Mara consortium, a collection of establishments – Mara Foods, Mara Closet, and Beautiful Smiles Project – run by young female entrepreneur, Maria Johana Yuorpor, has taken its monthly community outreach to Kpongu community in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region.
Held on Friday, March 4, 2022, the outreach for the ‘February month of love’ brought together about 70 women and girls under a single roof discussing matters of mutually inclusive community development importance.
The event afforded an opportunity for the assessment of women empowerment and community development needs as well as value chain analysis of economic opportunities in the community.
Addressing the gathering of women and young girls, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the consortium, Maria Johana Yuorpor said the role of women in community development could not be overemphasized and hence her desire to have women contribute meaningfully to the development of their communities.
She said women could contribute meaningfully to community development when they live in a nondiscriminatory society with no structural barriers, which is tenable through social and economic empowerment.
“I, together with my friends here, are concerned about the lives and development of people living in the interiors…and whatever that can be done to change the status quo is of paramount concern to us,” Madam Yuorpor stated.
She said it was not all about sharing monies and material things in hand but providing lifelong learning opportunities and an enabling environment for social and behavioral transformation through such means as communication, dialogue and skills training.
Madam Yuorpor thus encouraged the women to explore the potentials within their environments and make maximum economic benefits out of them which will lead to their empowerment.
The Mara Foods CEO outlined a number of opportunities in the agricultural and production bvalue chains which the women could team up to derive economic benefits.
Lecturer at the University for Development Studies (UDS), Dr. Naazie Ibrahim, addressing participants at the event, said development was a gradual process and achieved through conscious steps and approaches such as the outreach.
She said it was a rare gesture and a unique approach to development being adopted by the Mara consortium to achieve sustainable growth and development in the society.
Dr. Naazie, while craving the indulgence of participants to engage in objective and open-minded discussions, asked them to always lower their expectations and look beyond short-term benefits into future long-term prospects of such avenues that might come their way.
Urging the women to utilize the opportunities around them, she expressed conviction that it would help create more jobs for them and the youth, and thus reduce poverty, rural-urban migrations and their attendant consequences in the long run.
The participants, who were mostly farmers and traders, through the discussions, identified some challenges that confront them in their areas of work as well as remedies to solving them.
They expressed gratitude to the Mara consortium for finding them worthy of the outreach and promised to work in tandem to achieve their collective desired goals.
Community outreaches and engagements with youth and rural folks form part of Maria Johana Yuorpor’s widow’s mite contributions towards achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in the Upper West Region. She blends these with skills trainings, career coaching among others for the appropriate classes of people.
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