Some women engaged in straw basket weaving in the Upper East Region are appealing to the office of the Export Development and Agriculture Investment Fund (EDAIF) to finish some shelters the fund started for them, which are yet to be completed.
The women who currently weave their baskets under trees say harsh weather often disrupts their work and this affects their profits and their economic lives.
Therefore they want funds to be provided for the completion of the shelters that EDAIF started.
The Bolgatanga Basket Weavers’ Co-operative Club, of which the women are members, submitted a proposal to the Export Development and Agriculture Investment Fund (EDAIF) and got funding to start building shelters for the women who currently sit under trees to make their straw baskets.
A first tranche of funding was given but was not enough to complete the structures.
At Sumbrungu, several of the structures are at the lintel level and look fairly new and strong. No windows and doors have been fixed and the buildings have not been roofed, exposing them to harsh weather.
The women sit under trees close to the buildings to weave their straw baskets.
They want work on the structures to be fast-tracked so they can have access to and make good use of them.
One of the women, Mmaa Akampei said; “We have been weaving under this tree for a very long time. Sometimes, the shade is not is enough for us. Especially when it is very sunny. And when the harmatan comes, we can’t even sit here and work because the wind distracts us”.
She added; “We are praying that they finish the building for us so that we won’t have to struggle this much anymore”.
Agriculture is the major source of livelihood for these women but meagre yields in recent times has made it difficult for many families to survive through agriculture alone.
Nsomah Adongo, a woman also engaged in straw basket weaving said; “Farming is not lucrative so we weave the straw baskets (and sell) to be able to cater for our children. We pay their school fees, buy their books and provide food for them through this trade”.
Nsomah added, “But weaving under the tree comes with a lot of hindrances especially during bad weather. For example, when there is a new design we are supposed to weave, we need to be in our numbers so we can teach each other but that is not easy to do under the tree and affects the orders we get from customers”.
Akasela Akolgo leads a group of women weaving straw baskets near Zorkor. She and her group work under a tree close to one of the uncompleted EDAIF shelters.
Akasela told joy news; “Anytime the rain comes, we can’t sit here and weave. So we were very happy when they came and started this building for us”. “We are grateful for the work done so far but we are pleading that they complete it for us so that some of our colleagues who often go to Kumasi to look for work can stay back home and join us”, she added.
Manager of the Bolgatanga Basket Weavers Co-operative Club, Charles Asabilla explained that EDAIF accepted their proposal to build shelters for the women but a first tranche of funding for the structures was only enough to get them where they are now. “So we are pleading with EDAIF to give us the second tranche of funds to finish the structures”, he said.
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