Tuesday, March 8, 2011

First ever Ghana Women of Excellence Awards 2011

While busily following proceedings of a Champions League match in which Barcelona ended Arsenal's interest, a friend on Twitter @nnenna was at the Accra International Conference Center for Ghana Women of Excellence Awards on the occasion of the International Women's day. This first edition was a major success. Through her tweets, several of them which I retweeted @Abocco - I present you the awardees of the First ever Ghana Women of ExcellenceAwards.

From the Facebook event - In Ghana, the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs has mandated that the Day should be commemorated with the Ghana Women of Excellence Awards Scheme. The theme for the Awards Scheme is “Empowering the Ghanaian Woman for National Development”, the primary objective of the Scheme is “to motivate Ghanaian women to strive for excellence in their various walks of life ...and to take their rightful places in the national development process”. The Awards Scheme will form part of the celebration in Ghana of International Women's Day.


Mrs Sohne, the mother of late Guido Sohne, attended the event along with the High Commissioner of Zimbabwe (a lady), and Indian Ambassador. It is in her honour that FOSSFA awards the Guido Sohne Fellowship. Nnenna is a FOSSFA member. The ceremony started with a prayer by a Lady reverend at 8pm. She began with "This is the day that the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it". Nnenna commented "Ghana begins everything with prayer". Reverend Amah Blay didn't mince words, sticking with the issue at hand by saying "Christ first liberated the woman". The Chair of the occasion was a man though - Hon Sampson Ahi, Chair of Parliament Committee on Gender and Children's Affairs. Top Brass Ghana (Isaac Darkwah & co) organised this for the Ministry of Women and Children's affairs. As per many of these events, a African traditional group performed wonderful traditional drumming and dancing- they're based at the Arts Centre. The event was graced by the First lady, Her Excellency Ernestina Naadu Mills.

As the first awardee was unable to come in person, the Minister of Women's and Children's Affairs, Honourable Juliana Azumah-Mensah proceeded to give her official speech. In Ghana, the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice, and the Speaker of the House are all women. The First Lady paid homage to great women who have contributed in nation building. On behalf of members of FOSSFA, Nnenna cngratulated Dorothy Gordon, the first and only Ghanaian lady to be honored in ICT and added "Open Source tops is all". She added Trail blazing is not easy. Congratulations. See Dorothy below holding her award.



Elizabeth Adjei is the first Ghana Immigration Service chief. A group of Ghana Immigration Service accompanied their boss. Gifty Afenyi-Dadzie was the first lady President of the Ghana Journalists Association. Lady journalists are upstanding while her citation was read. Professor Ama Atta-Aidoo is one of the earliest playwrights in Ghana and was honoured for culture and Literature. She is a playwright, dramaturge, poet, and professor. She wrote "The Girl who Can", amongst other books.

Josephine Amoah and Dr Mrs Stephanie Ansah were honoured in Insurance & Banking respectively. Grace Aryee is the only woman to be on the board of the Chamber of Mines in Africa. She is also very involved in ministry, routinely writing articles and pieces about it in Ghana's newspapers. Many of the women honored have strong society engagements and most have some form of Christian Ministry. Dr Joyce Asibey was the first female to sit for Cambridge Higher School Certificate Exam in West Africa and was honoured in Education. Dinah Ameley Ayensu, who also attended Wesley Girls High School, was honoured in Tourism. Wey Gey Hey, like it's affectionately called, has produced many important women in Ghana. Dinah started Fredina Tours, wrote an African cookbook and put Ghana tourism on the world map.

Charlotte Erekaar Azurago, the youngest awardee, is one of the best teachers in Ghana. Dr Grace Bediako is Ghana's Chief Statistician. Very Reverend Ama Afo Blay was the first female to be appointed Director General of the Ghana Education Service and doubles as Chair of Ghana Women for Peace. Anna Bossman, Deputy Commissioner at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) was honoured in Law and Order. Carlien Dorcas Bou-Chedid is one of the finest structural engineers in Ghana, as well as a software developer. Dr Eunice Brookman-Amissah, an Achimota School alum, was honoured in Health.

Mary Chinery-Heese was the first woman to head the UN ILO. Florence Abena Dolphyne, the original face of the National Science and Maths Quiz for secondary schools in Ghana, received an award in Education. She is Ghana's first female to have held almost all positions in university education. Elizabeth Dugble was honoured in Insurance. Efua Frimpomaa, who is still farming at 81!, was honoured in Agriculture. Nnenna added Farmers will never go out of style! Go mama!

Rose Aba Hart is Ghana's greatest all-round female athlete, winning many international medals and can still run at almost 70! The La Mantse, traditional ruler of the La area of Accra, conferred many awards. Nnenna tweeted "The greatest number of awards have been given to women in the domain of education. I am happy about that". Veronica Ayikwei Kofie received an award for contributing to the Labour Union development in Ghana. "Human Rights activist to the bone!". Judge Akua Kuenyehia is being honored for her role in Law and Order. She was represented by her children. Helena Lokko is one of Ghana's most foremost bankers.

From a couple of Nnenna's tweets, it seemed most of the women attended Aburi Girls, Wesley Girls, Achimota Girls, as well as Holy Child School, my mother's Alma Mater. Bepow so hann! Presec's sister/wife school is as great as Presec itself. :-) Gey Hey alum, Elizabeth Mills-Robertson, is Ghana's High Commissioner in Sierra Leone and was honoured in Law and Order. The first Ghanaian Zoologist, Dr Letitia Eva Takyibea Obeng, born in 1925, was honoured too. She is on a postage stamp! "Now, that is tres cool".

The only female Vice Chancellor (University of Cape Coast) in Ghana, Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang was honoured in education. Theresa Oppong-Berko of Manet was honoured. She built the house Nnenna lives in in Ghana. My friend, Sophia Ashiokai Quashie-Sam, the only female University Registrar (KNUST), was honoured for education. A lifelong learner, Augustine Quashigah, has been in business for almost 50 years. She dedicated her award to all grassroots traders. The first Ghanaian woman to qualify as a Computer Programmer and founder of Camelot, Elizabeth Joyce Villars, was honoured too. A foremost Architect, Theresa Afua Yankah, received an award too. That brought the awardees to 33 done. The last but not certainly not the least awardee was ..... "21-gun salute!" ... the first lady to achieve full Colonel rank in the Ghana military - The Rtd Colonel Faustina Cecilia Yeboah!

The full list of awardees were: Elizabeth Adjei - National Security. Gifty Afenyi-Dadzie - Media. Ama Ata Aidoo - Literature. Josephine Jennifer Amoah - Insurance. Stephanie Baeta Ansah - Banking. Rosalind Aryee - Mining. Joyce Assibey - Education. Dinah Naa Ayensu - Tourism. Florence Abena Dolphyne - Education. Elizabeth Dugble - Insurance. Matilda Esi - Land. Eunice Brookman Amissah - Health. Mary Chinery-Heese - Public/International Service. Ama Afo Blay - Education. Anna Bossman - Law and Order. Carlien Chedid - Building. Charlotte Erekaar Azurago - Education. Grace Afua Bediako - Statistics.

Others were: Elizabeth Mills-Robertson - Law and Order. Letitia Takyibea Oben - Science + Tech. Veronica Ayikwei Kofie - Labour. Akua Kuenyehia - Law and Order. Helen Lokko - Banking. Efua Frompomaa - Agriculture. Dorothy Gordon - ICT. Rose Aba Hart - Sports. Melanie Kasise - Tourism. Jane Opoku-Agyemang - Education. Theresa Oppong-Beeko - Estate development. Sophia Ashiokai Quarshie-Sam - Education. Augustine Quashigah - Commerce. Joyce Villars - Manufacturing. Theresa A Yankah - Building. Faustina Cecilia Yeboah - Health.

Nnenna also tweeted during the ceremony :-) OMG, Arsenal is getting a lashing... no wonder I am no longer being personally updated. Aie aie aie. Guess she had an interest in the football game like we did. We didn't need her to be updated, we needed her to share the spectacular news coming out of the Accra International Conference Centre. Now waiting for the Ghanaian and international media to follow Nnenna's lead. Check out pictures from the event

Kudos to all these women and more #VIM to all Ghanaian women excelling everywhere! Major shoutouts to Estelle Sowah (Country Director of Google Ghana), Leila Djansi (movie director), and Farida Bedwei, who my friend @ttaaggooee blogged about today.
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