Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Ruthin Inner Wheel helps tackle poverty among Women in Lawra Ghana

Through a generous donation of £900 Ruthin Inner Wheel is helping us to assist women in Tuori (our local village) to reduce the extent of their poverty by enabling villagers to generate more income. We are working to help groups of small traders to improve their businesses, hence their incomes, hence reduce poverty, through setting up a Credit Union. The CU will be administered by village representatives, they will consider applications for re-payable loans from women’s groups in the village; they cannot borrow again until they have repaid; the village reps vote to allocate the money to their priority projects. The fund is a revolving fund and stays intact as it is loaned and repaid. We have the help of a couple of brilliant Ghanaians who have done this in similar communities where the CUs are still thriving and the quality of life in those villages is gradually improving. It's the type of development that really could do with more financial support as it can make a real difference in very local communities.

Progress to date.
We met with the village Chief and Elders to share ideas and discuss village needs. The men were not too keen on our working solely with the women of the village; the women reassured them that a happier woman would benefit everybody! Agreement was granted to arrange a separate meeting with the women only.

We, Jenny, Nigel, Denisia (a villager who speaks very good English and is a volunteer at the Orphanage in Lawra) and Eric (a Credit Union expert from the local Ministry of Agriculture) met with the women on Monday December 8th, out in the open at 4.00pm. To our great surprise, almost 60 women participated; it also took a long time getting going as every arrival generated a welcome dance. Eventually, Jenny, with the help of her picture drawing skills, led a session to elicit the main activity groups the women were involved in which included: Pottery and Basket-making, Tomato growing and selling, Pito (local beer) brewing and selling, Kosi (local cakes), Shea Butter, Grain processing and general petty trading

6 different groups then gathered separately to elect three representatives to take part in a further meeting which will get down to the ‘nitty gritty’ of discussing the things which they most need, to enable them to improve their group’s activity.

It was sundown by now so we all gathered together again to reflect on what had been agreed; we breathed a huge sigh of relief as this was a very ‘high risk’ meeting which turned out well. We meet again in January, by which time the different groups will have discussed and agreed their priorities. We are so grateful to Denisia and Eric, without whom we would have been sunk, and to the women for their participation, warm welcome and brilliant humour. We could not take photographs at this stage as it could have upset the delicate dynamics of the meeting – maybe next time.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Hi Nigel and Jenny

I was reading your blog and found it really interesting.

VSO has just launched it’s own online community where you can chat to other VSO volunteers and supporters. If you haven’t already you can register at:
http://community.vsointernational.org

I thought other volunteers would be interested in reading your blog and you might like to post a link to it in the blogs discussion area of the VSO online community:
http://community.vsointernational.org/discussions/blogs

Cheers
Sara