A three-year project – ‘Green Skills for Ghana’ – is expected to engage about 6,000 female youth and women (18-35 years) in employable ventures through the promotion of environmentally sustainable businesses.
The project, funded by the European Union (UN), will establish and work through Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) and reach out to people by incubating them in small entrepreneurship activities and improve community uptake and understanding about the socioeconomic benefits of green skills.
The ultimate objective of the project – spanning January 2017 to January 2020 – is to contribute to economic growth through job-creation and expansion of economic activities in an environmentally sensitive and/or sustainable manner. Sixty (60) communities in the Greater Accra and Brong Ahafo Regions will benefit from the Green Skills initiative.
Green Skills basically refers to the application of knowledge acquired to live and work in an environmentally responsible way (ensuring sustainable development), and to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Green businesses include sustainable grass-cutter & rabbit rearing; organic vegetable production; poultry, duck & turkey production; fish-farming; bee-keeping and afforestation.
To this end, a market scan assessment has been conducted in all the three operational areas – Ga South, Sunynai and Tano North Municipalities – to identify types of green businesses that have market potentials/ opportunities. Besides, the market survey sought to identify the various green skills gaps which can be addressed through implementation of the project.
Addressing one of the market scan assessment workshops at Abesim near Sunyani, Mr. Ahensah Asum-Kwarteng – Acting Country Director of Plan Ghana International, joined in the growing concern about the country’s prevailing high cost of borrowing. He said the current interest rates on loans are unfriendly to the growth and development of businesses, particularly micro and small-scale enterprises.
He called on managers of the country’s economy to redouble their efforts in making credit not only accessible but affordable to businesses, especially new small-starters. This, he noted, would go a long way in actualising government’s mantra of pursuing job-creation for the teeming unemployed population.
On his part, Mr. Jackson Adiyiah Nyantakyi, Brong-Ahafo Regional Deputy Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said operations of many businesses in the country are not in conformity with ensuring sustainable environment. He therefore applauded Plan Ghana and the EU for implementing the Green Skills for Ghana Project to reverse the trend.
He urged those into green businesses to register with the EPA so they will be taken through environmental impact assessment to ensure standardisation.
The one-day workshop brought together participants from three beneficiary municipalities in the Greater Accra and Brong Ahafo Regions. They were made up of Assembly members, staff of decentralised departments, Traditional rulers and youth leaders.