Global Communities, Solidaridad, and Participatory Development Associates (PDA) announced their partnership today with The MasterCard Foundation on an innovative employment initiative called “Youth Forward” for Ghana.
The program assists economically disadvantaged young people to overcome barriers such as lack of formal employment, low levels of education, skills mismatches, and lack of access to credit by improving their ability to find quality jobs, access finance, start and grow businesses, and generally expand the opportunities available to them.
In Ghana, the Youth Forward Initiative involves two consortia targeting young people aged 15-24 who are low-income, out of school, unemployed or underemployed, and going through life transitions such as seeking their first job, becoming married, or becoming the head of a household.
The first consortium, the “Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative for Employment,” or YIEDIE, is led by Global Communities and will provide employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in the construction sector in five of Ghana’s largest cities. Selected youth will be trained in business and life skills, and have opportunities to develop apprenticeship or networking opportunities. Participants will be able to choose between two tracks, one for those with technical skills looking to receive entrepreneurship training, the other for those looking to acquire technical skills through vocational training centers. The initiative will also work to improve the capacity of the vocational training centers, as well as work with financial institutions to provide financial education and services for the youth.
“The Youth Forward Initiative won’t just benefit the youth who receive the skills needed to start a business or are connected with local businesses that are looking to hire,” said Ishmael Adams, the YIEDIE Project Director, “It will help also strengthen local industries and institutions and help contribute to long-term, sustainable development.”
The second consortium, “MASO,” led by Solidaridad, focuses on creating opportunities for young people to build viable careers in cocoa communities in Ghana. The program will support young farmers through “CocoAcademies” with training in sustainable cocoa practices. It will also train and mentor young entrepreneurs through Cocoa Entrepreneur Development Incubators who want to establish businesses supporting the cocoa industry. The consortium will train all youth in social, financial, leadership and business skills, while linking them to networks of likeminded youth throughout the cocoa regions. The program will create more employment opportunities in each of the six cocoa growing regions and enhance life in the cocoa communities.
“MASO seeks to demonstrate that youth can make a career from cocoa as an enterprise if given the skills in best production techniques coupled with a supportive enabling environment. This would make cocoa farming more profitable and attractive to the youth and thus contribute to a sustainable cocoa economy for Ghana,” said Fred Frimpong, Program Manager for the MASO program at Solidaridad.
The two consortia will be supported by a national learning partner, Participatory Development Associates (PDA), ensuring that the lessons learned from the initiative will be shared through a National Advisory Group comprised of key national government stakeholders. Edem Agbe, the coordinator of the Youth Forward Initiative Learning Partnership also noted, “The Initiative will complement the government’s efforts to create decent and sustainable employment, alleviate poverty and enhance the quality of livelihoods for the youth in Ghana.”
“We are excited to be launching the Youth Forward initiative in Ghana,” said Ann Miles, Director of Programs, Financial Inclusion & Youth Livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation. “The construction and agricultural sectors present promising opportunities for job growth and economic prosperity in Africa. The Foundation is focused on finding practical solutions for youth employment and entrepreneurship and creating holistic approaches that provide young people with secure and sustainable livelihoods.”
ABOUT GLOBAL COMMUNITIES
Global Communities is an international non-profit organization founded in 1952 that works closely with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable. Global Communities believes that the people who understand their needs best are the people of the community itself. Learn more at www.globalcommunities.org .
Solidaridad is an international development organization with more than 45 years of global experience in facilitating the development of socially responsible, ecologically sound, and profitable supply chains. Solidaridad works across 12 commodity supply chains and operates through 9 Regional Expertise Centres on 5 continents. We bring together supply chain actors and engage them in innovative solutions to improve production, ensuring the transition to a sustainable and inclusive economy that maximizes the benefit for all. Solidaridad envisions a world in which everything we produce and consume can sustain us all, while respecting the planet, each other and future generations.
ABOUT YOUTH FORWARD INITIATIVE LEARNING PARTNERS
The Learning Partnership is led by Overseas Development Institute (ODI), with Participatory Development Associates (PDA) as their in-country representative. The learning partners will focus on knowledge development through research and sector-wide analysis, knowledge sharing and facilitation of multi-stakeholder dialogue through the National Advisory Group.
ABOUT THE MASTERCARD FOUNDATION
The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training, and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest independent foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion in order to alleviate poverty. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by MasterCard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org or follow us on Twitter @MCFoundation.