Impact of Some Recent & On-Going Projects
Funded under a sub-grant agreement with CARE International, the four-year Adwuma Pa project is empowering economically vulnerable women and girls within the cocoa supply chain. The project is supporting 5,000 women and girls vulnerable to child labour, forced labour, and other violations of labour rights in 80 cocoa-producing and cocoa-processing communities – 40 communities in Tano South and Asunafo North Districts of the Brong-Ahafo Region, 20 communities in Asikuma-Odoben Brakwa District of the Central Region, and 20 communities in Bibiani, Anhwiaso, and Bekwai Districts of the Western Region. We have deployed a strategic combination of globally-recognised, evidence-based women’s economic empowerment interventions and context-specific child-labour monitoring systems, curriculum and training programmes to improve the meaningful economic participation of women and girls in the target locations. We are doing this by listening to women and girls’ needs, desires, and barriers to success; co-creating interventions in a participatory way; increasing women and girls’ understanding of their labour rights; and enhancing women and girls’ technical and business skills. We are also working with men and boys within cocoa-growing communities to change local behavioural norms against women’s economic engagement; increasing women and girls’ opportunities for advancement through peer and business networking; designing a labour monitoring and mitigation system to protect against child labour and forced labour, including a community hotline; providing gender, equity, and diversity (GED) training for private sector actors; and elevating community recognition for protecting against child labour and forced labour in a national awareness-raising media campaign.
Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative for Employment
Simply called YIEDIE, the Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative for Employment is a five-year project located in the five most populated cities of Ghana – Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi, Tema and Ashaiman – and targets 23,700 urban youth 17 – 24, 60% female. YES-Ghana worked (between 2015 and 2017) as part of a YIEDIE Consortium of six partners to support youth readiness for employment and entrepreneurship, improve access to financial service providers capable of serving youth, curate demand-driven training and service provision, facilitate youth enterprise start up and recruitment by employers, and engender collaboration for positive government policies. We achieved this by providing practical, on-the-job training to youth in technical skills that are in demand in the construction sector, leading to formal certification. We provided tailored training in entrepreneurship, life skills and job readiness, financial literacy and peer networking to youth that met the needs of the sector. We connected youth to demand-driven jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities through linkages to master craftspeople, private-sector employers and industry associations. We also deployed mobile technology to reach more youth and matched informal labourers with job opportunities.
Youth Leadership for Social Change
Funded by the Ford Foundation, the Youth Leadership for Social Change (YL4SC) project is contributing to expanding opportunities for youth leadership and active citizenship towards a more inclusive Ghanaian society. Through this project, YES-Ghana is providing 400 young people with improved skills for effective social change leadership. Located in three public universities – University for Development Studies in Tamale, University of Energy and Natural Resources in Sunyani, and the University of Cape Coast – the project is enhancing opportunities for young people to apply leadership skills through the development and implementation of youth-led projects. We are doing this by running Youth Leadership Academies in the target locations, offering learning trips to successful leadership projects and institutions, supporting participants with technical and financial assistance to develop and implement their own social change leadership innovations, and matching participating young leaders with mentors who serve as role models, coaches and guides for participants’ leadership experience. We honour successful young leaders who complete the programme with a Certificate of Achievement, and induct them into the Young Changemaker Community where they continue their leadership journey beyond the project.
Sustainable Development Goals Youth Action Campaign
Funded by the UNDP (2016-2018) and the Danish Civil Society Fund from 2019, the SDG Youth Action Campaign has a three-fold objective: to raise the profile of youth as equal and competent development partners able to contribute meaningfully towards achieving the SDGs at all levels; to build consensus among a wide range of stakeholders on the importance of engaging youth as key actors in the development process; and to provide improved leadership, technical and operational capacity for youth engagement in local and national sustainable development efforts. Through the SDG Youth Action Campaign, YES-Ghana has created a network of 25 SDG Youth Clubs in senior high schools altogether reaching over 2,000 members who are learning, sharing and taking action on the SDGs on a weekly basis. The project’s SDG Youth Essay Competition has undoubtedly resonated well with the youth, attracting over 500 entries across participating schools in 2017 – essays that highlighted youth-led community solutions for achieving the SDGs. YES-Ghana has also developed a Youth Action Guide for the SDGs, and a Toolkit for Youth-Led Accountability Action both of which have become important tools for youth action at the local level. Being a national project, the SDG Youth Action Campaign targets young people under the age of 35 in every region and every district. By the end of 2018, Campaign activities reached more than 500,000 youth through social media, local radio and community events. Beyond that, we are continuously undertaking organisational capacity assessments of youth-led organisations, running SDG Youth Academies, hosting SDG Youth Action Conferences, training and deploying SDG Young Reporters, and engaging with the wider SDG community at national and international levels.
Voices of Youth
The Voices of Youth project has received funding from various donors since 2012 to date, including the UN Democracy Fund, the Danish Civil Society Fund, the UNDP, and the Commonwealth Foundation. The project responds to rising concerns over insufficient attention to critical issues affecting youth in Ghana and the lack of structures for mainstreaming youth into national policy-making. It is designed to provide a long-term mechanism for youth to articulate their concerns and to make policy input. Under this project, YES-Ghana convenes the Voices of Youth Coalition – 350 youth-led organisations in the country that focuses on shaping the development policy discourse in the country. A Directory of Youth Organisations has been developed and available at www.ghanayouthdirectory.org. It provides a one-stop point of information and a much-needed source for collaboration and exchange of information among actors in the youth development sector. Through this project, YES-Ghana has trained hundreds of youth researchers and advocates and facilitated the youth action research that resulted in the development of the Ghana Youth Manifesto in 2012 and the People’s National Youth Policy in 2017. These flagship publications have become the main advocacy tools for youth policy action among youth groups across the country. YES-Ghana also hosts the Youth Policy Dialogue Series across major cities in the country, offering much needed multi-stakeholder platforms for deliberating on youth issues and forging common actions informed by the People’s National Youth Policy.
Career Development Programme
Funded by the UNDP, the three-year project supported Ghana’s growth and development priority on human resource development for poverty reduction by increasing formal employment opportunities for young people and improving the support mechanisms necessary for entry into the job market. This was achieved through the setting up of a Career Resource Centre from where YES-Ghana connected talent to markets by facilitating networking and matchmaking between young people and employers, counselling, changing perceptions. At the Centre, we offered much-needed mentorship to youth start-ups by facilitating exchanges with experienced entrepreneurs and employees. We curated networking platforms and co-working spaces for start-ups to foster collaboration and innovation. Based in Asylum Down in Accra, the Career Resource Centre provided guidance and job-search support to boost formal employment opportunities for youth. We facilitated access to job market information by leveraging organisational networks and youth perspectives and we closed information gaps on vocational training and apprenticeships for prospective job applicants through image campaigns and role modelling. Our job placement support enabled thousands of youth to gain employment. Through this approach, we reintegrated NEETs (youth Not in Education, Employment or Training) into the labour market through customised training and placement support by promoting flexible working models to keep young mothers and youth with family constraints engaged. Altogether, project interventions reached more than 5,000 youth aged 15 to 29, including more than 50% young women.
Youth for Good Governance in Ghana’s Oil Sector
Funded by the Danish Civil Society Fund, the fifteen-month project was aimed at engendering youth-led strategies for strengthening good governance and sustainable development in Ghana’s fledgling oil economy. We achieved this by building capacities of local youth to participate actively in the oil economy in Western region, by increasing opportunities for youth to contribute to achieving environmentally sound good governance at the local level, and by creating a network of youth who contributed to ensuring that Ghana’s oil remains a booster to national development rather than a source of conflict. The project targeted 500 young women and men, aged between 18 and 35, in the six districts immediately surrounding the offshore oil exploration activities in the Western region, namely Ahanta West, Ellembele, Jomoro, Nzema East, Shama, and Sekondi-Takoradi. Secondary targets included 10,000 other youth in second-cycle and tertiary institutions and those out of school, unemployed, and/or are members of local youth groups, as well as local government authorities, traditional leaders, industry representatives and civil society structures in the six districts. The project strategy included hosting a series of training workshops focusing on the role of youth in oil governance. The workshops equipped young men and women – a traditionally underserved and marginalised group – with the skills necessary to effectively engage themselves in local governance issues. Through these workshops, local youth developed district level action plans which formed the basis of their advocacy action in their respective communities. Using the mediums of community radio, local youth forums, dialogue with local authorities, school based outreach, a Youth Conference on Good Governance in the Oil and Gas Sector, and the creation of Youth Platform on Oil and Gas, the youth participants amplified their voices, affirmed their role as key actors in the oil economy, made policy input, galvanised youth action for the environment, and built partnerships with industry players.
Youth Engagement in Service Delivery
Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the three-year project sought to address two main challenges – the waste management challenge in Accra and growing youth unemployment in the city. The project targeted youth, youth-serving NGOs, employers (mostly private Waste Management Companies), community residents, and relevant government agencies in James Town, Usher Town, Agbogbloshie, Avenor, Kwanenya, Nima, and Ayidiki all in the Accra metropolitan area. Through a youth-inclusive market analysis of the solid waste sector, four value chains were identified – electronic waste, metals, plastics and composting – with specific interventions that built capacities of youth and employers, created new jobs and enhanced existing ones. YES-Ghana supported youth participants to lead the way in sensitising other residents of target communities on the benefits of environmental cleanliness and proper ways of managing solid waste. YES-Ghana also supported 150 youth to set up small businesses in the four solid waste management value chains as a means of sustainable income-generation. Within the plastic value chain, YES-Ghana constructed a plastic buy-back centre in James Town and supported young women participants to manage it as a sustainable business. YES-Ghana also constructed a compost plant for processing household food waste and supported other youth to manage it as a sustainable business. 350 young women and men benefitted from YES-Ghana’s job matching with Waste Management Companies and allied service providers after receiving work readiness support. All youth beneficiaries of the project received comprehensive life skills, entrepreneurship and financial literacy training which enabled them to start and stay on their journey to sustainable livelihoods. Partnership with a financial service provider enabled all project beneficiaries to own a savings account and manage their money more prudently.
Young Peace Ambassadors Initiative
Funded by UNDP (2008, 2012) and the Catholic Relief Services (2016), the project maximises the elections cycle in Ghana to galvanise youth action for conflict transformation and peacebuilding in some of the country’s hottest conflict flashpoints. The project adopts a two-part approach to deepening youth-led strategies for peacebuilding and community cohesion. The focus is on young women and men aged 15 to 24 who hail from and reside in the target locations – Alavanyo and Nkonya in the Volta region, Tamale and Damongo in the Northern region, and Bawku in the Upper East region. Selected through a participatory community-led approach that ensures trust and acceptance, participating youth attend Young Peace Ambassadors’ Camps where they receive peacebuilding and community mobilisation training. They also develop tailored peacebuilding action plans that become the basis for the second part of their peacebuilding efforts after the Camp meeting. In all project locations, YES-Ghana supports teams of Young Peace Ambassadors to undertake various peacebuilding activities, including outreach to traditional leaders, drama and creative work at community gatherings, radio discussions, among others. To date, more than 500 youth have directly benefitted from the project, altogether reaching more than 100,000 people with the peace message in all five locations. The significant reduction in violence recorded during the last three elections in the project locations can be traced to youth action under this project.
Tackling Poverty Together
Funded by Sida through the Swedish National Youth Council and the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs, the project sought to strengthen the role of young people in poverty reduction strategy processes (PRSP) in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Sweden, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The project built capacity and skills for youth organisations in those countries to engage in PRSPs processes; created opportunities through cooperation between the youth networks and in-country partners to apply skills related to PRSP processes; and increased the linkages between the youth and regional/national policy efforts in support of effective youth development. YES-Ghana hosted a series of capacity building activities, including a regional workshop in Accra. YES-Ghana also developed a toolkit for assessing national progress in reaching youth development priorities contained in the World Programme of Action for Youth. More than 5,000 youth participated in country-level PRSP processes under this project, resulting in seven Youth-PRSPs that ultimately influenced public policy. In Ghana, the project stimulated the inclusion of dedicated youth outcomes in the second Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategies (GPRS II).