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28.09.2004 Regional News

Oxfam provides rice processing machine for single mothers in Upper East

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Bolgatanga, Sept. 28, GNA - Oxfam, a British non-governmental organisation is to establish a rice processing machine for the Single Mothers Association (SMA), a non-governmental organisation based in the Upper East Region.

The project is in aid of the non-weaving members of SMA, and to help improve the quality of locally produced rice in the region. The Programme Co-ordinator of SMA, Ms Stella Abagre made this known at a breakfast meeting with heads of departments in Bolgatanga on Tuesday.

She said the SMA was set up in 1995 to negate cultural and traditional practices that have rendered unmarried women frustrated and dejected in the society.

Ms Abagre added that, out of a total membership of 720, more than 50 per cent have so far been trained in weaving with assistance from JICA a Japanese non-governmental organisation operating in the country. The Co-ordinator said activities of the SMA include income generation, advocacy and family life education, adding that the rice plant would help alleviate poverty.

She highlighted the demerits of traditional practices such as "sister in bed" and female genital mutilation and urged members of the SMA to refrain from those negative practices.

Ms Abagre also added that the SMA is confronted with problems in accessing credit from financial institutions to run their businesses, and appealed to government for assistance.

She was, however, happy that the SMA became second out of 57 exhibitors at the International Craft Fair in Accra last year, adding that it has also constructed 10 craft centres for its members in 10 communities in the region.

The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Mahami Salifu, in an address commended Oxfam for the kind gesture and said the rice plant would help alleviate poverty in the region.

He noted that broken marriages are the root cause of single motherhood and appealed to the SMA to include counselling towards successful marriages, in their advocacy programme.

The Regional Minister said it was government's desire to reduce poverty through the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy, adding that the poverty fund was meant to improve social services such as health, education and to help vulnerable groups such as the SMA.

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