The Advocacy for Social Inclusion and Girls Education (ASIGE), a Non-Governmental Organization has constructed and handed over a basket weaving centre to vulnerable women at Sumbrungu in the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region.
The goal was to provide a decent working environment for the women, who hitherto, were producing their baskets under trees, to increase production and meet demand.
The centre which is designed to contain more than 300 women at a time had sponsorship from Camfed, Nmaa and Paul Hodges Trust, all NGOs.
ASIGE, established in 2016, has been working with vulnerable women and girls from five communities, Sumbrungu, Azinsum, Bolgatanga-Soe, Vea and Feo, to address challenges facing their growth and development.
It does this through the training of women in basket weaving and creating a market for their products, enrolling girls into vocational training, providing sensitization on sexual and reproductive health rights and supplying sanitary pads to schools in both Upper East and Upper West Regions.
Speaking at the commissioning of the weaving centre, Ms Dorcas Apoore, the Executive Director of ASIGE, said her outfit currently had 429 women it was working with in the basket industry, training them to produce products that meet international standards.
She said the products of the weavers were being sold outside Ghana including, Australia, Japan, France, Germany, Turkey, Netherlands, United Kingdom and the United States of America and expressed hope that the centre would enable them to increase production and increase their income levels.
Ms Apoore explained that apart from the basket weaving impacting positively on the vulnerable women and their families, and reducing poverty and migration, the NGO had been able to enrol 29 girls who were mostly teenage mothers into vocational skills training and supported two teenage mothers to return to mainstream education.
Ms Jennifer Carlen, Director of Paul Hodge Trust, encouraged the women to take advantage of the centre to produce quality baskets that would attract quality markets and endeavour to support other women in their communities to learn the trade.
The women expressed gratitude to ASIGE and its partners and noted that the centre was a big relief to them as they could work in comfort and produce more.
Madam Martha Nsobila, a weaver from the Sumbrungu community said they use to weave under a tree and whenever it rained, they would have to stop but the centre would help solve such inconvenience and help them increase production.
She, however, appealed to ASIGE and other organizations including the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly to provide them with a borehole.
Madam Janet Azubila, another weaver from the Vea Community said the basket weaving had helped her to contribute to the upkeep of the families and had reduced small conflicts that often occurred in her home.
She however appealed to the government to promote the production of the straw they used, in the region, as it was too expensive to import it from other regions such as the Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo Regions.