According to Wiego (2020), women outnumber men in the labour force of Ghana representing 54% of the workforce. However, Ghana’s workforce is predominantly informal with informal employment representing 89% of the labour force nationally with women dominating the informal sector as well. A significant number of women in the informal sector are also market women as compared to the men informal workers at the market centres.
According to the World Economic Forum (2022), Ghana generates approximately 840,000 tonnes of plastic waste per year and approximately 9.5% of that is collected for recycling with a significant amount of plastic waste ending up in the oceans. It is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the seas. Away from the impact of plastic waste on the marine spaces, a significant number of plastic used in Ghana are non-biodegradable with a lot ending up on poorly regulated landfills and drains.
FXB USA is committed to addressing sustainable development and the FXB Climate Advocates program aims to equip young people all over the world with the knowledge and advocacy tools by informing, empowering and mobilizing the youth to address climate crisis through the climate story workshop, climate change immersion, and advocacy tracks focusing on health, sustainable consumption, or energy facilitated by experts across the globe.
Miss Mercedes N.Y.E. Rowe Asamani, who is the Co-Chair of the Climate Working Group of the All-Africa Students Union, the Founder and President of the Institute for Inclusive Development, an NGO into climate activism, gender equality, promoting quality and accessible education as well as youth leadership development as well as a Researcher as part of her participation in the FXB Climate Advocates program and the fulfillment of the requirements to gain her certification, embarked on a project to educate market people at the Madina market on their contribution to minimizing plastic waste and also sensitize them on the consequences of such non-biodegradable plastic on the environment. A lot of times, these people are left out on the conversations on plastic waste and climate change in general despite their significant numbers and contributions to climate issues.
Not only were they sensitized, they were also educated on the alternatives they could use. The team was particularly impressed by their knowledge on this especially when some recounted what used to be the case where the alternatives we are presenting today used to be what was in vogue some decades back. These women were advised that we altogether go back to what was the case where we used woven baskets, sack bags, old news papers and brown papers, and other better alternatives while we push for government policies around these.
One observation that was made was that because the non-biodegradable black polythene bags are given out for free, majority of shoppers prefer that to buying the sack bags.
There are a lot of anthropogenic activities that result in climate crisis and with some sensitization and the involvement of the media in educating the masses coupled with state policies and an attitude change, our world will get better. It is my hope that projects of these types are taken up by the youth.
Miss Mercedes who recently graduated from the FXB Climate Advocates Program is calling on CSOs and NGOs in the Climate space to ensure inclusion in their quest to educate the masses on climate issues leaving no one behind particularly those in the informal sector and women in general.
Miss Mercedes Nana Yaa Egyiriba Rowe Asamani is an Author, an international speaker, a researcher, an Entrepreneur, a Climate and Sustainable Energy Transitions Advocate, and Policy Analyst. She is also the Co-Chair of the Climate Working Group of the All-Africa Students Union as well as the Political and Social Affairs Officer of the All-Africa Students Union and the Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Development-Ghana. She’s a former National General Secretary of the National Union of Ghana Students, a former Secretary to the Africa and Europe Committee of the Commonwealth Youth Council, a YALI Alumni and a semi-finalist of the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship. She’s also a gender and youth leadership development activist.