In September 2012, G-lish was awarded funding under the Direct Aid Program of the Australian High Commission in Ghana to carry out a US$ 15,000.00 project: Community Artisan and Fair Trade Market Development Project, which will run until June, 2013.
On the 21st of November, 2012, the Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, HE William (Billy) Williams, and the Public Affairs Officer, Mr Walter Kudzodzi, visited G-lish Foundation on a four-day tour to the Northern and Upper East Regions to launch development projects funded by the Australian Government.
G-lish staff and producers were delighted to welcome Mr Williams and Mr Kudzodzi at the office on the 21st of November. We had a fruitful discussion about G-lish’s history and present activities, the Australian High Commission’s activities in the three northern regions and in the West African sub-region. We discussed the difference the funded project will make to basket producers in the Upper East Region, and how it fits with G-lish Foundation’s mission and long-term objectives.
After meeting in the office we travelled to the main village where G-lish works and met producers working in their compound, and weavers working in the shade of a tree, showcasing our wonderful, hard-working and welcoming producers, the environment where they live and work, and G-lish’s efforts in sustainable income generation projects.
The project has two major objectives.
1) Community Artisan Development
- Develop a community of artists through capacity building creativity workshops and training on the fundamentals of colour and design.
- Develop an art market for woven, recycled fibre art pieces and textile art internationally
- Increase opportunities for high-level income generation for impoverished communities in rural Ghana.
- This fits with G-lish’s long-term vision to develop an Arts and Crafts Centre in Bolgatanga.
2) Fair Trade Market Development
- Increase income levels for thousands of straw basket weavers across the Upper East Region
- Analyse the traditional straw Bolga basket market through a series of meetings and programs in multiple basket-making communities across the region
- Assess prices paid to producers against fair trade prices and income levels.
- Influence international and domestic buyers to pay fair prices to producers for woven baskets made by straw
- Reduce or completely close the gap between producers and buyers to cut out the middle men traders and increase prices paid to producers.
- Compile this information into a report and reference materials for buyers and the World Fair Trade Organisation to help buyers know what a producer will take home at bench-marked price points and basket types
- Document the supply chain so that it is transparent to all parties
- The final reports will be made available to the public.
Below: Former Australian High Commission to Ghana, HE William Williams, and Gayle Pescud of G-lish Foundation with weavers and artisans demonstrating recycled basket weaving processes