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Transforming the lives of rural women and their local communities

By Lydia Baffour Awuah, Senior Programme Manager

 “I’m leaving the beautiful Upper West Region of Ghana, inspired by the amazing stories of the women farmers and the brilliant staff I met; who have been working tirelessly to transform the lives of rural women and their local communities.”

Lydia Baffour Awuah, one of our Senior Programme Managers, is recently home from Ghana where she's been hosting the learning and close event for Opportunity's 'Roots of Change' project - a three year project funded in partnership with the UK government's who matched public donations to our 'Roots of Change' appeal in 2017.  The event brought together partners, Ghanaian and UK government representatives, and successes and learnings were shared.  Here are Lydia's reflections:

"When the 'Roots of Change' programme was announced in 2017, an ambitious target was set. To provide 12,000 of the most marginalised rural women in Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with access to savings, loans, financial literacy and gender sensitivity training.  By August 2021 these targets had been repeatedly exceeded. More than 15,000 women have been trained and over 12,000 rural women have opened savings accounts. An estimated 40,000 additional jobs have been created as a result of the UK government-funded programme." 

Together we innovated and overcame how we worked with rural women to break down barriers to financial inclusion in Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Lydia speaking at the conference. 

"This conference was a great opportunity to hear insightful experiences from the UK Aid Match Project Implementing partners: Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans Ltd, Opportunity International Savings & Loans Ltd and Vision Fund DRC on their gender equality transformative programme. And, on how they innovated to break down barriers in providing inclusive finance with digital financial services for rural women to work their way out of poverty with dignity. With UK Government support, over 12,000 rural women farmers and entrepreneurs in Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo have increased their productivity, income and built resilience.

Clearly these women have the ambition, the drive and the determination to work their own way out of poverty with dignity - all that they needed was Opportunity!  And this is exactly what Opportunity International’s UK Aid Match Roots of Change project is about - giving our women farmers - including some with disabilities - human and financial capital to help them succeed."

Philomene, aged 61, at her farm on the outskirts of Kinshasa, DRC, took part in financial and agricultural training. Image credit: Lisa Murray. 

It made me feel happy to join these trainings, I can brag about what I’ve learned… it’s really empowered me, I’ve been able to share my knowledge with other people. The way people in the community look at me now has changed. - Philomene

"Opportunity International staff and partner institutions like Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans Ltd are on the frontlines, doing what we can do to help people like these inspirational women survive today so that they can thrive tomorrow. My brilliant colleague Joyce Owusu Dabo, Chief Programmes Officer at Sinapi Aba explains our mission and work so well in this news clip:"

“I’m so proud to have walked beside our partners and clients on this three-year gender transformational journey! We identified, tested, and implemented, effective and cost-efficient delivery channels for providing financial services to the rural poor. We believe this set the women’s transformation journey in motion. This is the journey in which she will overcome circumstance, create momentum, and sustain transformational change for herself, her family and her community. It is the journey of a life time!"

The Roots of Change project was only made possible thanks to donations from supporters like you, which were then doubled by the UK government, anbling us to provide women the opportunity to build a better life.  Thank you.  

Read more about the conference and details of the Roots for Change programme highlighted in this online article on Ghana Web. 

The Roots of Change project implemented by Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans Ltd, Opportunity International Savings and Loans Ltd and Vision Fund DRC is funded through a grant from the UK government.  Special thanks go to our fund managers at MannionDaniels for their continuing support.

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