Over the years, stakeholders have stressed the need to pay critical attention to agriculture in order to create job opportunities for the youth, to address the rising unemployment situation in the country.
In line with this, the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), has provided a platform to train and equip the youth with requisite skills and expertise.
The initiative, which is known as the Green Project, is supporting the growth of thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises and is also addressing some critical needs of various communities.
The Green Project by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) has been in existence since 2019.
The project forms parts of a four-year strategic plan to enhance businesses and create entrepreneurial opportunities for the youth, women, and returning migrants by promoting and supporting sustainable businesses.
So far, the project has targeted 10 Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies in two selected regions, namely Ashanti and Western, with 4,000 beneficiaries in various businesses that protect the environment.
The technical specialist for the project, Angela Yayra Kwashie, says the initiative aims at supporting the growth of local economies through procurement to local SMEs using a performance-based climate-resilient grant system (PBCRGS).
“Now we are trying to ensure that they build their resilience. When they build their climate resilience at the same time too, we are also supporting them when it comes to the building of the infrastructure, the climate resilience infrastructure where this particular district that we are in, which is Adansi, they are building two (2) culverts. Now with the building of these 2 culverts, we are engaging the youth, the women in the community to offer what we call the cash for work. That is, the labour is coming from the community. The contractor is not bringing people from outside, but then we’re engaging these people so that they can get some sort of assistance and allowances.”
She added that, “these allowances, they are going to be paid through a bank, and in this case, we are working the ECOBANK. Now, ECOBANK is supposed to support the beneficiaries to open bank accounts for them. This bank account, the allowances are going to be transferred into this bank account so that the habit of savings is inculcated into these beneficiaries. In addition to that, we are also supporting them with skills training.”
“That’s where our partner, which is SOS in Ghana, comes in. They are taking them through 14 sections within the curriculum. They are taking them through training every week to ensure that they are giving them some sort of skills.”
One of the beneficiary districts in the Ashanti region is Adansi South, where some 60 youth in the area are taking advantage of the cash-for-work initiatives as part of the project. A beneficiary of the Green Project told Citi Business News what it means to him.
“I was engaging in lumber activities, but I realized that it was not a stable business. Then we were introduced to the Green Project where they have taken us through some training for about two months now. This has been very beneficial,” says Iddrisu Mohammed.
As part of the initiative, the UNCDF is also constructing an eight-kilometer road for the district. The District Chief Executive for the area, Francis Kwabena Ankomah, says the initiative will go a long way to benefit residents.
“These culverts that we are doing will enable the farmers to transport all their farm input or farm produce to the district capital for the market”.
As part of the resilient infrastructure project, the central market at Drobonso in the Sekyere Afram Plains District of the Ashanti Region has also been rehabilitated to enhance economic activities. The Queen mother for Drobonso told Citi Business News what that means to the people.
“The market was in a bad state. Before the renovation, the market used to be muddy anytime it rains. Since UNCDF came in to renovate it, the traders have been happy,” Obaa Panin Akosua Fofie stated.