Female basket weavers at Sumbrungu, a suburb of the Bolgatanga Municipality inthe Upper East Region, have made a passionate appeal to two organisations to facilitate the provision of a basic school for their children.
Numbering about 75, the women made the appeal to the Canadian Feed the Children (CFTC), a donor agency concerned about the welfare of children, and the TradeAid Integrated, a local non-governmental organisation operating in the region. TradeAid, with support from the CFTC, provided them with a new GH¢76,000.00 crafts centre in March this year at Sumbrungu.
Visit to the centre
They made the appeal when the President and Chief Executive Officer of the CFTC, Madam Debra Kerby, and Mr Sohel Khan, a Senior Advisor of Food Security and Environmental Sustainability of the CFTC, visited them at the centre.
They were accompanied by the Executive Director of TradeAid, Mr Nicholas Apokerah, and the CFTC Country Representative, Mr Edward Akapire. They also interacted with the Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) in the area.
They contended that sometimes their children got knocked down by vehicles as they crossed the main Bolgatanga-Navrongo road to go to school in parts of the municipality, and added that the provision of a school just around the crafts centre would ultimately impact positively on the lives of their children and enhance their safety.
One of the women, Madam Judith Atubiga, who spoke on behalf of her colleagues, observed that over the past years "I can count not less than 10 children who have been knocked down by vehicles while crossing the road to school or returning from school".
Madam Atubiga and her colleagues were, however, happy that the food security programme initiated by the TradeAid and the CFTC was yielding results under the Integrated Community Empowerment Programme (INCOME).
The INCOME project is aimed at encouraging women and men in Northern Ghana to achieve food security. It is being implemented in three communities; Vea and Bui in the Kassena Nankana District and Sumbrungu in the Bolgatanga Municipality.
Madam Atubiga further explained that under the intervention, they had benefited from rearing a number of farm animals such as cows, goats, sheep and other ruminants.
According to her, she used the cow to plough her farm, which she combined with the basket weaving to raise more income to sustain the family, and added that she also used the cow dung and the excreta of other farm animals as manure for her farm.
In response to the appeal, the President of the CFTC, Madam Kerby said her outfit would find the best way to partner other organisations to meet their education needs.
According to her, the CFTC was reviewing a five-year strategic plan for 2016 that would take care of food security issues, education, capacity building for local partners, gender equity and climate change, which were some of the priorities of the Government of Ghana.
Mr Apokerah, for his part, stated that the VSLA concept and the micro credit delivery through the Naara Rural Bank’s access to finance project, had improved significantly. For instance, under the CHANGE Project, the Naara Rural Bank disbursed up to GH¢ 62,630.00 to 214 farmers in the 2014/15 crop season.
That, he said, enabled farmers to purchase certified seeds and other farm inputs. Also, the VSLA concept under the INCOME Project was an effective way of delivering rural financial services, as about 34 VSLA groups had been formed so far.
"These groups mobilise up to GH¢ 78,000.00 which they are able to share among themselves to invest in their businesses or take care of some social needs such as paying school fees," Mr Apokerah noted.
He said, new clients had been identified and added that a group in The Netherlands had recently placed an order for over $5,000.00 worth of baskets from the weavers.