The fair of change in Sanzule

 By Marilia Cioni

The Business and Market Fair that took recently place in Sanzule, is a further example of the initiatives that the Ghana’s Western Region has been witnessing in the last years, thanks to the Livelihood Restoration Plan (LRP), one of Eni’s initiatives to diversify local economy…

“Learning soap making has changed it all for me. I have been able to save money. I was even able to use some of that money to cater from my mother when she fell ill. Now, in case of an emergency, I have money I can fall back on. I like the soap making business” – says Monica. The enthusiasm for her business is evident in the artful way she displays her products on her own stand.

During the market fair, Monica sells the products of her new soapmaking business

Participants displayed crops, livestock and manufactured goods – including pigs, live spent layers and crates of fresh eggs, bread and bakery goods, vegetables, furniture, soap, clothing, shoes and sandals – to the citizens of Sanzule, Krisan, Eikwe and Old Bakanta, the villages that neighbor the Onshore Receiving Facility (ORF) of the Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) Integrated Deepwater Oil&Gas Project. OCTP has a strong impact on Ghana as a whole, since it provides stable, affordable and reliable gas supplies for power generation, enhancing access to energy. For the villages neighboring the project, the effects are felt in multiple other ways.

One of the participants who has chosen to be a sheepfarmer

“I used to be a farmer” says Eshun, now a poultry breeder. “I would spend the whole day under the scorching sun, but despite much effort production was not enough. When this project came up, I chose poultry, something I knew nothing about. But I picked up quick, I like the birds, the business is going so well that I can have big dreams now. I want to become one of the best poultry farmers in Western Region, I am thinking of setting up a poultry-training centre. I want to change how people see poultry in this district”.

Poultry breeding can be a very rewarding business

A disruptive change

The LRP program provided training and support to start new businesses to approximately 1400 people from 205 households, and is contributing to changing the dynamism of the district. At the Business and Market Fair, attended by the local Chiefs and Queen Mother, the District Chief Administrator expressed amazement at the variety of products now available, and suggested to turn this event into a regular one, to celebrate the community’s entrepreneurship and leverage access to a broader market.

Queen Mother Akua Denhye II and Hon. Kwasi Bonzo District Chief Executive amazed by the new vulcanizer

Some of the initiatives improved activities that already existed. Joyce was into dressmaking, with one pedal-powered sewing machine in a palm-leaves workshop. “Now I have two industrial sewing machines, a mannequin and a buttonholes machine. They also converted my workshop from the raffia palm to a block building with solar panels and an electricity meter to switch to electricity if my solar panels run out of power. I have four apprentices, and I can focus on creating new styles for my customers”.

Other participants in the LRP chose options that were not available in the community, to make new services available, such as the vulcanizer that can repair vehicles’ tyres, or the shoemaker. Others dared to cross the established gender roles to fulfil their dreams, just like Mabel, who always wanted to be a welder: “My parents could not pay for the welders’ school, so when this opportunity came, I decided to try. Eni took me to a master welder who taught me his skills. I will be leaving my masters shop soon to start my own. I have all the welding equipment, and I also plan to train those in need who want to learn the job”. Besides creating new opportunities, LRP triggered a ripple effect that is giving the whole community a new energy.

READ MORE: Eni Ghana for Sanzule’s households by Marilia Cioni

about the author
Marilia Cioni
Marilia is a content producer and press officer at Eni, where she focuses on Exploration, Upstream and Technical Activities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Previously she worked for Italian news agency Agi, where she was in charge of international relations.