The West African Gas Pipeline Company Limited (WAPCo) has presented start-up tools to graduates of its Community Youth Enterprise Scheme (CYES) in Shama District of the Western Region and Tema Manhean/Kpone in the Greater Accra Region.
The company also presented scholarship certificates to the 8th Batch of its scholarship awardees under its Scholarship Scheme.
WAPCo under its Livelihood Support Programme, offers a Community Youth Enterprise Scheme and a Scholarship Scheme for young persons in the communities through which the pipeline passes.
The Community Youth Enterprise Scheme provides basic school leavers in the company’s host communities who could not pursue further studies due to financial constraints, and the opportunity to learn a trade of their choice in recognized vocational and technical institutions.
Under the Scholarship Scheme, WAPCo sponsored beneficiaries at the tertiary level, are pursuing programmes in medicine, pharmacy, engineering, law, social sciences, actuarial science, and mathematics; others and their first-degree programmes; and those under the skills acquisition programme have set up businesses.
Through the initiative, the company has supported 108 beneficiaries out of which 73 have already been provided with tools and have started their own businesses. Some are pursuing tertiary education while others have gained employment in the formal sectors.
WAPCo, at a handing over ceremony in Shama, presented 34 graduates with start-up tools. These beneficiaries have successfully acquired vocational skills in areas such as welding and fabrication, fashion and design, catering and hotel management, auto mechanic, mechanical and electrical engineering, hair dressing and beautification.
Beneficiaries of WAPCo’s scholarship awards at the tertiary level are pursuing programmes in medicine, pharmacy, engineering, law, social sciences, actuarial science, and mathematics. Former awardees have completed their first-degree programmes.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, the General Manager, Dr Isaac Adjei Doku Corporate Affairs of WAPCo, said through the programme, the company is contributing to the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 8, namely Quality Education and Decent Work and Economic Growth, respectively.
He mentioned that this year, the company has awarded scholarships to 56 students from the host communities. Forty of the awardees are from Aboadze, Abuesi, Dwomo, Lower Inchaban and Shama-town all in the Shama District.
“From the beginning of the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) Project, we have decided to contribute to the development by investing in programmes that will have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of the people in the WAGP community,” he added.
Dr. Doku explained that the earlier decisions of WAPCo are focused on improving access to education for school children in the company’s area of operation, especially children from low-income households.
He said after extensive consultations with stakeholder communities over a decade, the company introduced the livelihood support programme with two components, which are the scholarship Scheme, and a Community Youth Enterprise Scheme.
He said “We have thus far supported a total of 503 students in Ghana through our programme and this includes 395 students under the mainstream scholarship scheme and 108 students under the skills acquisition programme”.
According to him, WAPCo has so far invested about GH¢5.6 million on its livelihood programme in Ghana, and more than GH¢4 million on the scholarship award, with about GH¢1.5 million on the skills acquisition programme.
This academic year alone, he said WAPCo has disbursed over half a million cedis in scholarship grants for selected students in the five communities, in addition to about GH¢180,000 for the procurement of the tools given to the CYES graduates.
He expressed the hope that the skills acquisition and scholarship programmes would help set the beneficiaries on the path to achieving their educational goals and dreams.
He urged the beneficiaries to put the tools to good use, and the students to work hard to justify their inclusion, saying, “We expect you to work hard and develop attitudes and values that will not only see you through your education, but more importantly, lead you to the path of success”.
Mr. Ebenezer Dadzie, District Chief Executive of Shama commended the company for the continued support for the youth to acquire skills as well as supporting them with start-up tools and a scholarship scheme.
Emmanuel Nelson Tawiah, a scholarship beneficiary, expressed gratitude to the company for awarding the scholarship to them to offer various programmes at the tertiary level.