The Upper West Regional Centre for National Culture on Saturday 11th of December 2021 Launched the Weavers Association and Passing Out Ceremony for successful Weavers at the Regional Library in Wa.
The Centre for National Culture as a government body has been in existence in the Upper West Region since 1983, with the vision of unearthing and promoting our various traditions and cultural values through education, skills training, cultural performances to foster unity and development in the region. The commission in 1991 initiated the weaving department to contribute to the skills development of women and girls to leverage on as a potent income generation venture and to provide alternative job opportunities for school dropouts.
The foresight of this weaving sector initiative has been of tremendous success in not only improving the living standards of women for the past three decades but has also reduced the regional rate of migration of women and girls, since this laudable intervention of the Centre equips them with the skill in weaving if taken seriously can assure beneficiaries of economic empowerment and financial independence.
The Regional Director for the Centre during his speech highlighted that, ‘the Centre since 1991 has engaged in FREE apprenticeship training for young women in textile hand weaving and smock designing for young men.’’ Mr. Yahaya Jamal-Deen further indicated that, it is the aim of the Centre to fully support these graduates by providing them with equipments and start-up capital. He bemoaned that the Centre is financially constraint to provide these start-up kits for women and girls who have successfully gone through three years of skills training. He therefore appealed to NGO’s, multi-national companies, well-meaning groups and individual philanthropist to assist the Centre to realize this dream.
Mr. Yahaya equally used the opportunity to appeal to Ghanaians, to practice the habit of patronizing the ‘Woori’ (smock) Fabrics to satisfy their fashion needs during naming ceremonies, weddings, festivals and funerals. He further admonished hotels, organizations, restaurants, guest houses and chop bars to buy the colorful smock materials for all their interior decoration needs, as this is culturally right and will help the Centre in generating income to sustain the FREE skills training. If we all comply to buying our local materials, we will be financially empowering thousands of local weavers and tailors to generate income and sustain their families whilst creating more jobs for the many unemployed youth since demand leads to a wider market base of the local fabrics industry. The director also added that the Centre will like to expand the training disciplines to include batik, tie and die, soap making, fashion and design to other districts of the region but financial constraint is a hindrance.
The Centre in launching the maiden Weavers Association posited that, the idea behind this association is to ensure that some standards are injected into the operations of the growing weaving industry and to position members to acquire group loans so as to increase productivity. The association is opened to weavers who were not trained with them but are ready to accept the Centre’s standards and supervision. The Centre takes control of the testing and certification of trainees of the association, this certification process is done in collaboration with Dr. Hilla Limann Technical University and the National Vocational Training Institute. The arrangement with these accredited higher learning institutions allow trainees belonging to the association to further their course in gaining higher education.
One thing that distinguishes this initiative by the Centre is the rippling effect of Trainer of Trainees arrangement that have successfully trained women for the past three (3) decades and it is still impacting the weaving skills training for people in the Upper West Region and beyond. It is for this reason that, the Director implored the association members to be disciplined and more united so as to increase the gains made by the Centre.
The event was under the chairmanship of Mr. Issahaku Abdul-Moomin who serves as the Upper West Regional Director for the Ghana Enterprise Agency. Other dignitaries present were a Representative from the Regional Minister, Mr. Jeremiah Tengan of Ghana Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Serekpere-Naa Issahaka of Yison tech Hub and Mr. Philip Adongo of CEA. The invited guest all took turns to share experience and to motivate graduates to be proactive and industrious.
Mr. Yahaya Jamal-Deen
(Regional Director for Upper West Centre for National Culture)
Some Staff of the Centre with Weaving Graduates
Upper West Regional Minister Representative Giving His Speech