Accelerating agenda to transform women’s lives: Time is now
Campaign for Female Education (Camfed) Ghana has affirmed its commitment to working with partners and all like-minded organisations to provide opportunities for girls and young women to overcome the barriers confronting them.
A statement issued by the organisation to mark this year’s International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8, said Camfed was working with partners such as the Mastercard Foundation for young girls and women to achieve their fullest potentials.The organisation is an international non-governmental, non-profit organisation whose mission is to eradicate poverty in Africa through the education of girls and the empowerment of young women. The International Women’s Day is a day to reflect on progress made, call for change and celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played extraordinary roles in the history of their countries and communities.It is also an opportunity to consider how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially goal number five: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and number four: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote life-long learning.Priority themeEchoing the priority theme of the upcoming 62nd session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women, the International Women’s Day will also draw attention to the rights and activism of rural women who make up over a quarter of the world’s population and majority of the 43 per cent of women in the global agricultural labour force. According to the statement, Camfed and its partners had been working with young women over the years to forge innovative pathways to enable their successful transition from school to a secure position where they can make future choices. To address the peculiar challenges young people face in their transition from secondary school, Camfed Ghana, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, is implementing a transition programme titled: “Enable young women to transition from school to entrepreneurship, further study and transformative leadership in Ghana.” The transition programme is designed, among others, to enable young women to transition from school to entrepreneurship, further study, employment and transformative leadership in Ghana.Transition programmeThe specific objectives of the transition programme are to equip young women who complete secondary school with knowledge and skills to make informed decisions on their pathways to successful livelihoods; and connect them to accessible and affordable sources of capital and financial education for the launch of businesses and growth. The programme is also designed to demonstrate the positive impact of supporting educated young women during their transition to influence policy towards supporting their transition into adulthood, and empower them to play active roles in local and national development. The design of the transition programme was based on Camfed and the Mastercard Foundation’s shared belief that further education, employment and entrepreneurship are some of the most viable pathways to economic security for the majority of young people. Thus, the focus is on creating the enabling environment and promoting access to new resources for young people to put them on sound footing to be able to meet the challenges that lie ahead.The transition programme builds on the foundation of quality secondary school education to support young women to make a successful transition to further study, entrepreneurship or work, including tailored advice on careers and support for university applications.PartnershipsIt hinges on structures and partnerships developed over the years of educating girls and empowering young women across the country. The transition programme is specifically designed to address current challenges facing many young people globally, and in Ghana, particularly girls who are exposed to some challenges, especially during their transition from secondary school which represented a challenging period in their lives as young people. Creating sustainable opportunities for the youth to transition into employment and self-employment is important for ensuring that they are able to access the means for sustainable livelihoods. This is particularly important considering that Ghana’s youthful (15 -35 years) population accounts for 35.9 per cent of the total population, out of which 40 per cent receive no education at all. About 20 per cent are educated to the secondary level while 3.8 per cent have received tertiary education. These varying educational attainment levels have a strong bearing on the transition of youth to the world of work, be it at the secondary or tertiary level. This is because education is a key determinant for employment and self-employment. Available optionsThe transition programme encompasses a training programme with modules that are delivered by young women with support from Camfed and a range of other partners. The training programme has offered secondary school leavers support during the vulnerable transition period from secondary school into adulthood and they have been exposed to available options to set up a business, seek employment or further their education. The school leavers have been given training on modules such as well-being skills to cope with the pressures of life after school, rights and choices available to them, sexual and reproductive health and women’s rights, financial education for financial inclusion, core business skills, career pathways and citizenship.The training programme is delivered by young women called Peer Educators (PEs), who have since the implementation of the transition programme, reached out to some junior and senior high school students, as well as other community groups to deliver the agreed modules to them. Complete modulesCumulatively, 1,502 PEs have successfully delivered complete modules to a total of 163,468 modular recipients. In addition, 315 school leavers have been assisted to apply for jobs, out of which 138 have successfully secured employment. Another 138 school leavers have been empowered to self-start small-scale businesses while 268 others have been assisted to apply and secure admission into tertiary institutions. ConclusionLaunched in 1988, Camfed Ghana is working in the Northern Region, and is now operating in four regions and 31 districts.It is optimistic that with the needed support, it can work to effect the needed change for many more young people within their communities and usher in a new era of inclusive prosperity in Ghana, Africa and beyond.Today, March 8, activists around the world and UN Women are joining hands to celebrate, take action and transform women’s lives everywhere. The time is NOW.The theme for the International Women’s Day on March 8 is: “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives.”