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About eighty rural women from Sherigu-Tangabisi community in the Bolgatanga municipality of the Upper East region who are into full time weaving of indigenous baskets have been given a facelift in executing their traditional trade by Kooko Foundation and Irene’s Craft shop.

Typical of rural women in basket weaving in the Upper East region, the shade of trees and uncompleted buildings in the communities served as a centre for these women who usually sit on bare floors to weave these beautiful Baskets into different forms, sizes and colors.

As a result of working under this environment, the women with their group name ‘Sherigu-Tangabisi Anasitaaba’ with nursing mothers amongst them always suffered during the rainy season due to the rains and heavy winds distracting their weaving sessions.

This part of Ghana records highest temperatures as high as 43-degree Celsius which also has negative effects on the women basket weavers who many at times weave under warm temperatures.

In 2020, a Ghanaian partner who deals in basket export, Gabriel Kumalbeo, realising the harsh conditions under which the women wove their baskets decided to link up for more support for them and brought Kooko Foundation and Irene’s Craft Shop from Germany to the aid of the rural basket weavers.

Irene Bodenhausen is CEO of Irene’s Craft shop in Germany

The Kooko Foundation, Irene’s Craft shop and its partners quickly mobilised resources to put up a well befitting weaving centre that can accommodate about 120 weavers at a time to make weaving sessions more comfortable and with dignity to womanhood.

Gabriel Kumalbeo, a partner to Kooko Foundation and Irene’s Craft Shop said, “these Sherigu-Tangabisi Anasitaaba women weave the Baskets with passion and in happiness despite the bad working environment and that motivated us to look for funds to rescue them from the harsh conditions. They weave international standard Baskets good enough for export.”

“With this beautiful and standard weaving centre, we expect more income coming to them as well as poverty reduction in the weaving communities in the Upper East region,” he added.

Lead team member of Kooko Foundation, Irene Bodenhausen who commissioned the Basket weaving centre at Sherigu-Tangabisi commended the women for empowering themselves in trade that can change their lives and that of their families around.

“These women are very strong and I am not surprised how united and focused they are even on this day. When I first visited them weaving under this tree over there (pointing at the main tree used by the women), I felt motivated in giving them a place worthy of working. So I am very excited that our foundation (Kooko Foundation) has been able to put up this magnificent structure for these women,” she happily outlined.

A member of Sherigu-Tangabisi Anasitaaba women, Modesta Asong, thanked the funding sources, Kooko Foundation and Gabriel Kumalbeo for coming to their rescue especially when the rain is setting in. She said the group is determined and ready to produce more beautiful baskets for export after getting the weaving centre.

As per Volza’s Ghana export data, baskets export shipments from Ghana stood at $150,000, exported by 26 Ghana Exporters to the United States, United Kingdom and Nigeria.

By Mohammed Rabiu Tanko|UE/R|