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20.09.2005 General News

USA NGO empowers women in Ghana

By GNA

Accra, Sept.20, GNA - Ms Valerie Steele, President of Women Vision International (WVI), a nongovernmental organization (NGO), on Tuesday reiterated that one of the surest way to reducing poverty was the empowerment of women.

She said women whenever interviewed said their number one priority was to send their children to school because they believed that education was the fastest way out of poverty and that they would go to any extent to provide that for their children.

Ms Steele told journalists at a press conference in Accra on the activities of the WVI that the organisation was in Ghana to move women out of poverty so that they would become empowered to contribute to the development of the nation.

She said the WVI, which has its base in Kansas City, Missouri, USA had been operating in Ghana for the past five years by partnering directly with a local farmer -owned cocoa co-operative, Kuapa Kokoo, the largest farmers owned Cocoa Co-operative in Ghana.

She said women within each co-operative was given a revolving loan of 100 dollars each to start their own businesses ranging from the planting of fruits and vegetable, soap-making, palm kernel oil production and hand made batik cloth.

"Their businesses are generally profitable but actual results vary within each business cycle, " Ms Steele said. She said the loan recovery rate was between 75 per cent and 95 per cent, which meant that they were in lucrative business and contributing to the economic growth of the country while their standard of living had improved, Ms Steele said.

Dr Peter Sam, Member of Advisory Board of WVI, said the organization provided fundamental business operation and management training and skills to equip the women to succeed in their operations. He said the WVI realised the needs of marginalized women especially in rural areas and that it intended to stay in Ghana and to assist as many women as possible.

The WVI programme is multi-faceted and measures poverty alleviation and women's empowerment through improvement in their education, health, socio-economic status and the leadership roles they played, he said.

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