In Ghana, one of West Africa’s most developed nations, less than half of all women have received secondary education and almost a third of the population is living on less than $1.25 a day.
The capital city of Ghana, Accra, is one of the wealthiest and most modern cities on the continent, and is currently experiencing a period of rapid growth and urbanization. Although the country’s GDP continues to rise with oil production, gold mining and other industries, the majority of this wealth is not distributed among the population due to high corruption. Most of Ghana’s poor live in rural areas without basic services such as health care and clean water. Small-scale farmers, who are affected most by rural poverty in Ghana, depend on outdated farming tools and lack access to improved seeds and fertilizers to increase crop yields.
Formerly a British colony, in 1957, Ghana (bordered by the Côte D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Togo) became the first colonial country in Sub-Saharan Africa to gain its independence. After a period of turbulence, with several military coups, a stable democracy was established in the 1990’s and remains to this day.
Further development of the microfinance programme in Ghana
THP Switzerland collected CHF 94,239 by the end of 2017 to finance the further development of the microfinance programme in the two epicenters (village communities) Kyempo and Aworasa in Ghana's Ashanti and Eastern Region. The programme aims to reduce poverty and improve the living conditions of local communities through improved access to agricultural credit. The project was started in January 2018. The following activities were carried out in the first quarter:
Mobilisation of communities: The Hunger Project mobilizes people to a self-determined life with the vision, commitment and action workshop. People are changing their mindsets and attitudes towards dependency, hopelessness and gender discrimination towards assuming responsibility, gender equality and independence. In the first quarter, 247 women and 233 men attended this workshop.
Food security: Communities are trained through proven sustainable farming methods to improve their yields and thus their incomes. In addition, they are shown the advantages of setting up farming groups. In the first quarter, 227 women and 193 men enjoyed this training.
Financial competence and microinsurance: Communities are educated about the importance of savings and are shown various ways to save money. In the first quarter 196 women and 212 men took part in this workshop.
Empowering women: Community members, especially women, are taught civil and children's rights. The importance of creating equal educational opportunities for girls and boys is also emphasised. 187 women and 179 men were informed about this in the first quarter.
Computerized collection of bank data in the Epicenters: The Epicenter banks are equipped with computers and accessories to improve and simplify credit and financial data management.
Capacity building: The capacity of animators (villagers trained by the Hunger Project who pass on their knowledge to other villagers) and the management committee of the Social Enterprise Project has been strengthened so that they can carry out their tasks in an appropriate and satisfactory manner.
The biggest challenge of the programme in this phase is that the animators have to travel very long distances to carry out the educational programme in other village communities and are completely dependent on public transport. The project leaders of the Hunger Project have agreed with the animators to coordinate their work plans so that they can travel to the relevant communities with the program leaders.
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"In the local VCA (Vision-Commitment-Action)-Workshops of THP, the majority of participants are women and they become empowered to lead their lifes independently, to take action and to influence their communities as self-responsible members. As such, they jointly find their own ways out of chronic hunger and external material dependence. THP joins this process locally, where the people are at home."
Therese Gerber-Fürst, Management Consultant, has been supporting THP for more than 10 years