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654 Graduate from NEEDLES for girls initiative

BY: Jemima Okang Addae
Samira Bawumiah, wife of the Vice President, delivering her keynote address at the ceremony. Picture: ERNEST KODZI
Samira Bawumiah, wife of the Vice President, delivering her keynote address at the ceremony. Picture: ERNEST KODZI

About 654 young girls have graduated from the Network for Enterprise Development Learning through Sewing (NEEDLES) for Girls (N4G) project.

The graduation, came after 14 weeks of free skills training in dressmaking, millinery and accessories, and beauty therapy (hairdressing, make-up) in Accra.

The project sought to address the lack of qualified persons needed in Ghana’s fashion industry while empowering young and vulnerable girls with employable and entrepreneurial skills.

The N4G project was implemented by the Samira Employment and Humanitarian project (SEHP) in partnership with Ghana Export and Import Bank (Exim Bank).

It was supported by Invest for Jobs, an initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Invest for Jobs is a brand for the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation of the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

The girls were trained in various fashion schools such as Pistis Ghana Limited, Africa Fashion Incubator (AFI Ghana), Strokes and Lines and Sustainability Lab.

Employment

The founder of SEHP, Samira Bawumia, said youth unemployment had become very critical in the current social, economic and political dispensation across the globe.

There was therefore the need to strategise and adopt innovative ways of meeting the growing needs of young people and Ghana was no exception.

The fashion industry has numerous opportunities with enormous potential to create jobs and provide incomes, especially for women and youth while contributing to sustained economic development in the long term.

“Empowering young women to become not only wage earners but also job creators is imperative for achieving the 2030 agenda and for eradicating poverty,” Mrs Bawumia stated.

Project

The team leader at Invest for Jobs, John Duti, said the fashion sector provided huge employment potential and that for the country to develop in the sector, it needed to be competitive both locally and internationally.

He stated that out of the 654 girls trained, 151 girls were from Tamale, 153 from Kumasi and 350 in Accra.

Eighty-three per cent of the graduates had been employed by the fashion houses that trained them with 17 per cent linked to other fashion houses for jobs and internships while the rest were self-employed.

Experience

A tutor at Pistis Ghana Ltd, Benedicta Odonkro, said the institution had trained a total of 100 girls to be machinists and surface embellishment experts and were introduced to basic hand sewing skills.

“Currently more than 90 per cent of the girls who successfully passed through the training have been employed by brands such as Madlyn Mode, Meg Signature, Ajepomaa, Rowvon, Sparks, Dreamers Gh and with over 70 per cent with the Pistis Ltd,” she stated.

Mrs Odonkor, however, stated that some girls dropped out because the daily stipend could not cater for transport fares as they lived far from the training centre and advised that placement should be done based on proximity to ensure high success rate of the project.