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Report by Nana Adwoa Pinkra Anti, for Ghana Decides
Agnes Chigabatia was a 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.
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.
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 was a member of the board that helped revive the Kpanlogo Tomato Factory. With her MP’s Common Fund and HIPC Fund, she embarked on rural electrification to get villages in her constituency onto the national grid.
She instituted a scholarship scheme to help brilliant, but needy students to pursue higher education.
With her personal funds she enrolled women and their children to the National Health Insurance Scheme. She established the St. Agnes Vocational and Information Technology Centre to train the youth especially women in her constituency in various vocational and technological training to help alleviate poverty and migration to cities for non-existing jobs. After two years of education, the trainees are given machines and tools to set off.
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.
Madam Agnes Asangalisa Chigabatia was born on 20 October 1956, at Chuchuliga in the Upper East region. As the daughter of the chief of the village and a teacher, she grew up in the palace. After her primary education at the Chuchuliga Primary School between 1963 and 1968, she proceeded to Middle School in Adda/Ayieta in 1969 and St. Francis/Assis Secondary School between 1970 and 1975. She attended the School of Domestic Science and Catering (GES) after secondary school, where she obtained her NVTIGd. II and City and Guilds 812/2 (Advanced) in 1983.
She worked as a Clerical Officer with Builsa District Administration between 1978 and 1980; served the Nima 441 Social Centre in Accra as a teacher and a catering officer, where she was promoted to the rank of project director. In 1992, she set up Sanche Enterprise Limited, comprising a joint supplies and catering service, as well as construction works. She is the Managing Director of the Lack-Sueg Foundation, a non-governmental organisation. She is a member of the Knight of St. John International and the Rotary Club, Adenta. Chigabatia was elected a member of St. Kizito Parish Council in 2001.
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