Three-hundred and thirty-five girls in the Akuapem North and Okere districts in the Eastern Region who could not complete school due to childbirth have benefited from the Strategic Approaches to Girls Education (STAGE) project to empower them economically.

The STAGE project is implemented by the International Child Development Program (ICDP) with funding from UKAID/DFID in three districts in the Eastern Region with the overall objective of reducing barriers that affected the empowerment of girls especially those who had to drop out of school due to childbirth by equipping them with literacy, numeracy and life skills to have a livelihood.

Country Director of the ICDP, Mrs. Joyce Larnyoh said the programme commenced in 2019 and despite numerous challenges including; COVID-19, the 335 beneficiaries were able to go through the two modules of the project including the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) and the Vocational Skills Training (VST) as well as branding and customer care services to boost their businesses.

She explained that the beneficiaries were enrolled onto the National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI) certification programme and a start-up fund of GHS250 was given to each of the 335 beneficiaries in order to avoid delays in starting their trades.

The Country Director appealed to the beneficiaries to embrace the Village Saving and Loans Association (VLSA) module which they were introduced to, to mobilize funds to support the expansion of their businesses and also form groups to access financial support from the banks.

She was grateful to the community leaders and all stakeholders who made the project a success and advised them to continue to monitor the beneficiaries to ensure that the intended purpose was achieved.

The beneficiaries were selected from communities such as Otwetiri, Kokormu, Baware, Yensiso, Timber Nkwanta, Lakpa, Asamang, Onyamebekyere, Mintakrom, and Asenema were trained in pastries making, facial-make-ups and pedicure and manicure, soap making, and hair braiding to empower them to have a sustainable livelihood.