Theatre for a Change has a long history in Ghana, starting life in Accra in 2003 and evolving quickly to work with a number of vulnerable and marginalised groups across the country. Today we carry out our work in Ghana directly through individual facilitators who implement focused community projects driven by the needs of our participants.
The Women of Dignity Alliance (WODA)
We are working with expert facilitator and Mandela Washington Fellow Susana Dartey, to establish a Network that provides economic empowerment and health education to female sex workers from the slum areas of Old Fadama, Railways and Jamestown. Each year we will work with a group of women who meet each week to take part in a saving group, and together develop the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to protect their sexual and reproductive health. As the women grow in confidence they begin the process of using interactive theatre to advocate for their rights and dignity to be respected and upheld by their communities and by duty bearers – such as the Police and health workers. These groups will become the bedrock of a newly created Women of Dignity Alliance (WODA), a Network offering support and solidarity to women in sex work across Accra.
In May 2016 we carried out an endline with our first two groups of women and we were pleased with the impact the project had made. In September 2016 we expanded the WODA with two new groups. This grassroots project, facilitated and owned by its participants is going from strength to strength.
In 2016 WODA facilitators reported on increased numbers of girls approaching them to ask to join the Network; they realised the girls were living in brothels and bars and being sexually exploited. As a result, WODA and Theatre for a Change commissioned an expert consultant to provide WODA staff and facilitators with training to understand best practise child protection approaches, and investigate the current situation with a range of stakeholders. The scoping report was published in 2017 and WODA will now work with the Ministry of Gender and others to ensure girls are protected.