The Facility Welcomes Children
Children’s World Impact has financed the construction of a kindergarten/daycare facility in Ullo, the village where the widows’ project is located. This facility serves the children of this community, many of whom are children of the widows that currently benefit from the different aspects of the project we financed and implemented. Kindergarten children from surrounding villages, who previously attended classes under a nearby tree, will attend kindergarten here, as it has been approved by the Ghanian government.
The facility is comprised of four buildings enclosed by fencing for security and a locked gate at its entrance. There is a main classroom building, that houses two very large classrooms complete with chalkboards, ceiling fans, and desks for learning. There is also a small administrative building, that has an area for storage. In addition, there are bathroom facilities, complete with running water (a rare commodity in rural Ghana), and finally, a building where cooking will take place, as this facility will act as a feeding center for all children who attend.
The project in Ullo was developed by Brother John Bosco Bongnea, who developed UWAID (Ullo Widows Association in Development, after recognizing the need for support for the many widows and their dependent children who were living in this region; the region of his birth and upbringing. Set up like a co-op, widows pay a small fee to be part of the association, which gives them access to the various elements of the project, all developed to give them opportunity to empower themselves and better support their families.
Early on in the project a well was dug and mechanized, allowing water to be delivered to the main building where most of the activity would take place. The digging of the well has also allowed the widows to grow and irrigate crops during the dry season, which provides them produce to sell at their local markets during times that would otherwise be impossible due to the weather. The well will also provide running water to the school, which is quite rare in this rural part of Ghana.
The other major component of the project is the main building, which contains motorized shea butter processing equipment and grain grinding machinery, an area equipped with industrial sized baking equipment, and sophisticated machinery that filters and bags potable water than can be sold by the widows in their local area.
Shea Butter Processing
Shea nuts grow wild in much of Ghana. Traditionally, women harvest the fruit from the shea trees and spend a great deal of time processing the inner nut into shea butter, which is used for cooking.
This process is long and tedious, taking days for the final product to be completed. For a small fee, women can use the motorized equipment to expedite the process. Women can produce a useable product in a day with this equipment, giving them shea butter for their own consumption as well as a sellable product for their local markets. In addition, they have access to grinding machinery for corn, millet, and other grains.
CWI has financed the purchase of two industrial sized baking ovens, a mixer, and bread kneader, which are housed in the mid section of the main building. Trainers have been brought in to instruct women in the proper production of bread. Many widows have learned the techniques and gained the skills to bake bread, which can be sold in local markets.
Because of the quantity of bread that can be produced, thanks to this equipment, the women have garnered a contract with the local senior secondary school. They bake bread for over 1,200 students who attend and live at this school, which is located in the village of Ullo.
The far right side of the main building houses a modern, technical water bagging machine. This machine takes water pumped from the well, filters it numerous times, and bags and seals the water in plastic bags. These bags of water provide widows with an income as they are able to sell them throughout their communities.
Traditionally, water is provided to each guest of any large social gathering such as a wedding or funeral. This machine, along with a truck that was purchased by CWI for water transportation, has allowed many women to make an income through the sale of water. The production of clean water has been a huge success for the widows!