The Widows Alliance Network (WANE) project for sustainable economic development of widows which is one of the projects under Mama Zimbi Foundation (MZF) aims at emancipating Ghanaian widows from the social, cultural and economic difficulties brought about by the injustices they face because of their status. Through WANE, over 400 widow groupings have been formed in Ghana with membership swelling to over 8,000 nationwide.
The vulnerable women who mostly succumb to obnoxious widowhood rites are the ones whose source of livelihoods are non-existent. There is the fear of hardship, hunger, and fear that the education of their children will be truncated and so on. If these women had their own source on income through sustainable economic ventures (such as what the Widows Alliance Network (WANE) has initiated) without always being so dependent, then their woes could be reduced modestly.
However, providing these vulnerable widows with vocational education without any relevance to their immediate community, adequate tools to work with and initial capital resources will not bring the needed results. This can only be achieve through providing them with adequate vocational and adult literary informal education, and also make resources and funds available for them to start up; so that these vulnerable women can achieve sustainable socio-economic independence and also properly take care of their children by providing them with the basic necessities of life and formal education.
The project was introduced to equip widows in Ghana with the right employable skills, human rights education, reproductive health and social integration programmes to create a paradigm shift in how Ghana's communities perceive and treat widows. WANE is implemented through four complementary approaches:
Widows Alliance Network Vocational Projects (WANEP), which is training workshops for widows in employable skills such as dressmaking, bread baking, beekeeping or small-scale farming;
An annual National Widows Alliance Conference (NAWAC) for advocacy and cohesion;
Business financing schemes called NNOBOA (meaning group rotational finance aid packages) to help widows generate income to support their children
Education and rights protection projects.
Widowhood may deprive women of their home, agricultural land, assets and even their children. The poverty of widowhood causes children, especially girls, to be withdrawn from school. In some ethnic groups, degrading rituals such as ritual cleansing by sex with late husband's brother, widow inheritance which the practice of levirate and accusations of witchcraft support institutionalized widow abuse of the gravest nature. WANE is sincerely and passionately in total agreement with the Widows without Rights Conference Declaration that was made in London 6-7 February 2001, and strongly condemns:
The continuing formulation, use and enforcement of laws and customs that perpetuate the violation of the womens human rights, through legal, cultural and religious institutions;
The mental, physical, emotional and sexual violations of widows;
The absence of the rights of widows to inheritance, property and landownership;
The systematic victimization, exploitation and neglect of older widows;
The neglect and abuse of children of widows and young widows.