The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) with funding from Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), has equipped over 90 adolescent girls with start-up kits for girls enrolled in apprenticeship under the “Better Life for Girls” project.

The event, which took place at Sogakope in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region, had beneficiaries from South Tongu, Central Tongu, North Tongu, Akatsi North, Akatsi South, Ketu South, North Dayi and Adaklu.

The Project is being implemented by Savana Signatures, a non-governmental organization, in some selected districts of the Northern, Volta and Oti Regions.

A key component of the project is the skills training for 500 girls through enrollment in apprenticeships with master trainers in non-traditional male dominated skills.

The intervention is targeted at adolescent girls between the ages of 15 and 19 who are least likely to go back to school to help them develop practical employability skills or for self-employment.

The areas of skills development include fabrication and glazing, carpentry, masonry, tiling, auto spraying, general electricals, painting, decoration and welding.

UNICEF/KOICA equip adolescent girls with start-up kits

The Communications Officer in-charge of Brand and Youth Engagement at UNICEF Ghana, Antoinette Gyan, said the “Better Life for Girls” project, which started in 2017 sought to address some challenges confronting adolescent girls and provide better alternatives for the most vulnerable and marginalized girls.

She said the achievement could not have been possible without the leadership, commitment and the hard work of all stakeholders; both from government, traditional leaders and non-governmental organisations.

“Over the years, UNICEF has been investing in programmes to address sexual and gender-based violence and harmful traditional practices including child marriage through cross sectorial efforts with both government and NGO partners.”

According to her, it was important to note that, with the generous support from KOICA, they were witnessing success stories of real lives being transformed.

She added that, girls who were survivors of early marriage, teenage pregnancy, sexual and gender based violence as well as school drop outs, who could have missed out on the opportunity to get some skills to earn an income to support themselves, got the opportunity for a better life.

Madam Antoinette stated that, child marriage, adolescent pregnancy, sexual and gender-based violence violated girls’ rights to health, education and opportunity to reach their full potential, adding that, it exposed girls to violence throughout their lives as well as trapped them into a cycle of poverty.

The Country Director, KOICA Ghana Office, Moo Heon Kong, in a speech read on his behalf, said the occasion aptly highlighted the relevance of the concerted partnership between KOICA and UNICEF under the “Better Life for Girls” (BLG) Ghana Programme with $5.5 million funding from the good people and Government Korea.

He said through that investment, KOICA reaffirmed its commitment to development in the education and health sectors, especially in supporting adolescent girls in Ghana to gain access to education, information, life-changing skills and entrepreneurial training.

The Executive Director of Savana Signatures, John Stephen Agbenyo, said their Girls’ Life Choices Programme, which was being funded by UNICEF with support from KOICA, aimed at empowering young girls who were being trained to require skills that were traditionally regarded as male skills.

“The idea is that when they are economically empowered, they are able to make proper life choices.”

The Volta Regional Director of the Department of Social Welfare, Stella Agbezuhlor Mawutor, who pledged to support the training of three of the beneficiaries, urged them to remain determined and focused to enable them achieve their dreams in life.

A beneficiary from Vakpo in the North Dayi District, Nancy Zeh, who is learning auto-spraying, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, expressed gratitude to UNICEF, KOICA and Savana Signatures for coming to their aid.

“I am committed to learning this trade, so that after graduation I will be able to open my own auto-spraying shop. As an artisan, I will be earning income to take care of myself and my family.”

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