“Involve SWOPA in tech, voc training in schools”

Some of the products of SWOPA made up wall canvas and wall paintings including earth pots

Some of the products of SWOPA made up wall canvas and wall paintings including earth pots

The Government has been urged to involve the Sirigu Women’s Organisation for Pottery and Art (SWOPA) located in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region in offering its programmes to students of technical and vocational training in the country.


SWOPA which was formed in the area in 1997 had over the years offered training to more than 2,000 girls and women in traditional arts including wall and canvas painting, pottery-making, basket-weaving, batik, tie and dye, and leather works among others.


The facility which also serves as tourist site and had very unique paintings, artefacts among others has a guesthouse made up of bars, restaurant and rooms.  A lot of foreign tourists and personalities including the late Ghanaian-born international diplomat Kofi Annan and other foreign Ambassadors have visited the centre before.


The founder of SWOPA, Madam Melanie Kassise, who made the appeal in an interview with the Ghanaian Times here on Friday, stated that products such as basket, canvas painting, pottery-making, hat and the smock were in high demand in the national and international markets which when looked into properly could help generate foreign exchange for the country.


She said she was looking forward for more support from the government and other development partners for the centre to help train more of the youth in the communities, in the region and beyond.


“This will not only help complement the efforts of the government to achieving her dream of making many youth to learn technical and vocational  skills, but will also help preserve our African culture which is on the verge of extinction,”  she emphasised.


Madam Kassise, explained that she was inspired by her mother, a traditional potter who sold her work to cater for her education up to the University level.


“SWOPA has since grown into a fundamental organisation for the Sirigu community and beyond, providing a place for   people particularly women to receive training to develop their skills and to sell their products to help improve upon their livelihoods,” she added.


The Director of SWOPA, Madam Bridget Kassise, explained that SWOPA was being fully committed to improving the incomes and the livelihoods of the women, their families and the community at large.


She indicated that among the aims of SWOPA is to preserve and develop the traditional culture of the people and to provide tourist services and produce in high quality art that has its roots not only in the village culture of people of the area but the region as a whole.


Madam Kassise stated that women, particularly in rural areas face far greater difficulties in finding employment and generating income than men leading to unpaid family work and low income self-employment activities.


She, therefore, reiterated the need for support to help train more women in marketable skills to empower them economically


“The struggle of women earning an income had been recognised in the region and SWOPA was created as an organisation to help foster greater financial stability for more people especially women and their families. SWOPA in the past with funding support from other development partners such as the Skills Development Fund, Business Sector Advocacy Centre (BUSAC) Fund, Speed Ghana and the Danish Embassy   has over the years offered various skills to many women who are now doing well economically but there is the need to train more of the women who lack the skills to make living,” she added.


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