During the last few years, Ghana has known sustained economic growth. Despite this, many still struggle to make a living that can support themselves and their family. In rural areas and the northern region in particular over half of all families still live below the poverty line. Within this framework, we are addressing some of the most urgent challenges this brings particularly for women, education and access to water and sanitation.
In Ghana’s capital city Accra young girls are living and working on the streets, carrying heavy loads on their heads in market-places for small sums of money: they are called Kayayei, or head porters. They have often migrated from the Northern Region searching for jobs, but lack of education often means that their livelihood options are limited. They usually end up living in slum areas and are highly vulnerability.
With funding and support from the CarVal Investors Foundation and Allan & Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust, this project is supporting 98 Kayayei to receive vocational training, financial literacy and sexual and reproductive health training; the opportunity to set up a savings account; and receive business start-up kits and a business loan.
Water, Sanitation and Health Project
Micro, Small and Medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are the engine of growth of the Ghanaian economy and have the potential to be an important force for improving Water, Sanitation and Health (WASH). However, they lack access to finance of the right type and on the right terms as they transition to scale. Access to appropriate financial services continues to be a key obstacle facing the growth of private sector WASH businesses in Ghana.
With funding from the Stone Family Foundation we offer interest rate subsidies to stimulate WASH business loans. This project trains both finance staff and business clients to increase understanding of WASH and financial services. Alongside raising the importance of WASH, increased awareness will generate demand and help to secure wide market acceptance for improved WASH.
‘Roots of Change’ Project
The Roots of Change project runs across Ghana in the poorest parts of the north, eastern and southern region, to work with over 10,000 female farmers and communities to improve their livelihoods.
Our experience has shown that providing a combination of financial services, training and peer support can empower rural women in many areas of their lives. This project provides access to modern farming techniques and improved agricultural inputs (seeds and fertiliser) which increase crop quality and yields. Access to market data and safe storage facilities enhance female farmers’ ability to negotiate the best price for their crops. With increased control over their assets and savings, women enjoy enhanced food security, nutrition, education and health for their family members.
Through a range of innovative programmes focussing on access to financial loans, savings and training, Opportunity International is making a real difference to thousands of women and youth, from the slums of Accra, the capital, to remote rural locations.