The Enterprising Excellent Woman

MELANIE THADDAE KASISE - Founder of SWOPA

UPPER EAST REGION

" Melanie's lifelong dream was to help improve the livelihoods of women in her community to boost family incomes and increase educational opportunities for children. "

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MelanieIn the vibrant village of Sirigu in the Upper East Region, Excellence has nested a timeless range of masterful artistry in the form of paintings, pottery and weaving. These exquisite artworks are professionally designed and marketed by a formidable organization of women called the Sirigu Women's Organisation of Pottery and Arts (SWOPA). Melanie Thaddae Kasise, a woman full of creative energy and laughter is the founder of SWOPA.

She completed basic education at St. Mary's Primary School in Navrongo, acquired Middle Leaving Certificate from St. Agnes Middle School, Jirapa, and obtained a Teaching Certificate 'A' at Holy Child Training College in Takoradi. After studies in Early Childhood Education in Golder Mier International Training Center, Israel, she acquired a Diploma in Advanced Study of Education from the University Of Cape Coast in 1977, after which she pursued a career in Education. She was Regional Organizer for Kindergarten Education; and then Regional Manager for all Basic Education in the Navrongo, Bolgatanga Diocese of the Catholic Church until she retired in 1995. A dormitory in Bosco's College is named after her for her unique contribution to education. Melanie also represented the UER women in the consultative Assembly that drew up the 1992 Constitution, and was the first female presiding member of Kassena-Nankana District Assembly.

Melanie's lifelong dream was to help improve the livelihoods of women in her community to boost family incomes and increase educational opportunities for children. In 1997, she transformed a regular hobby among the women in her village into a formidable income earning enterprise for the women and youth of Sirigu. Under her dynamic and forward-thinking style of leadership, SWOPA has become an internationally respected body, commanding visits by tourists and investors all over the world. His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan visited SWOPA in 2004.

SWOPA has since established the Sirigu Builders Association - SIBA; an organization of men tasked with building more durable, quality houses which are painted by the women, and produces canvas paintings on a large scale for export. It has worked with SPEED Ghana to upgrade the processing of Pottery, by refining the works in a kiln which would significantly reduce chances of breakage during transportation. Now, with a membership of over 300 people, and a staff capacity of about 20 people, SWOPA has become unstoppable.

In 2007, Melanie Kasise received a National Grand Medal award in recognition of her contributions to regional development.

SPV Ghana praises Madam Melanie Kasise for her good works and congratulates her on her selection by her community as Upper East Region Portrait of Excellence; and for winning the contest as Ghana's Ambassador of Excellence 2008.

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