Over 10,000 girls between the ages of 12 and 18 have so far benefitted from the Standard Chartered Bank Ghana PLC, through its Goal programme targetted at empowering girls over the past five years.
The Goal programme teaches girls the critical facts about health, communication, human rights, and managing their finances to help them transform not just their own lives, but also those of their friends and families.
Additionally, it serves as a module to address work readiness, and explore the best ways to support developing career pathways for girls using seasoned coaches and alumni.
Chief Executive Officer, StandChart Ghana, Mansa Nettey, in her address at the 5th anniversary empowerment forum that enumerated the gains made by the programme since its launch in 2017, indicated that gender equality is important for the attainment of economic growth in any country, hence, the introduction of the Goal project to play a mitigative role.
She emphasised that well-educated women are healthier and likely to raise more healthy children, hence, StandChart’s commitment to educating women in rural communities through a holistic approach to transfer skills, create sustainable economic empowerment opportunities and ensure a healthier next generation.
“As a bank, we believe that prioritising the well-being of girls and young women has an incredible intergenerational multiplier effect on communities and societies. Through Goal, we have impacted over 10,000 girls providing them with tools to shape their future, and that of their families and communities, thus transforming their lives and lifting participation in our economy,” she said.
Minister for Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, in his keynote address, commended the bank for such a life-transforming initiative geared toward closing the gender inequality gap in Ghanaian society; adding that social and economic inequality is a major challenge for women in the sub-region and a hindrance to economic growth.
“This transformative initiative by Standard Chartered aligns with government’s agenda of increasing enrollment of girls to pursue Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-related disciplines to be active contributors to Ghana’s socio-economic transformation.
“The Education Ministry is always looking out for how best to help girls to stay in school and upgrade their skills. We have identified that young women need more support than boys, and that is what we have been doing. Ghana now has the highest near gender parity in West Africa, but we are not relenting on our efforts to attain full parity in our education sector at the second cycle level by 2024, he said.
He encouraged the Goal project beneficiaries to take advantage of every opportunity handed to them without underestimating themselves and remember that sciences or engineering is not reserved for boys.
Head, Corporate Affairs, Brand and Marketing, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Limited, Dayo Aderugbo, reiterated that girls face more economic challenges than boys, hence, the need to invest more in girls to empower them to contribute more to sustainable economic development.
She broke down the statistics behind the StandChart Goal project, stating that it is a global initiative that is being implemented in 23 countries of which 10 are in Africa. Four of them including Ghana and Nigeria, are in West Africa. So far, about 735,000 girls have been impacted and the target is to reach at least one million lives by year-end, 2023.
The empowerment forum comprised of a panel session where women who have been instrumental in the growth of the Goal programme and some of its beneficiaries took turns discussing their experience, learnings and impact.
In Ghana, the Goal programme has been executed in partnership with Women Win, Right to Dream Academy and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).