By Abena Yeboah Paha
Invest For Employment IFE, an International Financial Institution has supported Geolocraft Company Limited with a grant of over one million dollars to establish a crafts vocational training center to train rural women ad youth on straw, wood products, and fashion design.
This was after Geolicraft applied and satisfied all the grant requirements to win the grant. At the ground-breaking ceremony at Dodowa in the Shai Osudoku District of the Greater Accra Region, the Managing Director of Geolicraft Company Limited, lead facilitator of the project, George Akologo said all the country’s unemployment burden can be removed if the craft sector is given the needed priority.
He said the sector has the potential to expand the country’s foreign exchange frontiers due to the high demand for craft products across the globe. Mr. Akologo intimated that the demand for brackets, for instance, is an all-year-round market if when properly harnessed could provide sustainable jobs for rural women and accelerate foreign income.
He was of the view that the much-needed attention required by the sector has been denied, hence the challenge in the import and export sectors. Managing Director of Invest for Employment IFE Rauf Khalaf said the institution exists to assist businesses that have potential and are capable to employ people, especially the youth. Mr. Khalaf applauded Geolicraft for the initiative and urged other small to medium-scale businesses to apply for financial support to expand their businesses since the private sector still remains the engine of Ghana’s economic growth.
The District Chief Executive for Shai Osudoku Fred Offei said the training has come at a time the district is dealing with societal challenges such as teenage pregnancies and high HIV/AIDS rates among the youth. This trend, Mr. Offei believes, is about to change following the opening of the state-of-the-art craft center in the district.
Head of Export Trade at Exim Bank, Judith Aikins, said the bank supported Geolicraft because of the company’s standing in the craft sector and how the training is intended to help alleviate poverty. Mrs. Aikins extended an invitation to similar businesses to access loan facilities the bank has to offer to expand their trade.
Under the project, 100 farmers will also receive skill development training on elephant grass from external experts and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and will be later contracted to provide raw materials to Geolicraft and other companies in the region.
The training is open to anyone interested in the arts and craft sector.