NORVISI DEVELOPMENT UNION – ANNUAL YAM FESTIVAL SINCE 1985
BY MICHAEL LAGBLE
The maxim that in unity lies strength has been given a manifestation by communities in Ho central constituency of the Volta region which constitute the Norvisi Development Union (NORDU), the high point of which is an annual community yam festival initiated in 1985.
In that year, the towns in surrounding NORDU area including Avee, Atikpui, Hodzo, Hoe, Klave, Lume, Nyive , Shia, Tanyigbe, Tokokoe , Dodome , and Awuiasu , among others, sowed the seed of the union of the festival and since then, the area has not lagged behind in development because of the sense of unity and the absence of conflicts, which hitherto had been rampant and a hindrance to the areas development efforts.
Three factors provided the impetus for the formation of the union, namely, to provide education for the youth, to have a common yam festival to be celebrated by the people and the establishment of the Norvisi Rural Bank at Shia, from which the union’s name was crafted.
The idea culminated in the first –ever grand durbar linking the chiefs and the people from the NORDU area at Nyive. And ever since, this annual event has become part and parcel of the people in the area.
All the objectives of the meeting to have the union had been achieved because in the area of education, the Shia Secondary Technical School has been established while the union has become a model in the country.
Moreover, the NORDU area has enjoyed relative peace and harmony over the years and this is typified by the enthusiasm and a sense of belonging that is expressed during the annual festivals.
Economically, the union is striving to better the living standards of its communities through small scale income generating ventures such as oil extraction, cassava processing, brick and tile manufacturing.
The celebration of this important festival has been a rotational basis culminating in a relative peace and a vibrant economic activity with a common market among the people.
The festival attracts citizens from all walks of life to engage in activities and open competitions such as annual quizzes, beauty pageants, and football gala.
Last year, the festival was celebrated at Hodzo and this year it is the turn of Shia to host the event. What is significant about hosting the festival is that funds realized during an appeal for fund is used to finance a development project selected by the host town.
It is on the theme “Education a tool for development”, and has a part of the programme , a health walk on November 25,2010 in the various surrounding communities, a beauty pageant on November 26, 2010, comprising 22 contestants from the area, and the annual quiz contest.
The festival will be climaxed with durbar of the chiefs and people on November 27, 2010. The Minister of Education, Minister of Roads and Transport, Minister of Sports and the Togolese Ambassador, are among dignitaries who have been billed to grace the occasion.
Then on Sunday, November28, 2010, a thanks giving service will be held at Shia Catholic Church.
Togbe Dadzawa III, paramount Chief of the Shia Traditional Area and current chairman of NORDU assures of a colorful festival and has appealed to the citizens of the area, both far and near, to attend in their numbers.
He said the theme was chosen to reflect on the educational needs of the area since the Shia Secondary Technical School, which was established about eleven years ago, through the self initiative of the communities has been absorbed by the Ministry of Education as government approved institution.
Togbe Dadzawa appealed to the government to extend the school feeding programme to the area as well as the free uniform for pupils.
Furthermore he appealed to the authorities to improve the road network in the area to facilitate the easy carting of food and other agricultural produce to the market centers, especially the international Ho-Nyive-Shia road that leads to Togo.
Shia is located on the Ghana-Togo border and is about 18 kilometers north east of Ho, the regional capital. It is a compact agricultural community made up of four distinct clans namely, Xedome, Ayigbe, Gbagbate and Fiogbe.
The town also boasts the western mountain range and the eastern mountain range in the republic of Togo, which are interesting sight to behold. Also of interest to visitors is the Rocky River Tordze, which almost encircles the community it is full of fish and other aquatic breeds.
Togbe Dadzewa III promises an exciting event and extends a hearty welcome to citizens and visitors to attend this year’s celebration, which is taking place in the area.
Daily Graphic Page: 21 Wednesday, November 10, 2010.