One hundred members of the Obuasi Miners Wives Association were ‘graduated’ on Wednesday after successfully participating in a – 3 month course in soap and beards making, grasscutter rearing , interior and exterior decoration, communication skills and basic bookkeeping. In Obuasi.
The association, which is affiliated to the Ghana Mineworkers Union, was set up in 2012, to empower its members socially and economically, so that they can work independently to generate job opportunities and sustainable income for themselves. It currently has 800 registered members, most of whom are wives of AngloGold Ashanti employees. Supported by AngloGold Ashanti and the Ghana Mine Workers Union, the association is undoubtedly one of the well-organized community women groups in the country.
The skills training was sponsored by Red Nose Foundation, a poverty reduction group in Finland through SASK, the Swedish Trade Union Solidarity group with Euro 70, 000 for two years of which half of that was spent on the current graduates.
In her opening remarks, Mrs. Doris Appiah – Kubi, secretary of the association, was full of praise for the SASK and Red Nose for the donation, which she said would enable the association to train more of its members next year. “We certainly thank SASK and Red Nose for their contribution in translating our dreams into reality, and hope we will continue to collaborate and build on our achievements”. On challenges facing AngloGold Ashanti, which have affected their husbands , she said the association would ” we understand what is going on in the company, we will continue to pray for the mine to ensure that strategies that are been implemented by management work well for the future viability and profitability of the operation”. She also said “we have hope that when the mine recovers our husbands and children will be employed”.
On her part, Marinnan Nyanatakyi, the West Africa representative of SASK, expressed his happiness with the judicious way the miners’ wives were using the grant to improve their skills and their lives. Collectively she urged the women to work extra hard with their new skills to improve not only their welfare but the lives of other people in their respective communities. Ms. Nyanatakyi also advised the association not to rest on its oars but should extend the association to embrace their fellow women in other mining communities, so that together we can free our people from poverty.
Contributing John Kowus Owusu, Senior Manager of AGA said as you are aware of the challenges facing the Obuasi mine, management is doing all it can to ensure the operation becomes viable and profitable in future and will continue its engagement with all key statekholders on the objective situation on the ground. The trend of affairs has not in any way affected the company’s values on the communities and other stakeholders in the negative way. The Obuasi community Trust, funded solely by the company recently commissioned GHC 600,000 not only for boys but girls as well. We still have the Obuasi Community Trust Fund, we still have the Malaria Control Programme and we still have the Sustainability and Community Relations Department to take care of what we have been doing for you, in respect of social intervention.
By virtue of the fact that the Obuasi miners wives association is part and parcel of the operation suggest that you occupy a prime position in respect of our business and social partners. AGA is happy with your role and it will continue to collaborate with you to grow and develop people, especially women and children; as long as the AGA continues to operates in Obuasi and the country as a whole. All that AGA need from you is your continual support, understanding and patience; you have demonstrated it already and hope you will sustain and expand it.
Mr Eric Melful, Chairman of the Professional and Managerial Staff Union, Obuasi branch of AGA ; who chaired the function, advised the new graduates to produce more quality soap for both internal and external markets, adding that ‘this will enable you to employ people and generate substantial income for yourselves”. He said the big soap manufacturers in the world started their business in their garage in a small way, so they should not be afraid to compete with them. Mr Melful also commended the management of AngloGold Ashanti and the Ghana Mineworkers Union for their contribution to the welfare of the workers and their families and hope they will continue to improve the wellbeing of women on and outside the mine at all times.
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