Ghana: A woman’s job means more than a paycheck

Store keeper, Ghana. Credit: Erin Schiavone.

Kubura Sulemana works as a store keeper for AIRS in northern Ghana.  Kubura shares how working has impacted her life and her vision for future generations of women in Ghana

Where I live in Savelugu in the north of Ghana, people work as farmers or petty traders. Many of them see a woman’s place as in the house, taking care of children. However, I wanted to work.

I recently began my first job working for the USAID indoor residual spraying (IRS) project as a store keeper. Many people in my community get sick from malaria, some even die. IRS is the spraying of the interior of homes with insecticide that kills mosquitoes that transmit malaria. My family and all our neighbors have their homes sprayed so we will not get sick.

As an IRS store keeper, I take careful records of inventory of project equipment. I make sure that all the materials are in stock and insecticide is kept in a safe, secure place.

I can still remember how excited I was to receive my first paycheck. I was disciplined and invested half of my wages in slippers that I resell at the local market for a profit. I shared the rest of my pay with my parents to help them take care of my nine brothers and sisters.

Although I am the only one of my female friends with a job, I’m hopeful that career opportunities for women in Ghana will expand. When I have a family of my own, my dream is for my daughter to receive a good education so she can get a steady job and provide a better life for her family.

-Kubura Sulemana, store keeer, AIRS Ghana

AIRS trained 200 women to support the 2012 IRS campaign in Ghana. Although women only make up about 15% of seasonal staff, the project hopes to hire more women in the future. Spray Operations Coordinator Osman Alhassan, who supervises Kubura, said two of the three store keepers in his district are women. He’s found female staff to be reliable, hardworking, and detail oriented.

Studies show that empowering women has a ripple effect. Women who control the family income are more likely to invest in education and health care. According to The World Bank, providing education and job opportunities for women leads to increased economic productivity, more representative policies, and better development outcomes for the entire community.