The Kuapa Kokoo Gender Programme was instituted in 1998 to address issues with gender inequality among members. According to a research report in 1996, women had low income because they owned small parcels of land; they invested more effort and time in the cocoa value chain but had the least benefit; and women produced better quality cocoa. During the period 26% of members of Kuapa were women. The programme was instituted to address the special needs of women members in the Union. The principal objectives of the Programme was to promote social, economic and political empowerment among women; stimulate women’s economic activitie; break the vicious cycle of poverty among women and vulnerable groups; cultivate the habit of savings among women; and improve women’s access to credit.
The programme is composed of four main projects including Sensitization and Empowerment Project, Micro-Credit Project, Group Income-generating activities and Adult Literacy Project.
SENSITIZATION AND EMPOWERMENT
This project aims at providing both leadership and skill training to enhance the capacity of women to take up leadership roles and open an avenue for extra income to improve the well-being of their families. Training modules includes “good agronomic practices” (GAP) and Capacity building workshops.
The micro credit project provides loans at concessionary rates to women groups to enable women access the needed funds for their income generating activities. The project also trains women on “records keeping” to track expenses and improve savings habit.
ALTERNATIVE LIVELIHOOD PROJECT
This involves training to provide livelihood skills to women to create alternative source of income to complement income earned from cocoa. The project provides skill training in Batik-tie-and-dye, palm oil-extraction, soap-making, bread and pastries etc. The project also provides tools and equipment necessary to set the women up to begin production. So far 444 women have been trained in livelihood skills
ADULT LITERACY PROJECT
This project is aimed at providing basic literacy and numeracy skills to enhance the capacity of women to take on roles that require such skills. Anecdotal evidence from beneficiaries points to the fact that many learners feel more confident after completing the training and are more actively involved with Kuapa’s activities. Ophelia Awusutor of Aduyaakrom Zone said in an interview “My husband is a Purchasing Clerk. Attending the adult literacy has helped me to weigh and record cocoa. I can now help him purchase more cocoa for Kuapa”
Kuapa’s achievements in the area of female empowerment are demonstrated by the composition of the current national Executive Council which has 6 female members which includes the second successive female president. There are 53 active women’s groups in 13 District Societies trained in alternative livelihoods activities to increase their income and well-being. Women’s share of the total population has increased from 26% in 1998 to 33% in 2014.