In 2015, the Amenuveve Batik Cooperative was established in Woadze Tsatoe, Ghana to empower hardworking women to think more creatively. Prior to the creation of Amenuveve, the village's only source of income came from selling tilapia at the local market that the men caught in the nearby lake. Faced with a dying fish population, many of the village women wanted to help contribute to their family's source of income.
Originally, three business ventures were considered – weaving, bead-making or batiking – to help supplement other seasonal incomes of village members. As time passed, however, the path forward became clear: batiking, an ancient Ghanaian tradition that involves wax-resist dyeing and colorful block printing on cotton to create bright, vibrant patterns, was the unanimous choice. Because of their passion for fashion, the founding women viewed batiking as a chance to thread their own, and their community's, narratives into artisanal handmade products.
To better reflect their identity, the women chose to name the batik cooperative "Amenuveve," which means “Grace” in Ewe, their local native language. The name represents the way in which its members come together to create their beautiful batik designs. With grace, these strong women gather together each day to join in their passion and hone their craft.
Amenuveve has since grown to become the village's primary income source. Today, the women of Amenuveve continue to share their stories inside and outside Ghana through their uniquely beautiful batik designs.
Nestled amongst the hills around Lake Volta in eastern Ghana, Woadze Tsatoe (pronounced Wed-jey Cha-chuay) is a small fishing village of roughly 500 residents. As a community, Woadze Tsatoe is spirited, energetic and well nourished. They are also very committed to their own development and have an aspirational bent. Working alongside Adanu, our Ghanaian non-profit partner, the village has led the construction of a new schoolhouse, a fully functional clean water system and a batik shed to support a batik business that sells products in Ghana and other international markets.
Unique Artisan Design
Gathering inspiration from the community and the surrounding environment, Amenuveve's artisans seek to portray their daily lives with their designs. Each product is uniquely crafted using handmade printing blocks, creating a perfect forum for self-expression.
Amenuveve empowers women who seek to be creative and hold leadership positions. By earning their own incomes, these women now serve as an example for other young women in their community who are aspiring to provide for their families after completing school.
The members of Amenuveve have taught each other batik skills, spreading their knowledge and encouraging other community members to join them. The incomes generated from their batik sales are felt community-wide, fueling greater investment in education and infrastructure initiatives.