We spring into action in Ghana

TRAX Ghana Launches the Spring Project for Women Empowerment

Our Sustainable Project in Northern Ghana (SPRING) with TRAX Ghana is working to increase the household income and well-being of 50 beneficiaries from female-headed households in Pelungu, a community within the Nabdam District of the Upper East Region.

Our project participants are women from female-headed households

More than 20% of Ghana’s population are still living in poverty with the poor concentrated in the three northern regions where poverty rates remain above 50% and widespread unemployment. (World Bank 2022) Ghana is now suffering its worst economic crisis in a generation; the price of goods is rising, currently at an average inflation of 41% over the past year.

The COVID-19 pandemic worsened the situation, particularly for women and vulnerable groups. Limitations on mobility and school closures increased household and childcare responsibilities which are traditionally attributed to women. (World Bank 2022). The loss of income in sectors such as agriculture (in which a high ratio of women are employed), meant poverty rates among women rose, particularly in the informal economy. There is a pressing need for this training to be provided in a way that allows women to care for their families and fit around their existing responsibilities.

Our project with TRAX Ghana will increase provision for women to gain livelihoods through a flexible vocational and business training schedule focused on enterprise development and agribusiness of shea and the orange-fleshed sweet potato.

Shea tree nuts are readily available in the upper east region of Ghana, with women’s groups already collecting and processing them into shea butter for sale locally. However, the process is laborious without the correct training and equipment. The SPRING project is providing new and more efficient equipment to increase quality and quantity of shea butter, and will train the participants to use and maintain the equipment to minimise wear and reduce reliance on third parties for repairs. Vitally, this means more profit can be kept by the enterprise.

Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are a particularly easy crop to grow, and are drought resistant meaning they can grow in the harsher Pelungu climate. They have the advantage of being more nutritious than other crops and are easy to replicate to produce good yields. Over the course of our 12-month project, participants will be trained in soil preparation, planting, pest and disease management, harvest, storage and reproduction of vines. The resulting crop will provide a nutritious food for personal consumption and a means of income generation.

Business skills training

The women will also receive comprehensive training in organisational development, business management and marketing. Exchange visits between producers will help create market linkages among the beneficiaries and other major stakeholders to improve access to market and fair trade. With good yields of high-quality produce, the women will be positioned to supply to markets in Bolgatanga (a bustling larger city close to the training centre) at competitive prices (currently shea products are transported a long distance from Tamale).

Additional project activities will help the women to further engage with their community. Low tree cover in Pelungu and catchment communities has led to severe land degradation and gullies as a result of soil (water and wind) erosion. The project will promote tree growing and vine planting to combat desertification, promote sustainable biodiversity conservation and mitigate climate change of local communities. The women will work on fixing a local water well and set up a community maintenance group to ensure it stays active and doesn’t fall into disrepair. They will engage with local schools to have their sweet potatoes incorporated onto school menus, and will run sessions with school children to teach them how to cook with sweet potatoes.

On completion of the training, the women will be equipped with the tools they need to thrive both personally and professionally. They will be empowered to take control of their lives, make informed decisions, increase their household income, contribute to the socioeconomic development of the entire community.

As they continue to apply their skills, the women will undoubtedly become agents of change in their communities, driving progress and prosperity forward. We are excited to see this project develop and work towards sustainable livelihoods with these women.

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May 2024

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