Shea Network Ghana (SNG) an organization of shea sector businesses, stakeholders and value chain actors (collectors, buyers, aggregators and brands) in collaboration with the Tungteiya Women’s Association and OXFAM have organized a one-day Women’s Economic Empowerment Trade Fair in the Northern regional capital, Tamale.
The trade fair that sought to connect women beneficiaries to suppliers and buyers related to their business plans, was under the Women’s Economic Advancement for Collective Transformation (WEACT ) Project, a five-year project implemented in 9 Districts in Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Savanna, Western North and Western Regions in Ghana.
The event took place at Jubilee Park last Wednesday in Tamale and brought together 115 women beneficiaries, 20 businesses, stakeholders and the public.
The fair also included mentorship sessions where experience entrepreneurs took time to educate the beneficiary women on where, when and how to get materials needed to manage their businesses successfully.
Addressing the gathering, a project manager in charge of the WEACT Project at the Shea Network Ghana, Madam Iddrisu Hubaida said the project seeks the 5 years comic barriers of women's economic empowerment and to directly give a voice to approximately 5, 400 women and girls, adding that an approximate number of 3, to 510 men and boys will also be empowered indirectly at the end of the 5 years.
She noted that the fair was geared to link women to suppliers and buyers in areas related to their business and provide financial assistance to aid them to purchase the needed inputs.
“We have here businesses within the Shea value chain to exhibit their products and their prices, as well as network and share ideas with us especially our beneficiaries towards a successful launch of their businesses.
"The Gender Responsive Skills Development Training is one of the components of WEACT aimed to empower women financially through initiatives such as women’s equality drives, agricultural financial services, cooperatives, financial literacy training ing, Cocoa and Shea value chains entrepreneurship and among others”.
Madam Hubaida was hopeful the project would increase access to innovative and viable gender-responsive business models and enhance equal access to productive resources for women, including gender-responsive financial products and land ownership and use.
She urged the beneficiaries to take advantage of the opportunity to network, share ideas, exchange contacts and create symbiotic relationships among themselves and the dealers to help expand their businesses.
On her part, the Gender officer at OXFAM, Madam Fati Alhassan, called on stakeholders and individuals to assist women to become productive, instead of being left behind in development.
“This project aims to break the economic barriers of women in the region, so we're calling on all stakeholders to assist women in a way that they can also progress in their area of economic endeavour”.
Some of the beneficiaries who spoke to the media lauded Shea Network Ghana and their partners for initiating the project, stating that it would have economic benefits to their businesses.
According to them, the organization's previous support and educative programmes had made a meaningful impact in their lives, on which they now help in taking care of their households.
Other partners of the project included NORSAAC, WiLDAF, Viamo, Send-Ghana, and Friends of the Nation.
About the Shea Network Ghana
Shea Network Ghana (SNG) is an organization of shea sector businesses, stakeholders and value chain actors (collectors, buyers, aggregators and brands) formed in 2010 by the Ghana shea private sector and a regulator along with Ghana Cocobod to organize and Co-ordinate the value chain.
It seeks to influence policy and provide solutions to industrywide challenges for the overall growth of the shea sector in a coordinated manner.
The organization provides platforms to share industry experiences and knowledge, facilitate synergy and promote shea usage, develop opportunities for stakeholders and share benefits for all.
With a direct institutional membership of 210 member organizations, key member categories of SNG include international and local facilitating NGOs, large international shea buyers and producer organizations among others.