The Africa Skills Hub, a Ghanaian youth employment organisation and business incubator has entered into a partnership with Canada World Youth – Jeunesse Canada Monde (CWY-JCM) with support from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) to implement the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Livelihoods Initiative (WELI).
The project seeks to address challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic through an innovative youth-centred and gender-responsive economic empowerment approach.
“COVID 19 has threatened the survival of many women businesses, there is still much hope in building back better. There is recovery ahead, and whilst COVID may have disrupted so many things it has however also provided enormous alternative opportunities to diversify and do gender-responsive programming in a new way” said Daniel Antwi, Executive Director at Africa Skills Hub.
Africa Skills Hub has officially begun various activities in Ghana and Senegal. In Ghana, the project is in two (2) peri-urban councils in Sagnarigu district, Northern region; and in a rural setting in Afadzato South, Volta region but will also have various nationwide and local advocacy outreach. In Senegal, the WELI project will focus its work in Thies Region.
The project directly reflects CWY-JCM’s commitment towards SDG 5 (Gender Equality and Empowerment) and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth). We will use innovative strategies to tackle topics such as gender equality and sexual and gender-based violence. Additionally, we will expedite training and learning to improve the productive capacities of adolescent girls and young women and position them to contribute towards rebuilding and strengthening the economy since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
Over the years, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have played a critical role in Africa’s socio-economic development by producing critical goods and services, creating jobs, helping to reduce poverty, and promoting economic growth. The MSME sector has also provided women and youth opportunities to harness their economic potential. It is estimated by the World Bank that about one-third of all MSMEs in Africa are owned by women.
The overall outcome of WELI is to increase economic empowerment to strengthen resilience for adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) most affected by COVID-19 in targeted areas in Ghana and Senegal.