Alinea Foundation, a benevolent organisation operating in the northern part of the country, with funding support from the Global Affairs of Canada, has launched a new project to train and equip some 2000 young girls with entrepreneurial skills.
The initiative, dubbed: ‘Women Economic Empowerment’ (WEE-North), is aimed at ensuring the economic empowerment and social well-being of young girls through industrial trade in northern Ghana.
The training will, among other things, provide beneficiaries with hands-on skills in male-dominated jobs to improve their livelihood and competitiveness.
The five-year project will focus on areas such as carpentry, welding or metal fabrication, plumbing, tiling, electrical installations and smock weaving – all of which are normally seen as men-dominated professions.
According to the project’s facilitators, to overcome prevailing gender stereotypes and barriers, the WEE-North will use approaches that engage men in creating change in gender relations in the training.
Field manager, WEE-North, Dr. Nancy Drost, explained that the project was all about training young women in men-dominated trades in order to bridge the gaps in these areas.
She called on all stakeholders, such as parents, teachers and all community leaders to encourage more young women to take up such trades to ensure the welfare of young girls. “We will continue to provide them with both soft and hard skills in order to keep them empowered.”
The foundation – which has in the past year trained, supported and linked some 911 young girls from various communities across the five regions of the north to industries, educational institutions and private firms – expects to scale up and train more than 2000 girls by the end of the five years.
As part of the project, the young ladies will also be empowered in several other ways with the core intention of breaking the poverty cycle in the northern regions of the country.
To achieve this, WEE-North is seeking to collaborate with technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, technical universities, municipal and district assemblies, and others to ensure quality all-around employable skills for young girls to curb unemployment and poverty.
Tamale Metro TVET Educational Officer, Osumanu Mohammed, commended facilitators of WEE-North and the Alinea Foundation for their commitment to building the capacity of the young girls, which he said would aid to bridge the gender equity gap, address high school girl drop-out as well as rural-urban migration of young girls in search of menial jobs.
Meanwhile, the Tamale Metro Educational Officer, Kassim Alhassan, noted that the project will help diffuse the mind-set that certain jobs are meant for men. He, therefore, encouraged more women to enrol in the project since it will equip them with the necessary training and skills to be economically independent.