To others, women empowerment is only providing women with the opportunity to be economically and financially independent. But to Lokhanda, in addition to the above, empowering women includes equipping them with quick and effective safety awareness and self-defence skills.
As part of this year’s Women’s Health Fair, the Department of Theatre Arts-University of Ghana supported by the Global Arts and Development Centre (GADEC) on the 21st April 2018 partnered Lokhanda, one of Africa’s leading self-defense organization to empower women students end campus sexual assault. The Women’s Health Fair is a development communications event dedicated to women’s right and sexual reproductive health in Ghana.
Experts from Lokhanda lead by Mr Lord Kwadjo Andoh at the E.T.S Drama studio initially took participants through rigorous functional exercises to help increase their strength, endurance, burn calories and also enhance their cardiovascular health and physical performance. The Lokhanda team present included Maclean Eli “fitness Instructor” and Sani Mahama an “Executive member.
Immediately after, the self-defence training workshop taught young girls’ day-to-day safety awareness and simple quick physical self-defence skills if necessary to fight off attackers to minimize their chances of being victims to sexual assault in or outside the campus. The training saw about 60 women participants go through real-life scenario training to avoid, prevent or survive against sexual assault using their voice to yell, speak out and bodies to set and enforce their physical safety boundaries. Also, about 10 male students learnt about healthy sexual relationships, consent and positive peer influence. The students were encouraged to be confident and also responsible for their own safety while they end habits that could endanger their safety such as walking with headphones, texting while walking or driving and also not walking in groups at night or after dawn studies and many more.
A large number of girls OdarteyGh spoke with at the end of the training expressed that the “Lokhanda Women Self-defense program is a lifesaver and has had a real-life impact in their lives especially helping them believe in themselves and building confidence to protect themselves in a fun and positive way while increasing their sense of personal power”.
According to the Founder and Executive Director of Lokhanda, Mr Andoh stated that girls who get sexually assaulted are no more a statistics but they live amongst us and are only seen but never heard, so they live in fear and stigma with little or no hopes for their safety or right as women. Therefore he calls on Government and other stakeholders to support their little efforts as a non-governmental organization to help empower more girls and women especially the underprivileged through their awareness campaign and workshops to curb sexual assault and other gender-based violence in the country, Ghana.
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