Though in several local communities the widow is forced to live under situations which can be easily categorised within servitude and modern slavery dimensions through which she is bound to face discriminatory widowhood practices and which becomes a major source that inflicts poverty on the poor woman and her orphaned children, still very limited community efforts are engaged to combat this development flaw.
- Can we say the local authorities or community people are ignorant of their silence and deeds or they are more comfortable to watch widows and innocent children suffer?
With the understanding that rural development expectations in the domain of food production depends mostly on the ceaseless efforts of rural women, these inhuman widowhood rites still deny them rights to own and possibly develop their late husbands’ property such as land.
- Can we say the men-only egoistic wills and greed to perpetrate such widowhood rites are geared to increase starvation and poverty on the weak or is it the dangerous illness of ignorance?
Times have changed, people should evolve get connected and be informed about the value of rights over rites. Gender equality and the contributive efforts of women towards sustainable development is a very pronounced agenda on a global, national and local level and thus:
- Why do we still need to protect customary values that out rightly deny the development rights of potential development agents such as rural widows?
- When such cruel practices are perpetrated within communities who are those with the responsibility to sanction the ills?
Knowing very well how greedy human nature can be and which makes it very difficult to completely stop surviving relatives from scheming to reap from where they never sowed or acquiring the left-over property of a defunct man from her surviving widow and orphaned children, there is obvious need to enact enforceable legal dispositions that protects the development rights vulnerable community widows. There is also need to create and train local community based ombudspersons’ groups which are networked with a wide range of international, national and local civil society and government partners. In the process to ascertain that all the potentials and development efforts of the majority of local women who are obviously widows are engaged in expected local development orientations:
- What is expected of the traditional rulers who rule such societies those chronic perpetrators of cruel widowhood rites?
- What is expected of the local government authorities that govern over the people and traditional rulers within the societies that perpetrate cruel widowhood rites?
- What is expected of partner civil society supporters of the rural woman’s development rights?
- What sort of strategic networking and influential support needs to be given to community ombudspersons’ groups that investigate, assess, solve and report recalcitrant situations of cruel widowhood rights infringements?
The author, Dr. Kelly NGYAH, within this literary piece, strives to explain and respond to some and more of these questions especially with respect to need to sustain the development potentials and needs of vulnerable community widows. The value of the rural widow, though while facing hardship is elevated and she gains enlightening insights towards effective solutions to her subsistence worries.
MAHSRA also indicates that it is presently undergoing a series of research works on gender equality intervention schemes and best ways for integrating pragmatic gender equality policy development and direct peace activity growth within local, national, intergovernmental, and international frameworks. And thus, is highly soliciting support from the public.
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