Giving rural youth the power to earn sustainable living
Many young people in Ghana often face difficulties in earning a decent and sustainable living. The hurdles are even higher for those in rural communities in northern Ghana, especially young women, as they do not have access to fertile land, lack employable skills and have little chance of getting loans from financial institutions. This compels many young women to leave rural farming communities to seek menial jobs to earn some income in urban areas with a very slim margin of seeing great success.
Even the very few that have an interest in venturing into entrepreneurship often hit the rock and give up on the journey. With the help of the Empowerment for Life (E4L) Program which provides entrepreneurship skills training and mentorship support to young people who have either started a business or are joggling between business ideas, the narrative is changing.
Funded by CISU through Ghana Venskab and its Ghanaian implementing partner, YEFL-Ghana, many young women like Amina Mohammed, a 25-year-old food vendor in Demong in the Saboba District, are now earning a decent income and not contemplating migrating to the cities for menial jobs.
Amina was one of the fortunate young people selected in 2020 from rural communities in northern Ghana to be supported under the E4L Program’s youth entrepreneurship support. The entrepreneurship intervention includes skills training, mentorship, marketing and financial literacy.
Before the entrepreneurship support, Amina used to sell less than five packs of indomie (pasta) a day, competing unfavourably with others.
“Things have changed after I returned from the training. I learned how to treat my customers with respect. I don’t shout at them again, not even a little kid. I apologise anytime anyone complains about anything relating to my service and then take steps to correct the problem”, she said, as shared her experience.
Amina now sells at least ten packs of indomie during the rainy season which fetches her a monthly average profit of GHC 150.00 ($20). But in the dry season, the market is good because many people are always at home due to no farming activities, fifteen packs are her minimum per day. On average, Amina earns a monthly profit of GHC 200.00 ($27) during the dry season.
Integrated into the approach, is the Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) scheme, which serves as one of the avenues for the beneficiaries to raise capital to either start or expand their businesses after the bootcamp entrepreneurship training.
With the goal of expansion in mind, Amina still contributes to the Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) scheme in her community and expends part of her income on providing for her needs and her younger siblings as well.
In the next two years, Amina’s goal is to get a burner and a gas cylinder, secure a safe space, and a decent shelter for her indomie business where patronage will not be affected negatively. She aspires to transform her business into a restaurant and expand her food business to include other local dishes in the long term.