Sporting activities are often used as tools for social integration, social cohesion and peace building processes in communities, irrespective of cultural, religious or political background of residents.

The Yaa Asantewaa Rural Bank however wants to harness the power of sports to positively engage local communities to be economically empowered for sustainable development.

The bank has instituted an annual sports competition for some communities in the Ashanti region to help people to transform their communities through socially-inclusive economic ventures.

Board Chairman, Samuel Addo Otoo says the bank is inspired by the prowess of the legendary Yaa Asantewaa “who achieved all that she did, not only because she was a queen mother or a brave woman but because she was also healthy; at the moment we’re not dealing with colonial masters but the major issue is with poverty and we believe a healthy person can save more”.

Sixteen communities in the Ejisu traditional area participated in the three-day Easter Football Gala, whilst ten other localities in the Atwima Nwabiagya District engaged in a variety of indoor games and track events including sack race, tug-of-peace, draft, Ludo and Oware.

The competition was under the theme: “A Healthy Person Saves Even More Income”. Participating communities learnt the important life skills including leadership, teamwork, respecting rules, discipline and perseverance.

According to Mr. Otoo, sports is an important platform for awareness creation on the importance of unity to pool resources for wealth creation and to gain financial independence.

People in the Atwima Nwabiagya district, for instance, are being supported to establish the Atwima Co-operative Credit Union to create employment, ease access to business finance and mobilize resources to build a health facility for the community.

“The sporting activities are therefore aimed at supporting communities to live healthy lifestyles to reduce their medical bills, improve surplus income and channel resources to Yaa Asantewaa Rural Bank; we have various products and accounts that they can put their money in towards their future development and personal life goals”, noted Mr. Otoo.

The Ejisu tournament was won by Ampabame All Stars who beat Ejisu Warriors in a 6:5 penalty shootout. Finalists took home cash rewards.

Ejisumanhene, Nana Afranie Okesse IV, who presented the trophy to the winning team, was excited at the outcome of the event.

He announced plans to organize similar sporting event for institutions and professions in the Ejisu Municipality on May 1.