The First Ladies of Ghana do take on projects when their husbands, the presidents take office. Here are some achievements of Ghana's First Ladies in the 4th Republic.
Right from former president Jerry John Rawlings to the current Nana Akufo-Addo government, the First Ladies have played major roles for the voiceless and needy in the society. But some have sacrificed a lot more than others.
Here is a rating of their achievements in the fourth republic.
Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings came into the political limelight when her husband became Head of State briefly in 1979 and then from 1981 to 2001. She has been the president of the 31st December Women's Movement since 1982 to date. The Movement helps to reduce fertility rates among adolescent girls in Ghana. It also makes education more inclusive, especially in the rural areas and urban slums. Again, through the Movement, many women in rural Ghana were given the opportunity to start small scale industries as they were given microloans to work with.
What is more, the wife of the former president Jerry Rawlings, through her Movement, played a crucial role in the adoption of an “Intestate Succession Law,” which provides a standard of inheritance for survivors of anyone dying without a will. Konadu’s tireless work to uplift women from poverty in Africa has since been recognised by many nongovernmental organisations and governments across the world.
It is still early days but the current First Lady of Ghana, Rebecca Akufo-Addo has already begun a #SAVEACHILDSAVEAMOTHER project to build a new mother and baby unit at the Komfo Anokye teaching hospital in the Ashanti region. At a fundraising event, the First Lady raised an amount of GHS 7,695,444 in cash, cheques and pledges. The project comes on the back of records that show that a newborn baby dies every fifteen minutes with four babies dying every hour at the country’s biggest referral hospital in Kumasi.
The unit which is expected to be constructed within three months will help to reduce congestion and current deaths reported daily at the facility by 60-80%. The project is laudable considering the country is still far behind in terms of combating maternal mortality rate recorded especially in the three regions of the north.
The former First Lady is the wife of the second President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana. She occupied the Office of the First Lady for eight years but she still maintained a low profile. She further used her position in 2007 to push for policy changes in the Government's white paper on Educational Reforms towards the implementation of UNESCO's Free compulsory universal basic education (FCUBE) program for children in kindergarten. She is the brain behind the Mother and Child Community Development Foundation (MCCDF), a non-governmental organisation operating in Ghana and Canada that supports vulnerable and disadvantaged mothers and their children in Ghana.
The wife of the immediate past president, John Mahama during her tenure as First Lady received recognition from development partners and organizations in the US for her philanthropic work through the Lordina Foundation. She also helped social policy interventions such as the development of deprived children and women in both rural and urban areas of Ghana. Through her Foundation, many orphanages and persons living with HIV/AIDS have received support. Her Foundation has also provided support for brilliant but needy students, promoted women's empowerment through entrepreneurship and advocacy on cervical and breast cancer prevention and treatment.
The wife of the late president, John Evans Atta Mills during her reign as First Lady ensured that the country was committed to ensuring women empowerment for national development.
Through her community-based organisation, Foundation for Child Education (FCE), Mrs Mills was able to bring quality education to children in deprived communities. She believed that children should not be denied the right to education as a result of the poor conditions in which they lived.
** Research for this article was based on findings from the online coverage of their projects (Internet).