Ghana: Asongtaba Boosts Youth Employment

The Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) formerly National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) and Asongtaba Cottage Industry and Exchange Programme (ACI&EP), a subsidiary of Rlg Communications, have empowered many Ghanaian youth with self-employable skills.

To this end, Asongtaba, in partnership with GYEEDA, at a well-attended ceremony in Accra, graduated 2,486 dressmaking and 1,143 hairdressing beneficiaries of the trades and vocation module of the GYEEDA, in the Greater Accra Region. While about 10, 255 hairdressing beneficiaries and 23,971 dressmaking beneficiaries are to be graduated nationwide, before the end of December 2012.

Similar ceremonies have already taken place in the Ashanti, Eastern and Northern regions, and more will follow soon.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony held in Accra yesterday, the Executive Director of Asongtaba Cottage Industry and Exchange Programme, Mr. Henry Kanga added that about 7000 youth have already been trained and graduated between 2011and 2012 in dressmaking, while an additional 5000 are currently under training in the Auto Mechanics project nationwide.

Additionally, 10,000 youth will be provided real jobs under the Community Tricycle Project, which will commence in the coming days nationwide, he hinted.

According to him, in the Greater Accra Region, Asongtaba has engaged about 200 master trainers for Dressmaking and 170 for hairdressing. This is a clear indication of the number of real job opportunities created by the GYEEDA and Asongtaba partnership for the youth and master trainers nationwide.

Mr. Kanga noted: "The youth of this country have been identified by government as a rich potential resource base with a huge potential to contribute significantly to the economic development of this country.

This can be realized through a well defined public-private partnership (PPP), which has been exemplified in the relationship between the Ghana Youth Employment Development Agency (GYEEDA), formally NYEP and Asongta Cottage Industry and Exchange Programme (ACI&EP)".

He went further to explain that creating jobs and opportunities for the youth of this country is therefore a priority of the partnership.

Mr. Kanga maintained that per the partnership, the role of Asongtaba is to facilitate and oversee the training of beneficiary youth in various vocations, with the overall goal of making them economically independent and socially productive, saying Asongtaba has lived up to its mandate".

Touching on the duration of the programme, Mr. Kanga indicated that for the training period particularly for the dressmaking project had been extended to one year due to the volume of training modules to be covered.

The extension, he said, was meant to allow beneficiaries grasp very well the essentials of dressmaking before venturing into the world of work. Upon completing the training stage, beneficiaries are moved on to the set-up segment which is in two levels.

Under the first level, beneficiaries are provided equipment and other basic tools and accessories free of charge which forms the primary set up.

The second level of the set-up is optional for beneficiaries and involves a cost element for a piece of land, furnishing, sheltered workstation etc. this will be handled in partnership with ACI Financial Service (ACIFS), which has a department set-up for this purpose, he revealed.

The next stage of the project will be the recovery stage, where beneficiaries are required to make repayment for the workstation and other equipment that ACIFS may have assisted them to acquire for their businesses. This is, however, done based on the mutual agreement between the beneficiary and ACIFS.

The final stage is the micro credit segment, which provides financial and technical support for the beneficiary to expand and diversify their businesses under the management and mentorship of Asongtaba.

The Executive Director of GYEEDA, Mr. Abuga Pele said the government was committed to empowering youth to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.

He stated: "As a boost to our effort, the World Bank has agreed to finance the programme's youth enterprise project. This will bring together youth groups and individuals who have brilliant business ideas and proposals to be supported and mentored to start and grow their businesses into sustainable ventures".

The Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister, Mr. Isaac Vanderpuije admitted that the training provided by Asongtaba to the newly graduates will go a long way to reduce unemployment in the country.

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