The Africa Skills Hub (www.AfricaSkillsHub.com), a youth employment organization and business incubator in Ghana, will partner with Canada World Youth – Canada World Youth (JCM-JCM) with the support of ‘Global Affairs Canada (GAC) to implement Women’s Entrepreneurship and Livelihoods Initiative (WELI) (www.AfricaSkillsHub.com/weli). The project addresses the challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic through an innovative, youth-centered and gender-sensitive economic empowerment approach.
“COVID 19 has threatened the survival of many women’s businesses, there is still a lot of hope to build back better. There is a recovery ahead, and while Covid may have disrupted so much, it has also provided huge alternative opportunities to branch out and do gender responsive programming in a new way ” said Daniel Antwi, executive director of Africa Skills Hub.
Africa Skills Hub officially launched various activities in Ghana and Senegal. In Ghana, the project is taking place in two (2) peri-urban councils in the district of Sagnarigu, northern region; and in a rural setting in Afadzato Sud, in the Volta region, but will also have various outreach activities at national and local level. In Senegal, the WELI project will focus its work in the Thiès region.
The project directly reflects JCM-JCM’s commitment to 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 accelerate training and learning to improve the productive capacities of adolescent girls and young women and position them to help rebuild and strengthen the economy since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
Over the years, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have played a vital role in Africa’s socio-economic development by producing essential goods and services, creating jobs, helping to reduce poverty and by promoting economic growth. The MSME sector has also provided opportunities for women and youth to harness their economic potential. The World Bank estimates that about a third of all MSMEs in Africa are owned by women.
WELI’s overall outcome is to increase economic empowerment to strengthen the resilience of adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) most affected by COVID-19 in targeted areas in Ghana and Senegal.