The Upper East region is the most impoverished area of Ghana, with 90% of the people living below the poverty line. Trade Aid Integrated is a non-profit organization created to find employment for the rural poor of northern Ghana.
Generations of women from 17 different communities near Bolgatonga, the provincial capital, have learned to weave the distinctive and brightly-colored bolga baskets, using sturdy elephant grass, which grows along rivers and streams, and other natural fibers. More than 250 basket makers benefit from the services offered by Trade Aid including professional training, marketing outlets, raw material accessibility, and management skills.
Through fair trade, members of Trade Aid are paid a fair price for each basket and additional funds are invested in the community. Trade Aid has constructed shelters that protect weavers and their supplies from the weather. The shelters also provide a space for gathering when weather is bad, and for basket weavers to learn from each other, build community and generate unity.