The Nuisance Project- Young women speak peace to power is a 14 month Project which is being funded by STAR, Ghana.
The overall objective of this project is to provide a platform for young women to employ advocacy and public actions to increase accountability and responsiveness of key stakeholders for maintaining peace before, during and after elections 2012.
The Project specific objectives are:
ü To get leaders across Ghana’s society to commit to the importance of individual and collective action in maintaining peace and security for election 2012
ü To enhance the capacity of young women, such as our alumnae to engage in dialogue and action to ensure a credible issue based electoral process for election 2012.
ü To demand accountability through participation of political and party “heavy weights” in public actions which demonstrate a renewed, higher and common sense of purpose for the Ghana agenda and not the party agenda.
ü To bring to the fore, the role of women in preventing electoral violence and enhancing peace in the society.
ü To sensitize the general public on the dangers of conflict to women and children particularly and other vulnerable groups in society.
It is expected that the impact of the project will be felt across the country but would be run from the Ga West and Accra Central in the Greater Accra Region, East Akim Municipality and New Juaben Municipality in the Eastern Region and Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
Some of the activities for this project are:
ü A thousand leaders’ petition: This which will involve the drafting of a petition on the importance of all actors committing to peace. The aim is to get 1000 signatures from leaders from sectors and institutions which include political, religious, security, traditional authorities, activists, judiciary and Members of Parliament commit to ensuring peace.
ü Quiet peace vigils: These will be held in Accra and Koforidua and will involve women and other members of the public who will sing hymns and solemn songs to communicate the need for maintaining a violence free election.
ü Banner line hangings: Banners capturing messages from young women speaking peace will be hung at vantage locations in Accra, Kumasi and Koforidua.
ü Three - day War library photo exhibition: This will take place in Accra and will exhibit pictures depicting conflict zones and the effect of war on people. Speakers from Liberia and Ghana will speak about the need to maintain peace during the launch of the exhibition. There will also be free movie sessions for the public, each afternoon of the event.
ü Grandmothers speak peace documentary: This will capture messages from about 20 grandmothers who will speak on the need to maintain peace. This will then be broadcast on television.
ü Inter-generational women’s peace forum: These will take place in Accra and Kumasi and will bring together grandmothers, mothers and young women who will dialogue on issues of peace and its benefits to society. Their discussions will also touch on their expectations of various actors in the political and electioneering arena. These will then be captured in a communiqué and presented to the relevant actors.
ü “Azonto for peace” street dance competition: This involves capitalizing on the latest dance craze in Ghana called the “azonto”. Young females and males in areas which are identified as hot spots and vulnerable to conflict during elections will be brought together to engage in an azonto competition. Peace messages will be shared during this activity.
ü Polar Ball (dancing with political heavy weights): This ball which is a positive twist on the negative concept of polarization, will involve getting the political heavyweights from the different political ideologies and divides committing to dance for peace. Peace messages will be taken from the invitees.
Considering the impact of a non-peaceful environment on women, children and the vulnerable, it is envisaged that the activities to be executed, would challenge the public to question actions and messages aimed at encouraging division, festering differences and promoting violence as a means of ensuring democratic representation in Ghana. It is hoped that the heightened awareness on the high cost of civil strife and war which could result from election violence would encourage citizens to collectively work towards ensuring violence free elections in Ghana.
To this end, 30 young women have been trained and have committed some time off their busy schedules to help execute this project alongside their full time jobs.
The Ark is optimistic that the activities would bring about the dismantling of systems, and attitudes that dehumanize women, children and the disadvantaged. Through policy advocacy, public education and engagement with active civil society groups and members of the general public, it is hoped that members of the public will begin to understand the root causes of violence and the need to free society of attitudes, beliefs and practices that accept and perpetuate abuse and violence of all forms against all persons, particularly women and children.