Meeting the Grassroots Sisterhood in Tamale, Ghana

Rosie Martin, CEO, writes from her recent trip to Ghana

“Whilst visiting Ghana I spent the day with Fati Alhassan, frankly an amazing woman who has founded the equally amazing Grassroots Sisterhood Foundation. Dissatisfied with her previous employment at a media outlet where she felt unable to put her ideas in to practice, Fati left to work with women in the northern region of Ghana around its capital, Tamale. Land rights are a growing issue for women; basically, they don’t own any, and don’t have much access to farm land. If they do have access, its generally infertile land and they don’t have security of tenure; it can be taken away from them at any time. Land is held in trust by local Chiefs who, when petitioned, allocate plots of land….to men. Women don’t get a look in. Lack of inheritance rights means if your husband dies the woman finds herself homeless as the house and land get passed to a male relative.

Enter the Grassroots Sisterhood. By making women aware of their land rights the organisation is transforming women’s lives. Women, empowered with such knowledge are beginning to petition their Chiefs for security of tenure for their household plots. This is of extreme importance. Growing urbanisation means that the city ofTamaleis coming out to meet their villages and speculators are making deals with Chiefs and land is fast disappearing. The longer they wait, the more land is in the hands of outsiders.

Assisted by the Grassroots Sisterhood, women proudly showed me their papers indicating their very own plots of land, and which affords them some measure of security in an ever increasingly uncertain world.”