Plan International Ghana, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) has undertaken feasibility studies in two farming communities for the establishment of a ‘Solar Hub’ in the Sunyani Municipality.
A six-member committee from the NGO, which works to increase the incomes of poor and vulnerable families in the country visited and assessed the suitability to host and manage the Solar Hub at either Antwikrom or Kyeredua.
The establishment of the hub, according to Ms. Rose Aawulenaa, Enterprise Development Specialist at Plan Ghana was in line with the implementation of her organisation’s Women’s Innovation for Sustainable Enterprise (WISE) project in parts of the country.
WISE project, an intervention, which sought to improve the social position of women, creates economic opportunities for them, increase their control over resources and decision-making in households, and community levels, is being funded by Global Affairs Canada.
The Solar Hub, a fabricated kiosk imported from Germany would provide relevant information on weather patterns, link women farmers to marketers, agro-processors and financial institutions, and Business Advocacy Centres (BACs) and also improve farmers’ connectivity to the internet and it would be managed by a hub volunteer at the community level.
Interacting with the Bono Regional Minister at a meeting in Sunyani, Ms Aawulenaa explained the WISE project targeted 12,641 women between 19 and 55 years spread across 150 communities in the Tolon and Kumbungu Districts as well as Sunyani, Tano North, and Techiman Municipalities.
The WISE Project is using Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) as a means to mobilise women to build social networks and access financial resources through savings and loans, she explained.
On her part, Ms. Owusu-Banahene lauded the implementation of the project and underlined the need to empower women farmers in rural communities for poverty reduction.
She noted if rural women were economically empowered, they would be in a better position to engage in commercial farming as a business venture.
Ms. Owusu-Banahene indicated the establishment of the solar hub would greatly help women farmers to access ready markets for their produce, which would contribute towards job creations and the expansion of economic activities.
“The establishment of the solar hub is, therefore, a timely intervention to improve their economic level since it would serve as an information centre where green business products would be sold”, she added.
Ms. Owusu-Banahene said already the Sunyani Municipal Assembly had incorporated solar hub management into the 2022-2025 medium-term development plan and allocated a budget for its implementation including those who would manage the hub.
“The Assembly has also included a maintenance plan for sustainability of the solar hub during and after the closure of the WISE project”, she explained.
Ms. Belinda Bukari, Committee Chairperson for Plan International Solar Hub regretted that perishable crops rot away in the communities because of lack of storage and ready markets for the produce.
She expressed appreciation to the Regional Minister for her zeal, support, and commitment towards the implementation of the WISE project and establishment of the Solar Hub in the Municipality and prayed the Municipal Assembly would commit enough resources to support the project to achieve success.