International Women’s Day: Azunne Asakiboba Weaves her Way Out of Poverty

March 8, 2017


Azunne Asakiboba’s weaving enabled her to restore her self-esteem and provide for her family when her husband fell ill.    

© Kwaku David

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we are publishing a series of portraits of exceptional women throughout the week. Thanks to vocational skills in basket and hat weaving, Azunne Asakiboba has been able to pay her children’s school fees and provide regular meals for her family.

GAMBORONGO, March 8, 2017─Azunne Asakiboba is a native of Gamborongo, a community in the Bongo district located in the upper east region of Ghana. At about 65 years old, she is the sole breadwinner of her household. Last year, she enrolled in the Complementary Income Generation Support Scheme, supported by the Japanese Social Development Fund (JSDF) and implemented through the World Bank, where she was able to learn vocational skills in straw basket and hat weaving and was subsequently provided with a start-up grant of GHC 645.00 ($150) to begin trading in basket weaving.

“The training program has polished my skills in basket weaving, and I am able to weave a variety of attractive baskets for sale,” explained Asakiboba.

The JSDF productive inclusion initiative is a pilot program that seeks to strengthen the social protection system in Ghana, and ensure that the country’s poorest are able to break the cycle of poverty through access to coordinated services and the introduction of a sustainable livelihood.

With this support, Asakiboba has been able to produce on average three baskets per week from which she makes a profit of GHC 30.00 ($7). This supplementary income allows her to pay the fees of her three children who are in primary school and regularly provide three meals for her household. She has joined a susu scheme (a village savings) where she is able to access credit in times of emergency.

Asakiboba is also benefiting from the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) program, the national cash transfer program, as well as from the Labor Intensive Public Works (LIPW) which provides seasonal employment. Both the LEAP and LIPW programs are components of the Ghana Social Opportunities Project, a 133.6 million World Bank-funded program.

“I used to struggle to make ends meet because my husband developed a mental illness and therefore could no longer provide for the family. Thanks to the combined supported from the Public Works program, the LEAP Cash Transfer, and the Complementary Livelihood Skills program, today I am able to provide the basic needs of my household and regain my dignity as a responsible and productive woman in my community.”