The skills of the people of Adanwomase in kente weaving has attracted the attention of both domestic and foreign tourists who visit the town to learn more about how the cloth is woven and to also buy some for their personal use and as presents for loved ones.
As part of plans to promote tourism in the town and generate revenue from it, the community set up the Adanwomase Tourism Management Team (ATMT) to manage the Adanwomase Tourism Development Project aimed at coordinating all tourism activities in the area.
Through the support of a Peace Corps volunteer, the community began what is now known as a community-based eco-tourism aimed at raising the standard of living of the people.
This was to co-ordinate the activities of the tourists and better organise them. Previously, tourists just walked around the town and had no one to take them around the place.
However, following the establishment of the Adanwomase Tourism Development Project, tourists now have the option to learn about the whole kente weaving process and the town as well with the aid of well-trained tour guides.
Established in 2004, the Adanwomase Tourism Development Project has been able to raise enough revenue to put up an 18-bedroom facility to provide accommodation for teachers posted to the town. The funding for this project was raised from the fees charged the tourists who visited the place.
Hitherto, most of the teachers posted to the area stayed outside the community and this affected the quality of education.
The team has also been able to build a community library where the pupils go to study, thus making it possible for the schoolchildren to have a place they can comfortably study. This has improved the standard of education in the area.
The management team hopes to establish a Kente Museum at the centre where students from both Ghana and outside the country could come and research in the Ashanti kente cloth and African textiles as well.
Eric Boakye Yiadom, Secretary to the ATMT said management also intended to set up a scholarship scheme to sponsor brilliant, needy students from the community to pursue their education through the revenue from tourism.
“We want to protect and have patent rights for our kente designs so that the Chinese will not duplicate the kente designs that we have created,” he said.
The team also wants to establish a kente weaving institution where the youth from the communities and other areas willing to learn the trade can learn the skill of weaving kente.
This, he said, would cut down on the rural-urban migration and also equip the youth with skills that could make them earn a decent living.
To make their work easier and well-co-ordinated, the district assembly has built a centre for the weavers where they can work even during the rains. It is also to provide the weavers with a more convenient environment where they could ply their trade without any hindrance.
According to the ATMT, most of the youth could hardly afford the initial investment to start their own business and that a financial scheme could be set up solely for people in the industry, particularly the youth to access “a sort of soft loan for the youth to expand their businesses.”
Besides the financial challenges, the road to the centre is also in bad shape and will need to be tarred to make access easier for tourists.
The place also has no accommodation for guests who would want to spend the night there. Though the ATMT has acquired a plot to put up a guest house, it lacks the financial wherewithal to accomplish it.