Some women, mostly traders in the Ledzorkuku constituency in the Greater Accra Region have been given a boost with an interest free loan to enable them expand their businesses.
Others are also going to benefit from a skills training scheme including dress making and hairdressing.
The 40-20 project- 40 interest free loan beneficiaries and 20 skills trainees- was launched in Accra with pageantry, Sunday.
The project which is an initiative of the office of the First lady Rebecca Nana Akufo-Addo is in collaboration with the Member of Parliament for Ledzorkuku Dr Oko Nii Boye and a microfinance company.
Even though the scheme will be replicated in other constituencies across the country, the Ledzorkuku constituency was selected to kick-start the whole project, the MP of the area told Myjoyonline.com.
According to him, the project is part of efforts by the government to reduce unemployment through skills training and micro finance in the constituencies and the country as a whole.
“What we are doing is that we have partnered a micro-finance and we have paid the interest that is on the loan. So all the women in this constituency who will get the loan will pay exactly what they got. So if you get a ¢1,000, you are going to pay a ¢1,000 between six months to 18 months.
“Today 20 women have gotten a ¢1,000.00 each and other 20 have ¢500.00 each. It is not only a loan scheme. We’ve also added skills training programme. We have actually paid for the machines. So 10 people have been put into learning of sewing and another 10 receiving hair driers to be put into hairdressing and cosmetology,” he said.
Explaining the criteria for selecting the women, the MP said the women were asked to send applications to the micro-finance company detailing what business they are doing or wish to do, the amount of money involved and how much they wish to be supported with.
The Microfinance then proceeded to ascertain the risk involved in the businesses before selecting and paying out the cash to the applicants.
The MP denied assertion the scheme was only opened to members of the ruling party, insisting it is open for women in general in the constituency.
“The reason why we came out with this scheme is that more often than not what makes the women struggle is the interest that is put on the loan that makes it difficult for them to pay back the interest and survive in their business,” he said.
The MP charged the beneficiaries to pay back in order for the scheme to be expanded.
The programme was also used to honour the longest serving New Patriotic Party member, a woman who was part of the formation of the UGCC and played instrumental roles in the United Party (UP) and now the NPP.
Sophia Ayorkor Klu, 98, born in January 1919, was present at the occasion wearing a gracious smile and showed no sign of a tired mind.
She was able to make out the MPs, the Regional Minister Ishmael Ashitey, party and constituency chairmen who attended the programme.
MP for Tema West, Titus Glover who was present at the occasion, described Sophia Klu as an evergreen woman with an “active mind.”
He applauded the decision of his colleague to honour the woman who has been instrumental in the affairs of the party, saying “this is the time of honour her, not when she is dead and gone.”
Sophia Klu was showered with gifts, money and a plaque with a citation which would be presented to her by the first lady within the week.
The programme was attended by some of the party bigwigs including Adjirii Blankson, who is now a member of the Council of State, Ishmeal Ashitey, Regional Minister, Mr Vincent Sowah Odotei, Nii Adjei Klu, Alfred Boye and the MCEs for La Dadekotopon and Ledzorkuku.