By Samuel Akapule, GNA
Kazigu (UE), Jan31, GNA - Fifty widows at Kazigu–Buru in the Kassena-Nankana West District in the Upper East Region have been economically empowered through the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) intervention introduced in the area by the Catholic Relief Services two years ago.
The VSLA concept builds the capacity and encourage group of people to save together and take small loans from those savings to embark on other economic ventures and social activities.
Sharing some of their testimonies about the benefits they got from the Scheme during a stakeholders meeting organized by the groups in collaboration with the CRS and the traditional Council at the Kaszigu Community on Thursday, majority of the widows stated that through the intervention some of them had successfully started petty trading while others expanded their businesses.
Mrs Amina Apuuri, a 56 year-old widow, recounted how she had to go in for a loan from the Scheme to settle the school fees of her daughter in Senior High School in Tamale who was sent home because she had not paid her fees.
“Apart from that I have been able to expand my “kenkey” business and basket weaving activities all through the loan I often took from the VSLA. When my husband died leaving me and the four children it was difficult taking good care of my children, but I can now take good care of them without depending on others for support all because of this good intervention”, Mrs Apuuri stressed.
The Field Officer of CRS, Ms Khadija Seidu, who expressed joy about the impact of the intervention on the women groups, stated that there were about 186 of such groups majority of them being widows and few of them being men formed by her outfit in the District who were also reaping similar benefits from the scheme.
She stated that one of the cardinal principle of CRS and its partners was the education of children, and emphasized that it was against this background that, the CRS in collaboration with its partners particularly the District Assemblies, the Ghana Education Service and the Traditional Council with support from Helmsley Charitable Trust of America rolled out the project; the Integrated Sanitation Hygiene and Nutrition for Education (ISHINE) in the Talensi, Nabdam, Kassena-Nankana West districts in the Upper East Region and MampruguMoaduri, West and East Mamprusi in the Northern Region.
Ms Seidu indicated that CRS believed in an integrated approach to encouraging and ensuring the attendance and retention of boys and girls in school and said that informed the choice of the implementation of the ISHINE project, which has the VSLA, Sanitation, Hygiene and Nutritional components among others.
The Chief of Buru-Kazigu, KazigoPeParekuriAluah, who lauded the intervention by the CRS, said he was happy that the project had triggered most of the households in the communities to construct their own household latrines thereby reducing open defecation drastically in the area.
The Chief, who also commended the Organization for Indigenous Initiatives and Sustainability- Ghana (ORGIIS) for partnering with the CRS to support the community, also mentioned that another major achievement made by the project was the promotion and the consumption of indigenous foods among the community members which contained rich nutrients.