There have been considerable efforts by women to have chance in Ghanaian politics. Ghana Decides, a non-partisan project which aims to foster a better-informed electorate for free, fair and safe 2012 elections using social media tools took a personality profile look on parliamentary candidate Agnes Chigabatia.
She is a former member of parliament for the Builsa North Constituency in the Fourth Parliament of the Fourth Republic from 7 January 2005 to 7 January 2009. She was also a deputy Minister of the Upper East region from 2005 to January 2009.
Ghana Decides is an initiative under Blogging Ghana, a Ghanaian blogging community.
In the post by Ghana Decides she shares her story on why she took the step to participate in politics:
She says growing up in northern Ghana; she felt the plight of the people, especially the youth and rural women who needed a little push to make a difference in their homes and communities. With the resources at her disposal, she joined the Builsa Ladies Association in Accra and through hardwork, she was elected President of the association in 1995. In 2002, she established a division of the Builsa Ladies Association in Bolgatanga in the Upper East region. She also helped create the Top Ladies Association to bring together women from the Kasena/Nankana areas of northern Ghana.
She indicates in the post that:
In 1997 after floods destroyed a lot of homes in Builsa she organised a dinner party to help raise funds for the flood victims. She says the success of this project encouraged her to get into active party politics to help the people of the Upper West Region. In 2000, she joined the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and in 2004 she contested the Builsa North Constituency parliamentary seat and won. In 2005, she was appointed into the Gender and Children Committee in parliament and made deputy Minister of the Upper East region.
As a member of parliament and the Gender Committee, Agnes Chigabatia played an active role in getting the Domestic Violence Bill passed into law. She secured soft loans from the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs for women in her constituency to engage in trading activities to support their households.
She describes agriculture projects meant to empower women in her constituency:
After losing her seat in 2009, she has not stopped serving the people in her constituency. She is presently undertaking a project that is putting women in groups to engage in large scale farming in groundnuts, sorghum, millets, cowpea, rice, etc., as well as soap-making and other income generating skills.
Agnes Asangalisa Chigabatia is once again contesting the Builsa North parliamentary seat on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party. She strongly advocates a sheanut sector which is separate from the cocoa industry. With an ever growing cosmetics industry in Ghana, and the world, she believes that the creation of a separate sheanut sector, which is not overshadowed by cocoa, will generate a lot of income for the country and farmers.
She says her first project, when sworn into office, will be to use part of the MP’s Common Fund to expand the children’s ward of the district hospital in her constituency, which she says is too small to accommodate the growing population. According to her, if the mothers in every household in her constituency is empowered, the entire household benefits and the ripple effects is seen in the society as a whole.