe drought, extreme heat and sea level rise are women. This, therefore, makes them disproportionately affected. She, therefore, calls on financial institutions to focus on financing women, especially in the green sector. This, she believes, will contribute to gender-responsive and children-sensitive solutions to climate change.
Other speakers include Dr. Gloria Y.A. Ayee, an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, and a Lecturer at the Harvard Extension School. Dr. Ayee is also a Senior Fellow with the IARA Project at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School, and a faculty associate with the Carr Center for Human Rights at the Harvard Kennedy School. This pre-COP forum sets the tone for a strong AFRIWOCC showing at this year’s COP28 happening in Dubai-United Arab Emirates, in December.
Mrs Bawumia has relentlessly advocated for the wellbeing of women and children, over the years, through her not-for-profit organisation, the Samira Empowerment and Humanitarian Projects (SEHP). Through SEHP, she has supported about eight thousand (8,000) pregnant women in the East Gonja Municipality, North East Gonja and Saboba Districts of Ghana with essential birth kits to prevent maternal and neonatal mortalities.
Additionally, SEHP has trained about thousand six hundred (1,600) women in Wa, Walewale, Gushiegu and Chiana Paga in the Upper West, North East, Northern and Upper East regions in quality shea picking and processing. SEHP has supported many children and women in the areas of education, empowerment and health. Mrs. Bawumia, was named the first of seven global honourees by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll), in partnership with Ashden, This was in recognition of her contribution towards mobilising action for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7; the call for universal access to modern reliable, renewable and affordable energy for all by 2030. She also received the Humanitarian Award by the Atlanta City Council for her tireless work on the many issues that affect families across the globe.