Giant purified water and drinks bottling company Voltic Ghana limited on Thursday, International Women’s Day (IWD) reached out to equip and empower over three hundred women working as plastic pickers within the sanitation sector in the Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi.
The initiative which cost the company some forty thousand cedis (GHC40,000) formed part of the company’s corporate social investment to the public and an avenue to champion responsible plastic waste management in the Kumasi metropolis.
The outreach begun with a clean up exercise where staff of Voltic Ghana Limited together with the plastic pickers cleared all plastic garbage stuck along the road from top high junction through to the Commercial Area of the KNUST campus.
The women were taken through free health screening and some health education with Voltic taking the cost of renewing and registering the beneficiaries unto the National Health Insurance Scheme.
Public Affairs and Communications Manager with Voltic Ghana, Mrs. Joyce Aheadomeh told Ultimate News the event was to recognize the forgotten women whose contribution are least recognized on the occasion of the International Women’s Day.
“When we are celebrating women, we usually focus on accomplished women in society. However, there is another group of women who are unsung. They have been doing wonderful things to support the socio- economic development of Ghana. We also realized that in picking these waste materials from the streets, they usually do it with their bare hands which don’t augur well for their health,“ he said.
Mrs. Joyce Aheadomeh assured that such programs aimed at empowering marginalized and recognizing women on the occasion of the International Women’s Day had come to stay on the calendar of the Company.
They were also introduced to a special picking stick designed in collaboration with the Engineering Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and a Ghanaian – German group Technology Without Borders.
The stick made up of sharp spikes at its tip is to help the pickers stick up a plastic waste with little bodily contact and bending with less strain to the pickers’ backs and waists.
Final year Geography student with the KNUST and project and program coordinator with Technology Without Borders Edmond Arthur Brown was optimistic such initiatives targeting waste pickers and ‘garbage scavengers’ can help rid Ghana of the plastics menace.
He pointed out that, “We introduced these picking sticks because a lot of the women pick with their bare hands which is not good for their health. A lot of them were also complaining of waist problems because they have to keep bending to pick each rubber container. Besides most of them are old women and if we continue to innovate solutions to support them we will get to reduce if not clear the plastic waste in the city.”
A beneficiary Akua Grusi was grateful for the gesture which she feels will enhance their work of picking and selling plastics for a living.
“I used to pick plastics and clean up the Sofoline area but we are now working in central market. Voltic has given us gloves and these metals and we have also been taught some issues about health. We no longer have to bend and be getting waist problems,” a grateful Auntie Akua told Ultimate News’ Ivan Heathcote – Fumador.
By: Ghana/Ultimatefmonline.com/106.9FM/Ivan Heathcote-Fumador/Makafui Ameyibor