GENDER PERSPECTIVES ON THE STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF CONFLICT MANAGEMENT INSTITUTIONS AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON DEVELOPMENT IN THE OTI AND VOLTA REGIONS OF GHANA
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The Oti and Volta Regions of Ghana have a number of conflict hotspots as old as the ages of the communities themselves. These conflicts must be managed sustainably so they do not degenerate into violent situations time after time. The study analyzed gender perspectives in conflict management looking at the structure and function of conflict management institutions and how they could facilitate sustainable management of conflicts. A case study design was adopted. Data was collected through interviews, focus group discussions, and observations. Narrative thematic analysis was used in bringing out key issues related to the structure and function of conflict management institutions. The structure of conflict management institutions across the different study communities indicated that traditional leadership plays an essential role in conflict management. There were more males than females on conflict management committees indicating a low involvement of women in conflict management. The findings also indicated the availability of specialized structures traditionally for conflict management; an interesting blend of conflict managers-traditional elders and religious leaders. The mandate of institutions in conflict management was mainly maintenance of peace, crime prevention, education on conflict avoidance, addressing the needs of the vulnerable, and facilitating conflict resolution drives. Concluding, it was suggested that institutions in charge of conflict management liaise among themselves to create a unique link and framework to enhance the inclusive nature of the conflict management process to meet the development needs of the communities in times of conflict and after. The involvement of women was also observed as essential, cognizant of their unique qualities in managing conflicts. Finally, a uniquely prominent perspective that emerged was that each gender had a unique role to play in facilitating conflict management.
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