The Income Project (International Service)
The Income team is comprised of Ghanaian and British volunteer’s, which means that there is a cultural exchange which breeds a certain kind of efficiency and productivity which is rare amongst NGO’s. The UK volunteers are all provided by UK charitable organization, International Service, and are all between the ages of 18-25. The volunteers work in three month periods before being replaced with a new cohort of volunteers, under the continued supervision of two team leaders who stay for six months. This means there is a combination of new ideas, but also of focused work, which enables the project to guarantee a high level of success in achieving its aims.
The aim of the project is to try improve the income of local crafts communities in the Bolgatanga area, who are disadvantaged and sometimes disabled, and who in many cases earn only a pittance from what they make. The main communities that we deal with are Vea, Zaare, Yikene, Yebongo and Sumbrungu. These groups are predominantly but not exclusively basket weavers. Other groups include smock makers and jewellery makers. We organise and provide various forms of training; including product diversification, capacity building, business skills and other various forms of support. The training in particular helps the artisans diversify their products and gives them the skills to pass on the other generations. Providing the beneficiaries with business acumen helps them to market their products to the best of their ability and boost their sales. We also educate the craftspeople about Fair Trade, giving them the knowledge to to enable them to get the best deals for themselves.
We also organise the Bolgatanga International Crafts and Arts Festival (BICAF), which we created back in 2013. This is an opportunity for the artisans in the surrounding areas, including beneficiaries of the Income project, to showcase their work. It aims to expand the outreach of their products, not only to increase their sales throughout BICAF but also hopefully create returning customer’s. Previously vendors have included smock makers, basket weavers, leather workers, painters and jewellery makers, amongst other things. It is also our responsibility to promote the festival; through flyers, social media, adverts, trailers and radio, as well as encouraging vendors to attend. We are also responsible for preparing the small details and ensuring that everything runs smoothly.