The founder of Nkulenu Industries the late Dr. Mrs. Esther Ocloo Nee Nkulenu would have been 100 years old in April this year and her lifetime achievements remembered and recounted nationally and globally to inspire the can do attitude among Africans and Ghanaians in particular.
The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) on Friday launched the centenary celebration of the late Dr. Esther Ocloo, who was also the founder and three-time president, of the Association to celebrate her achievements.
The planned centenary celebration activities includes a memorial service slated for March 23, 2019, at Peki-Dzake, an inaugural lecture and launch of the Esther Ocloo Memorial Foundation, slated for April this year, as well as a thanksgiving service proposed to be held on April 28, 2019 at the Aggrey Chapel, Achimota School.
The launch, which was held in Accra, was on the theme: “Honouring a Legend of Her Time”.
The late Dr. Mrs. Esther Ocloo was born on April 18, 1919 died March 2002, started her business with 10 shillings 6 cents and with her home science background she decided to hawk marmalades until her Alma-mata heard of it and decided to award her with a contract.
Mrs. Ocloo’s pioneering work in the development of the indigenous industrial sector in the country led to her establishing Nkulenu industries as the first food processing factory in the Gold Coast in 1942 which inspired many others to do otherwise.
In 1970 she introduced Ghanaian foods onto the international market and paved the way for the export of several other Ghanaian food brands.
Her work led to the establishment of the Federation of Ghanaian industries, in 1958 now the Association of Ghana Industries, AGI, to advocate for research on and to promote businesses in Ghana.
Her hard work invigorated the late President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to construct the Trade Fair Centre to promote locally made products after organising a locally manufactured products exhibition.
She was appointed into many public office positions, including the first Executive Chairperson of the National Food and Nutrition Board in 1963, advisor to the Council of Women and Development (1976-1986), a member of Ghana’s national Economic Advisory Committee (1978-1979), and a member of the Council of State in the third Republic of Ghana (1979-1981).
Her keen advocacy role and support for women and youth empowerment and employment at both the national and international level led to her co-founding of Women World Banking International and Women World Banking Ghana.
The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who launched the celebration, said the notion that “A nation that does not celebrate its heroes is not worth dying for” underscored the relevance of the celebration.
Quoting Dr. Ocloo, he said, “Women must know that the strongest power in this world is economic power and they must strive for it”, adding that, she dedicated her life to securing employment opportunities and enhancing the welfare of women.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah noted that, she believed Ghana with focus on women and children, could produce much food to feed her markets, particularly to enhance entrepreneurship to promote industrialisation.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah calls on the AGI to continue with its effort.
He also urged the media to use their platforms to promote issues that would lead to national development with reference to the ideology of Dr. Mrs. Ocloo that focused on empowering women for socio-economic development.
The Chief Executive Officer of the AGI, Seth Twum-Akwaboah, said the Association would remember Dr. Ocloo in many ways, especially her persuasive skills.
He said the persuasive skills contributed to the acquiring of both structural and operational support from both governmental and non-governmental organisations.
A renowned Journalist, Elizabeth Ohene, who was also a former Minister during the Kufuor-led government, said the late Dr. Ocloo started her entrepreneurial movement with a donation amount of 10 shillings, six pence from her aunty after completing school and staying jobless for some time.
She explained that after using six shillings to prepare marmalade for sale, she made 12 shillings as a profit and consequently developed interest in business upon realising how beneficial it was.
According to Elizabeth Ohene, Dr. Mrs. Ocloo, then initiated the Nkulenu foods, which consisted of the Nkulenu Palm Soup Base, Nkulenu Palm wine, and Nkulenu Fruit juice among others.
She said the late Dr. Mrs. Ocloo knew that industrialisation started with food processing and with her hard work to achieve that, adding that, she always advised women and the youth by saying, “You are sitting in the midst of riches, so you shouldn’t be poor or beg”.
A Foundation has been established in honour of Dr. Mrs. Ocloo called, the “The Esther Ocloo Memorial Foundation”, as a platform to promote her legacy with her story through various communication channels to inspire a ‘can-do-attitude’ among women and the youth in Ghana and Africa as a whole.
The Foundation seeks to create appropriate opportunities for engagement at the community, national and international levels to honour her memory and keep her legacy alive by working to meet the development needs of local communities through the empowerment of women and the youth.
Portions of this article was culled from the GNA.