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Ghana: sustainable jobs contribute to harmony

The dry, remote areas of northern Ghana have long been plagued by tribal conflicts, social upheaval, food insecurity, high illiteracy rates, widespread poverty and environmental degradation. The poor quality of life forces many young people, particularly women, to leave in search of menial work in the south of the country.

Education on small scale sustainable enterprise for women Ghana
Education on small scale sustainable enterprise for women Ghana
In view of these challenges, Friends of the Earth Ghana set up a project called ‘Peaceful and Sustainable Development’ aimed at creating sustainable and meaningful local employment. The jobs created directly reduce poverty, and reduce the incentives for young people to become involved in conflict.

The project supports those dropping out of school and the economic activities of rural women and young people. Those who want to continue their education by re-taking their external exams are supported with free tuition and re-registration. Day-care centres have been set up to enable women to engage in productive economic activities while their children are being cared for. Farm tools and seeds are provided, and shea butter and gari processing centres have been set up. Bicycles with trailers are provided so that women can transport their agricultural products to market.

Training is also offered in sewing, batik, tie-dye and general textile design, and workshops are given on business management and book-keeping, as well as conflict resolution and conflict management.

The diversification of women’s economic activities has also improved food security, and some communities have managed to produce surplus gari, beans and groundnuts to be traded with people in southern Ghana. Newly empowered women entrepreneurs can now re-invest in their communities, and they enjoy economic independence and greater freedom to determine their own futures. As a result of increased disposable incomes, more children, and particularly girls, are able to attend school, and health care facilities have been improved.

Over the past five years, the project has benefited over 5,000 people directly, 90 percent of them female. Workshops and training programs have been held in schools, mosques and churches. Social clubs in communities and schools have brought different ethnic groups together, so that young people could test their newly acquired reconciliation skills. The project has also been successful in increasing women’s participation in decision-making.

The projects have now been handed over to the communities to manage themselves and they are being run effectively without Friends of the Earth Ghana’s direct involvement.

“The involvement of the youth in conflict has greatly reduced because of the opportunity this project gave to the idle youth through the establishment of a Youth Enterprise Centre.”

Mr Welvis Hudu Adam, former Municipal Chief Executive (the Mayor) of Yendi Municipal Assembly, one of the the project areas.


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