Kumasi, Sept. 5, GNA - One thousand one hundred women from the Ashanti Region have acquired income-generating skills in seven commercial fields through the sponsorship of a Nigerian couple, Governor Peter Odili of River State, Nigeria and his wife, Justice Mary Odile, an Appeals Court Judge.
This brings together, a total of over 9,000 beneficiaries in the Central, Volta, Upper West, Greater Accra and Northern Regions. With a financial package of 69,000 dollars from the couple, which was supplemented by the district assemblies with 50,000 women targeted nationwide.
Addressing the graduation ceremony, which ended a one-week intensive training course at Kumasi, Vice President Aliu Mahama commended the couple for their largesse and goodwill to assist the underprivileged.
"This is a clear demonstration of a woman with a vision and you have given true meaning to Dr Aggrey's assertion that, when you educate a woman you educate a nation," he told Mrs Odili, who was at the ceremony. "With your husband, you are an epitome of an ECOWAS couple". He also commended Madam Hawa Yakubu, Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, whose efforts convinced the couple to replicate in Ghana the programme, which was initiated in Nigeria.
Vice President Mahama lauded the high quality of products made by the women, saying it was evident that they already possessed the talents and skills but needed the right push to unearth them.
The training was in the manufacture of cosmetics and detergents, tie and dye and batik making, sandals production, leather ware, knitting, hat making, screen-printing and interior decoration. They also had lectures in HIV/AIDS and Girl-Child Education.
The graduates would receive 200,000 cedis each as start-up capital with three hundred of them receiving sewing machines in addition.
Vice President Mahama directed the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Tourism and the Modernisation of the Capital City to link up with the organisers of the training programme and support their efforts.
The Ministries should, particularly, assist in the marketing of the products to schools and the hospitality industry.
"We must buy made in Ghana products to make us self-reliant as a nation and this is one positive way of achieving that," he said. He said the programme was in line with the Government's vision of improving the lot of women through giving them employable skills and mainstreaming gender issues into national policies and programmes.
Mrs Odili commended the peace and stability prevailing in Ghana, saying that the atmosphere was conducive for collaboration and progress. She said the Campaign for Greater Discipline was laudable and she shared the vision of having a responsible and disciplined citizenry.
Madam Yakubu, also a Member of the ECOWAS Parliament said the Vice President's appeal to the River State Governor, on his visit to Nigeria to assist in poverty alleviation efforts in Ghana persuaded the benefactors to commit to the programme.
She said the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs also provided technical assistance. There were three resource persons from Nigeria and 15 from Ghana.
The Western and Brong Ahafo Regions are next on the training schedule.
Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo, Minister of Ashanti Region, urged the media to encourage well-endowed individuals to execute social responsibility programmes and desist from branding every prosperous person, especially politicians as corrupt.