150 Women receive employable skills, work tools
Unemployment among the youth has become a major problem for successive governments to deal with in the country.
Although over the years, the government and the private sector, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs), have made conscious efforts to provide technical and vocational skills to the youth to set up their own firms, more still needs to be done.
For girls and young women, their chances of securing jobs in the labour market are worse as they are already disadvantaged in terms of education.
Despite women being needed for a sustainable economy since they have great potential in them, they often do not go to school at all, or sometimes they go for just a short time, a development which negatively affects their holistic development.
As a way of providing employable skills to women to address this problem of unemployment, in 2021, the German Government-financed project dubbed: “Network for Enterprise Development Learning through Sewing for Girls (N4G)” was launched.
It is being implemented on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, in partnership with the Samira Empowerment and Humanitarian Projects (SEHP) and the Ghana Export and Import Bank (EXIM Bank).
It is part of the special initiative called “Decent Work for a just transition”, also known as Invest for Jobs, and it is intended to improve the lives of 1,000 underprivileged young women through vocational training in fashion and enterprise development and to produce fashion entrepreneurs.
The beneficiary women were drawn from five cities, namely Accra, Kumasi, Tamale, Takoradi and Bolgatanga. Already, 804 young women have successfully graduated under the project in the five cities.
An additional 150 women are currently halfway through their six-month training in Sekondi-Takoradi in the Western Region.
At the end of their six months of training, they received items, including sewing machines and tracing wheels for those in the fashion design category; hairdryers, wash basins for the women under the beauty therapy category, and tools and accessories for the beading and millinery category.
At a ceremony to graduate 150 women in Bolgatanga, under the N4G project in the Upper East Region on June 10, 2023, the Country Director of GIZ, Regina Bauerochse, said throughout Ghana, the clothing and fashion industry played a major role, as it offered employment to many people.
“This is why GIZ has decided to develop it through the project for the benefit of the young women benefiting from the initiative,” she said, adding that “back in the 1960s to the 1980s, the textile industry was popular, but it later suffered a slump leading to low production and loss of employment.
“Fortunately, it is now growing again, with new challenges due to different tastes, demands and technologies,” she stressed and said: “The Ghanaian textile and fashion industry needs well-trained workers, which is being addressed under the N4G project”.
She said the approach by GIZ was the right one as they looked at the labour market to know the requirements of the private sector to fill the required gaps.
“Through the training, the private sector will get the qualified workers, particularly the women, to earn income to finance their livelihood,” she said.
“We are proud of your journey and we are confident that with these skills that you have acquired, you will better yourselves, positively impact your families, and cause a positive change in the fashion industry,” Ms Bauerochse said.
She again said investing in the beneficiaries meant a lot to them and they would monitor their activities henceforth and continue to offer the needed support to them to excel in their respective trades.
Response to unemployment
The Assistant Manager in charge of Small and Medium Enterprises, at EXIM Bank, John Aidoo, said the project was a response to the high unemployment rate, especially among the youth in the country.
He said it was also seen as a way of building the capacity of women through skills development in sync with the international call for women's empowerment, saying “The project is in line with the bank’s strategic objective of developing the SME sector, which constitutes about 92 per cent of businesses.”
He reiterated EXIM Bank’s operation support for the project and added that the SME department of the bank was currently implementing some initiatives geared towards developing the SME sector.
“These include the SME clinic aimed at building the capacity of owners of new businesses and shop space for marketing of products to attract many buyers and customers, among others,” he pointed out.
Motivating the beneficiaries, the Proprietor of Gold Horse Hotel, Bolgatanga, Rev. Mrs Sarah Adongo, advised the young women to be dedicated, diligent, determined and disciplined to succeed in their trades.
She admonished them to always strive to do something for themselves instead of always relying on men for their survival, adding “You are endowed with huge potential and should, therefore, work hard to earn a living to complement your husbands in the upkeep of your families.
“It is a great move that you have taken advantage of this project to acquire skills to engage in profitable businesses,” she said.
She urged them to be patient as it would take some time before their businesses could flourish.
In an interview with some of the beneficiaries, they expressed gratitude to GIZ and its partners for the rare opportunity given to them to benefit from the project, as it would go a long way to transform their lives.
They called on GIZ to take them through further training to sharpen their skills and excel in their various trades since there was a lot more to be learned.
One of the beneficiaries, Delali Danso, a student of the Bolgatanga Technical University (BTU), said the training in beauty therapy had enabled her to braid the hair of some of the students to earn income to take care of some of her personal and educational needs.
“With the training I have acquired, I am now able to render services to people to fend for myself,” she stressed.
Earlier in a welcome address, the Chief Executive Officer of NALLEM Group of Companies, Gregory Kankoh, said the project was a great initiative, whose impact would be greatly felt in society forever.
He admonished the women to value their customers and always serve them better to keep them and sustain their businesses.