Sponsored by the Obuasi mine, 25 women in five farming communities in the Obuasi municipal assembly have completed a 3 – week skills training course. Selected from New Dokyiwaa, Kokotesua, Nhyiaso, Binsere and Abompe communities; AngloGold Ashanti Sustainable Development officials say the programme is in line with its community values – “that communities where it operates should benefit from its presence”.
The programme, which involves training in soap and beads making, is meant to create alternative income earning opportunities, for the people in the communities with view to easing their dependence on the mine. “The ‘anti-poverty’ aspect of it is that it will give the women skills to generate independent income to supplement their husbands income and make it easier for both to look after their dependents, particularly our children”, Abena Mansa from Kokotesua village said.
Speaking at a colourful ceremony at Wawase, a suburb of Obuasi, to literally graduate the women Mr. John Kowus Owusu, Senior Manager, Communications and Public Affairs, congratulated the enthusiastic women for their newly acquired skills and urged them to hit the ground running to take advantage of the increasing demand for quality soap in both rural and urban sectors of the country.
The mine is facing challenges and management is currently engaging all the key stakeholders, including the people in the communities and the government for their understanding and support. “The mine will continue to count on your support to ensure the operation is rebuilt on sound footing for our mutual growth and development in future”, Mr Owusu said.
Contributing Nana Ampofo Bekoe, the AngloGold Ashanti Manager for Social and Economic Development, explained that the before the programme became a reality; a comprehensive needs assessment research was carried out to collect and collate the actual needs of women in the critical communities, saying “majority of them suggested skills which will enable them to collectively ease their dependence on the mine and work independently on their own”.
Nana Ampofo said AngloGold Ashanti would continue to care and socially invest in the communities and societies where it operates to improve the social and economic lives of the people, adding “the company is the sole financier of the AngloGold Ashanti Community Trust Fund, it is the right of the communities to select projects of their own choosing”.
He advised the women to work as a team and share their experience with other women, who are yet to participate in the programme”. The Social and Economic Development Manager said – “instead of seeing yourselves as competitors you should complement each other to ensure that your skills benefit everybody in your communities”, he said.
Madam Grace Boateng, who facilitated the training, commended AngloGold Ashanti for its gesture for sponsoring the programme and advised the women to use their skills to generate income to support their families and the communities where they live. She said “you been given the opportunity to work for ourselves and the communities where you come from; this is the time to prove ourselves as women to the world that we can make it when the right environment is created”.
In a related development, sources close to the mine have it that the Ghana Stock Exchange listed – gold miner, AngloGold Ashanti spent about GHC20, 000 on the programme and the good news is that it is first of the series of training interventions planned for the company’s communities. This means that it is timely and opportune for women to hold themselves in readiness to jump for the skills training to better their lives.
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