World Vision Ghana (WVG) has supported 400 women at Bongo-Soe in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region to go into shea butter processing for export.
The women?s group called the Bongo-Soe Shea Pickers and Processors Association (BOPPA) begun with a population of 50 in 1998 and has over the years expanded its membership to 400 women.
Apart from capacity building in the area of record keeping and sheanut processing, WVG gave the group a crasher and mill, borehole and a building facility.
Hitherto, majority of women in the area often migrated to the southern sector to do menial jobs to be able to fend for themselves and their children?s education. Others who could not travel found it difficult catering for their children but with the intervention of WVG, most of the women now contribute about 70 per cent to the household income level.
These came to light when the global and West African partners of WVG visited the area to see how the women were faring with their business.
Highlighting the overview of activities of the group, the leader, Madam Susana Akurugu, indicated that, before the intervention of WVG, life was very difficult for them, since they could not fend for themselves and their children.
She said they could now supplement their household income and also pay their children school fees, as well as pay for their National Health Insurance Scheme, including their extended family members.
She indicated that apart from being relieved of the laborious manual labour to process the shea butter, marketing had been made easy by a Company that purchased the finished product for export, about three to four times a year.
The leader of the group indicated that, apart from processing the nuts into shea butter for export, they were able to make soap and other products and also use the left over products as manure on their farms.
?Through the proceeds, we have been able to purchase lands to cultivate sheanut and Sesame plantations, and we have also built a community library for our children.?
?We have also purchased a ?motorking ?to transport us to our farms and also to convey our raw materials?, the group leader said.
Madam Ayorogo Akurugu said her husband used to say she was a liability and they quarreled often, because they did not have enough food for the children, making them to fall sick frequently and could not go to school.
?But with the support of WVG this plight is no more. There is now absolute peace in the house and my husband now respects me. My children are fed well and they now attend school regularly. Two of my children have just completed Tertiary institutions. One completed Nursing Training College and the other one, a Teacher Training College. I thank WCVG for the support?.
Madam Amina Mohamadu, one of the beneficiaries, said she bought a donkey and cart from the shea butter proceeds which is used on the farm and also to cart her products to the market.
Mr Dirk Booy, World Vision International Partnership Leader, in charge of Operations, lauded the women for taking the opportunity provided to help improve upon their living standard.
The National Director of WVG, Mr Hubert Charles told the group that one of the cardinal aims of World Vision was to ensure the promotion and protection of the well being of children and urged the women to make it their topmost priorities.