The Sirigu Women’s Organization for Pottery and Art (SWOPA), a women-led organisation based in Sirigu, is embarking on a project to promote peace in six communities in the Kassena-Nankana West District and Kassena-Nankana Municipality of the Upper East Region.

The project involves engaging women who hail from a particular community but are married to another community, otherwise known as ‘Poyaasi’ in the Gurune language, and their children, also known as ‘Isi’.

These women are empowered to promote peace and resolve conflicts in their communities and families. The 6 communities for the project include Sirigu, Kandiga, Mirigu, Nabango, Doba, and Yua.

The SWOPA implemented project is funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives under the theme ‘Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution: Leveraging it Through Intermarriages.”

The Manageress of SWOPA, Bridgette Akasise Adongo said women were targeted for the project because they have what it takes to talk to opposing parties so that their hearts will be softened to come to a consensus.

“In our tradition, a woman is a peacemaker, and her children too. For example, if a woman is from Sirigu but married to Yua and there is a dispute between the two communities, she would be affected in two folds. Her community, Sirigu where she hails from will be affected because her relatives are there, and in Yua where she is married, her relatives will also be affected. So because of that, we think that grouping these women according to the communities they hail [from] and [where they] marry [from], will help in peacebuilding among communities.”

Aside from resolving conflicts, Mrs. Adongo said the women can also mediate, “supposing someone from Yua wants to marry a lady from Sirigu and the people of Sirigu do not support it. A woman from Sirigu but married in Yua earlier can intervene by telling her brothers in Sirigu that she wants the lady to join her and assist her in the household chores.”

She spoke to the media during a durbar at Yua-Taribisi in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality to sensitise the people on the need to maintain peace.

Mrs Bridget Akasesi Adongo

The peace project which started in 2021 and is expected to end in February 2023, targeted an estimated number of over 3,000 women to promote and resolve peace in the 6 communities. Since the disputed Doba and Kandiga land erupted, women and children from both communities can now cross safely to both communities for socialisation due to the impact of the ‘Poyaasi’ and ‘Isi’ concept.

Mrs. Adongo called for collective efforts to maintain peace in the communities.

“Let us try and put these groups in any communities we find ourselves in. If there is no peace, there can never be any development because when we build mansions, schools, and hospitals and there is war in that community, all that will be useless because when they burn them, we have to start all over.”

The Paramount Chief of Sirigu, Naba Atogumdeya Roland Akwara III thanked SWOPA for implementing the project to maintain and restore peace in communities.

“This project is useful to restore peace because once it is concerning Isi and Poyaasi, then it brings about intermarriages. If there is any misunderstanding, they will understand each other and iron out issues to do away with conflicts”, Secretary to the chief, Arden Akurigo spoke on his behalf.

Samuel Adatara who hails from Yua but uncle’s Sirigu community said hitherto the implementation of the project in his area, some differences could have created disunity among the community members. But the implementation of the Poyaasi and Isi concept has come to further deepen their relationship.

A lecturer with CKT-UTAS, Raymond Atanga Aitibasa urged the women to serve as peacemakers in their homes and communities while taking the education of their children seriously. The occasion was climaxed with an exhibition of indigenous foods, drama, and cultural display toward promoting peace.

Source:|101.1Mhz|Joshua Asaah|Yua|Ghana

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