Wechiau women receive livelihood support

01 Nov 2013

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As reported by Afful Benson, Business and Financial Times: As part of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) support to flood-impacted communities in northern Ghana, the UNDP Recovery Project has been collaborating with Community Aid for Rural Development (CARD) to implement a Livelihood Security for Rapid Response to Flood Recovery initiative at Wechiau in the Wa West District of the Upper West Region.

The initiative seeks to provide alternative livelihood support for increased resilience of women groups in communities severely impacted by floods, and to improve t their households’ standard of living.  

Specifically, the project is supporting three women’s groups comprising 60 women by strengthening their capacity in shea butter processing, soap-making and bread-baking skills. The community has therefore received a multi-purpose resource centre equipped for shea butter processing, soap- and bread-making.

Hudi Al-hassan, Project Officer of CARD, in an interview with Business and Financial Times said the Wa West District Assembly has reneged on its commitment to extend electricity to the centre, and that is delaying the project’s progress.

He also said sources of potable water for use by women in the processing of shea butter, soap-making and bread-baking has become a constraint to effective operation of the centre. Women spend most of the time looking for water for processing.

He said start-up capital for full and effective operations appears to be huge and CARD alone may not be able to raise that quantum of funds, so they will engage microfinance institutions to facilitate provision of credit to the women. He added that officials of CARD and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) have continued to provide technical, organisational development and business development support to the beneficiaries. CARD is also liaising with CFC, a Tamale-based company that buys shea butter, to provide trade finance for the women.

The District Chief Executive (DCE) of Wa West District Assembly, Mr. Dasaana N.S Adamu, said the Assembly has completed arrangements with the Volta River Authority to install electricity at the centre within the next 30 days.

He said the Wa West District Assembly and the Wechiau community in particular have viewed the project as an industrial boost to open up the area and improve the rural economy of the entire district.

In a related development, under the Sustainable Housing Initiative, a four-room expandable guest-house is currently under construction at the Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary with a view to boosting tourism and encouraging extended stay of tourists in the community.

The initiative seeks to enhance the district’s economy and increase opportunities for employment and income generation. With support from Housing the Masses, 35 community members have been trained in construction with the use of the Compressed Stabilised Earth Brick (CSEB) technology and are constructing a guest-house at the Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary. The four-room expandable guest-house is currently at the lintel level.