In a bid to build sustainable pathways to enhance economic empowerment, well-being and inclusive growth for women in Ghana, the World University Services of Canada (WUSC), has embarked on a project to support 5,000 women in poor urban centres to be self-sufficient.
The project dubbed Innovation in Non-traditional Vocational Education and Skills Training (INVEST), aims at equipping women with skillsets in three selected areas namely; apprenticeship, employability, and public engagement.
According to WUSC, with a funding support of CAD$8.5 million from the Global Affairs Canada (GAC), it is optimistic of directly reaching about 200,000 people in Ghana, of which about 80 percent will be women between age 18-35 years.
Project Director, INVEST, Appiah Boakye, indicated that the five-year long project will employ training pathways such as school/institution-based apprenticeship, mastercraft base apprenticeship, and entrepreneurship-based training, with focus areas being construction, energy (renewables, solar, electricity), ICT/electronics, extractives sector (mining, oil & amp, gas, quarry), as well as engineering and manufacturing.
He noted that there is little to no access to finance for TVET, or other skills building programmes especially for young urban poor women, as TVET sectors are highly informal, disorganized and mobile which poses both challenges and opportunities for young women seeking to enter it.
Touching on the project context, he expressed that whilst economic opportunities in technology, services and trade in Ghana are expected to grow by 10-12 percent, there is unmet need for demand for skilled labour, and more worrying is that women are not benefitting equally from Ghana’s economic growth.
“Using an inclusive market systems (IMS) approach, the project will invest in women, institutions and labour market systems of high-growth sectors to achieve transformative change that is sustainable and scalable.
This, entails examining and acting upon the root causes of gender and social norms that negatively affects women’s economic empowerment; addressing labour market constraints within the Ghanaian society that intensify these negative impacts,” he said.
The project’s scope also considers strengthening the enabling environment on one hand to reduce gender-specific barriers for women’s participation in economic growth with specific components such as improving public and industry attitudes, enhancing women’s access and improving the quality of targeted skills training for women.
WUSC is a non-profit organization with focus on improving education and empowerment opportunities for youth. WUSC’s programming in Ghana has resulted in improvements in the quality of skills training delivered by local partners, improved ability of organisations to conduct assessments, monitoring and evaluation, better adherence to national standards, improved curricula and strengthening social inclusion.
The selected urban communities for the project include Accra, Kumasi, and Sekondi-Takoradi. Intervention strategies include outreach and engagement, financial assistance, training, private sector innovation challenge, business development, support services.
The apprenticeship Programme targets strengthening existing programmes and expanding opportunities for young girls to access formal and informal apprenticeship programmes through institutions and the private sector.