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Foundation celebrates festival to promote craft culture in UW/R

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It was a delight sight to witness at this year’s Woori Festival organised by the Nubuke Foundation at Loho in the Nadowli-Kaleo District as the assorted woven fabrics and clay products on display at the festival caught the attention of many.

Some cultural regalia of northern Ghana on display at the festival included clay water pots, smocks, smock products, beads and cowry products, and hats as well as xylophones, drums, and other traditional musical instruments peculiar to northern Ghana among other traditional artifacts.

The spectacular dance performance by the Kparisaga Bawaa group also caught the attention of scores of people including traditional leaders, students, weavers and craftsmen and women, and Heads of Departments among others across the region and beyond at the event.

Addressing the people at the opening of the Woori Festival, Madam Odile Tevie, the Director of Nubuke Foundation, noted that the festival formed part of efforts to help develop and promote the craft industry of the Upper West Region.

The Foundation believed that promoting the “unique weaving and clay culture of the Upper West” presented an opportunity for an economic turnaround for several families and communities, especially for women.

Madam Tevie said they had been, over the years, equipping the actors in the industry with the needed skills and best practices to enable them to compete favorably in a highly competitive digital era.

“Over the years, through our partners we have offered workshops to weavers aimed to expand their skills, adopt, adapt, and employ innovation, and exploring opportunities by connecting them to peer networks within Ghana, Mali, Cote d’ Ivoire, and others,” she explained.

The Nubuke Foundation, through its Centre for Clay and Textiles in the region and with support from the European Union, Organisation of ACP states, Institute Francais, and Centre Culturel Kore in Mali, was promoting strip weaving as one of the anchors of tourism in the Nandom and Wa Municipality and the Nadowli-Kaleo District to help promote the industry in the region.

With the support of its partner, Assemble UK under a British Council-funded grant, Nubuke Foundation also launched a website (woveninwa.org) to help connect weavers in the Upper West Region with potential clients in other parts of the country and the world at large with a view of expanding the market net for the weavers.

The Foundation also created a tourism map of the Upper West Region and captured 23 tourist sites, 200 weaving centres, and about 100 sales points and shops for woven fabrics in the region as well as launched a craft resource library for schools and weavers.

Madam Tevie said they had conducted a need assessment of the weaving industry in the region and identified that access to preferred colours of yarns at reasonable prices, access to quality tools, capital, lack of standardisation, and appropriate shops to reach customers as some of the hurdles the weavers faced in the region.

While commending the traditional authorities in their operational areas and other stakeholders for the support the Foundation had enjoyed over the years, Madam Tevie appealed to the necessary authorities to demarcate an access route to the Nubuke Foundation Centre for Clay and Textiles office at Loho.

In a speech read on his behalf, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, the Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, expressed hope that the Woori Festival would attract both domestic and foreign tourists to the region to help contribute to the growth of the local economy.

He thanked the Nubuke Foundation for complementing the ministry to promote the rich culture of the Ghanaian people and encouraged tourist operators to take interest in promoting the weaving products as a tourist attraction.

Naa Yakubu Chaahaa, the Chief of Loho, entreated the people who had benefited from the training, and support of the Foundation to put them to clever use for the collective benefit of the people in their localities and the region at large

Madam Grace Amoako, the Headmistress for the Wa Methodist School for the Blind, observed that educating Persons living with Disability (PWDs) on cultural traits such as craft would present an economic opportunity for community development.

She called on Non-government Organisations and other stakeholders to strengthen support in the vocational training of the PWDs, as that would provide a future of hope to the disabled to reduce their dependency on other people.

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