Monday, 14 August 2017

We are PAGSUNG! Women Matter

I first heard about PAGSUNG at ICS assessment day. PAGSUNG is a Dagbani word which means “good woman. The Patriarchal society has shown little interest (if any) in women development and empowerment. The economic empowerment of women is very important to break down generational cycles of poverty. I was informed at my training that the aim of PAGSUNG association is to promote quality Shea butter production and Shea nut picking through technical training and market linkages”. Wow! Commercializing Shea? I have being a silent advocate for value addition and commercialization of the fruits of the wild tree which has been tipped as the ‘Northern cocoa’

The first and second weeks were full of planning and a bit of introduction to the project. Members of PAGSUNG association were at the premises busily processing Shea nuts into Shea butter and to soap and pomade. I marveled at the local ingenuity and the dexterity portrayed by these women. At last, I saw something from Shea beyond the domestic food consumption.
We moved to the Shea butter processing area where a group of women were frying the cracked nuts. It took just 1 minute for us to all leave the site struggling for breath. The heat was unbearable and the smoke choking. I strolled back to the office thinking about the ordeal these women go through each day just to make a living and for the family. More hurting was the fact that these women find it difficult to access market.

ICS volunteers running sensitizations in Kpalga

 Women are active as economic agents in the Northern regions of Ghana than anywhere else in the country. They perform the majority of the agricultural activities, own a majority of all firms and are the majority of the informal sector employees. Over and above their income-earning activities, they are central to the household economies and the welfare of their households. Yet local conditions even make them redundant economic actors as their innovation and hard work do not see the light of the day. They do not only make a majority of the world’s population, but also a majority of the developing world’s poor. They do not have access to key resources such as land and in some cases have no access to education. They have decisions and choices made for them and in the worst scenario, lack choices. I then believed that “Poverty has a woman’s face” in Africa. Not just because they make a majority of the poor but because lifting women out of poverty will lift Africa out of poverty.

ICS Volunteer with one of the community children after a sensitization

Team PAGSUNG fully subscribes to the ideas of PAGSUNG (our project partner) and the International Service. We are determine to contribute to Pagsung’s product development initiatives, enhancing their access to market, promoting healthy work ethics and extending the good news to all women in the three Northern regions of Ghana.

Raphael AnammasiyaAyambire

ICS volunteer-Team PAGSUNG


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