Thirty-two indigenes of Bibiani in the Sefwi-Wiawso District of the Western North region have received skills training under an alternative livelihood scheme.
The initiative was sponsored by Chirano Gold Mines, with technical support from the Business Advisory Centre (BAC) of Bibiani.
The 32 were selected from the many communities by the Business Advisory Centre (BAC) of Bibiani under the MINE’s catchment area.
General Manager, Andriano Sobreira, told Luv Biz that the scheme seeks to reduce unemployment in the mine's catchment area.
Last year, the company promised to invest in the youth in communities under its catchment areas in 2019 because they (the youth) were without work.
“There are no jobs so the paramount, chiefs, government are all struggling. So we started an initiative with the Business Advisory Centre in Bibiani to select the youth from the various communities so that everybody gets the opportunity,” said Mr Sobreira.
Chirano Gold Mines provided start-up kits as part of a package for beneficiaries in addition to the guaranteed market for their products.
Products include beads, liquid soaps, bags among others.
Mr Sobreira says beneficiaries will pay for the equipment into a revolving fund to extend the program to other people
“After this thirty-two, we start another thirty-two and the idea is that the first thirty-two will contribute so that we can renew the process and that way we believe we can have a huge impact in the communities,” he said.
The idea is to train more sets of thirty-two trainees every year in a sustainable manner till there are enough entrepreneurs to support themselves, and get their economic freedom.
He acknowledges that many of the youth either have technical degrees or diplomas but they don’t have work to do.
“Chirano Mines cannot employ all of them so what we want to see is build entrepreneurs that can either work in the communities and be part of the economics of the communities,” he explained
By so doing some of them will move away and become regional or national names in the business community in Ghana.
Often, start-ups like these are unable to survive because of a lack of market for the products.
The manager of Chirano Gold Mines said the company will be the first point of sale and market until there is a more reliable market.
“Obviously one of the low earning food markets in the area is Chirano Mines itself so we standing up and moving forward and make sure that where we can, we assist them to get an area where they can sell their products,” the Manager said.
Mr Sobreira says the stronger they get and the better the business people they become, they can become self-sufficient to sustain themselves.
He is positive at this point; they will start signing on other youth in the area to grow their businesses.
The BAC will come in and help them for a period of six months to market their products in other areas in the region.
Meanwhile, the BAC will monitor the progress of the beneficiary trainees for six months and support them to succeed.
The trainees learnt among other things beads-making, soap-making, sewing and making pastries.
Some of the participants told Luv Biz during a graduation ceremony that they are hopeful that the skills they have learned will improve their lives.
Some that had just graduated from senior high school said they are confident that they will be able to save enough money to continue their education.
Others who are farmers or involved in other economic activities were positive they can earn extra income to fend for themselves and family since these products were easy going.
Meanwhile, the traditional leaders are excited by the outcome of the pilot of the initiative.
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