Paku Enterprise Ghana, in collaboration with the African Market Baskets of the Overseas Connection of United States of America (USA), as part of efforts to help curb the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), has provided assorted items to more than 10 Bolgatanga straw basket weaver groups in the Upper East Region.
The items, valued over GH¢10,000 included 105 Veronica buckets, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and handwashing soaps. This would enable members of the weaver groups to wash their hands with soap under running water as well as regularly apply the hand sanitizers in a bid to help prevent them from contracting the COVID-19 virus.
The items were distributed to weaver groups in Zorbisi, Bolga-Sherigu, Zaare, Sumbrungu, Sokabisi, Yorogo, Sumbrungu, Zorko, Nyariga, and Yikene.
In addition to these items, the staff of the two organizations distributed educational materials, mostly posters on measures to prevent contracting the COVID-19 virus, the signs and symptoms of the virus in infected persons as well as the National/local emergency COVID-19 shortcodes for medical support in the event of a suspected case.
They also donate educational materials such as reading and textbooks, pens, pencils, mathematics set, and computers among other to the beneficiary children within the basket producing communities to help in their studies while at home.
The two organizations also educated the groups in the respective communities to observe personal hygiene, social distancing, and prompt reporting of suspected cases to the medical authorities and most importantly avoid stigmatization of suspected persons as well as all other laid down protocols.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Paku Enterprise Ghana, Paul Akurugu, noted that although the COVID-19 pandemic had affected everybody in one way or the other, the basket weaver groups who are mostly women are among the most vulnerable groups that require immense support to keep them safe from contracting the virus.
It was also to help sustain their businesses while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic since it is their only source of livelihoods, he added.
He stated that his outfit, in conjunction with the African Market Baskets of the Overseas Connection of USA, has been working with the basket weaver groups in the region for many years and have been supporting the groups in diverse ways.
Mr. Akurugu said the organisation as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility is to collaborate with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to register and renew the NHIS subscriptions of all members of the weaver groups, including their children.
He expressed worry about the rate at which the COVID-19 pandemic had affected the basket industry, saying the traditional skill which has been handed down from generation to generation, provides employment to approximately 10,000 people (mostly women) in the producer communities.
Akologoma Nsomah and Ayampoka Aduko, leaders of the basket weavers at Sumbrugu and Sokabisi respectively commended the organisations for their support in protecting them as well helping to boost their businesses.
They also reiterated their commitment to also educate the rest of the groups, ensure all have access to the items, and also adhere to the directives to prevent the spread of the diseases at their workplaces.