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Developing a Community of Women’s Rights Advocates in Ghana

Photo by Yoel Winkler on Unsplash

Bringing over 13 years of experience in the field, WLRI alumna Lois Aduamoah-Addo expanded her ability to train others

For Lois Aduamoah-Addo of WiLDAF Ghana, working on women’s land rights issues has been the central focus of her career. Prior to joining the first cohort of the Women’s Land Rights Institute (WLRI), she leveraged her practical experience in the field to produce a documentary on how sociocultural norms affect women’s land rights and published four papers on various topics related to advancing women’s land rights using gender-sensitive land laws.

“Before beginning the course, I felt that I was a champion,” she smiled broadly. “But the knowledge that I gained from WLRI built on what I already knew, helped me expand my capacity, and advanced my own skills in developing organizational training programs.”

Since training with WLRI, Ms. Addo has incorporated many of the new ideas into the presentations and curriculum that she shares with others. “It has improved my presentations, definitely,” she noted. “Almost immediately after the course was completed, I had to train paralegals in my own organization. It was a five-week training program and I was one of the key resources for the final two weeks; I was able to integrate many of the new ideas and concepts that I had learned from WLRI into this training.”

She found the course’s explorations of the enforcement of land laws, program monitoring and evaluation, and intersectionality particularly useful. “Women are not a homogenous group, and planning for actions should include all different groups of women,” Ms. Addo explained. “Any interventions that we develop and implement must be sensitive to these differences, otherwise it will be difficult for women to engage with them.”

In Ms. Addo’s experience, the link between laws and development is very important in changing sociocultural norms and ensuring behavioral change. “We must use a rights-based approach in promoting this agenda,” she asserted. “In my organization, we seek to link law and development as we look at things from that perspective, but the law alone doesn’t always bring change. We have to take a broader view.”

Climate change is one of the pressing issues in her region, and Ms. Addo is particularly interested in ensuring that women are included in devising and implementing strategies to mitigate its effects, as well as promoting adaptation strategies for women leveraging women’s land rights. “Even though I have had so much experience in women’s land rights before taking the course, I found the resources, case studies, and the experiences of my colleagues in other regions incredibly helpful,” she shared.

Ms. Addo is currently one of the mentors of the International Land Coalition’s #Women4Women program. Many of the strategies that she learned in WLRI’s Foundations 101 course have not only been incredibly helpful to her mentee, she has also incorporated them into the program’s design and course strategy.

“One of my expectations of the course is that I will have the chance to meet with other WLRI alumni in the future,” she said. “Being able to network with and share ideas with my colleagues who are working on similar issues around the world is invaluable. I am so thankful to WLRI for the opportunity to increase my knowledge on women”s land rights.”

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