The Plan International Ghana has inaugurated two women-friendly solar-powered business hubs at Antwikrom in the Sunyani Municipality of Bono Region and Bomaa in the Tano North Municipality of Ahafo Region.
The hubs, prefabricated kiosks with their patent right from Germany, are used globally for various interventions, especially in off-grid locations as it was powered by solar and could provide uninterrupted electricity for the next 15 years.
They are equipped with Information and Communication Technology facilities such as desktop computers, fans, information storage panels, internet connectivity, charging ports, freezers, television and filing cabinets among others.
They are intended to provide a ‘One-Stop-Shop’ experience by ensuring a well-coordinated, gender-responsive and demand-driven suite of business services for women such as Entrepreneurship and Business Management; Green Value Chain Development; Green Businesses Development; Marketing and Outreach and Financial Inclusion.
The hubs are one of the innovative interventions under the Women’s Innovation for Sustainable Enterprises (WISE) Project, with funding support from Global Affairs Canada (GAC), with two local implementing partners and Urbanet and Women Integrated Development Organization (WIDO) in the Northern, Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regions.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Mr Eric Ayaba, the Northern Programme Influencing and Impact Area Manager of Plan Int. Ghana said the WISE project sought to leverage the enormous potential and energy of Ghanaian women entrepreneurs to make a stronger contribution to poverty reduction.
He said this could be attained by prioritizing human rights, innovation and private sector engagement as well as monitoring, evaluation and learning.
Mr Ayaba announced the project in the past three years had equipped more than 13,000 women with knowledge of standard practices for Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs), financial literacy, life skills, good agronomic practices for soy cultivation and practical skills in beekeeping, mushroom cultivation and snail rearing.
He added, nearly 3,500 women had received support with varied inputs and services which included improved seeds, inoculants, tarpaulins, extension services and beekeeping equipment to enable project participants to start and grow their businesses.
Mr. Ayaba therefore called on stakeholders to utilise and maintain the hubs for the benefit of women in the host and surrounding communities.
Madam Justina Owusu-Banahene, the Bono Regional Minister on her part reiterated the role of women in national development could not be over-emphasized, saying empowering women was an indispensable tool for advancing development and reducing poverty because empowered women contributed to attaining quality health and productivity of their families, communities and the nation.
She stated that a critical aspect of empowering women was by providing them with skills and the required resources, as well as equal participation in decision-making roles about societal priorities and development directions.
These, Owusu-Banahene said, were vital in securing sustainable economic growth and national development objectives and commended Plan Int. Ghana, partners and implementing partners for their good works in complementing the efforts of the government, saying the government alone could not provide all resources for the country’s development.