Poverty is a major and multidimensional issue in Ghana, preventing individuals — especially young people and women — from enjoying economic security. Youth unemployment rates in Ghana are more than double average unemployment rates. Similar to the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, high employment rates indicate that youth are compelled to work in insecure, poor-quality, and low-paid jobs for survival (WESO 2017), denying them their right to adequate standards of living.
Self-employment serves as the primary pathway out of poverty for marginalized youth and women in the areas where Social Enterprise Ghana operates. The Registrar General’s Department Offices – responsible for registering them, the Ghana Revenue Authority – which taxes them, and several other governmental organizations are the primary duty-bearers in ensuring that young people can access beneficial services.
However, for most young people, these services are beyond their reach, and they often lack information about their existence or how to access them. Furthermore, these services have generally been developed without consulting the populations they aim to serve, and they lack the necessary structure and resources to meet their needs.
In collaboration with Social Enterprise Ghana, Reach for Change empowers young people and women to access services, information, and skills that support them in exercising their fundamental human right to an adequate standard of living and creating sustainable livelihoods. The project aims to enable young people and women living in poverty to advocate for and gain access to services that should be available to them, enabling them to become self-employed or start a small business in a sustainable manner.
The project had three key activities:
The advocacy training covered two different types of training: training of trainers (ToT) and training of beneficiaries—carried out by the participants of the ToT. The training of beneficiaries focused on explaining what advocacy means, how they could effectively advocate for their economic rights, how to connect to duty-bearers and how to empower their colleagues, groups and associations with the required information they have acquired on economic rights.
Policy Dialogue Session
The policy dialogue session focused on establishing relationships between the regional leads, relevant state duty-bearer institutions and the beneficiaries of the advocacy program. After the advocacy training program, duty-bearer institutions were invited to present their services and benefits to the beneficiaries as well as regional leads.
The feedback session focused on presenting the beneficiaries with an opportunity to give feedback to the duty-bearer representatives on their experience accessing their services and economic rights. Challenges, successes and opportunities were also discussed during this meeting.
All 12 regional leads (7 men and 5 women) responsible for implementing the program participated in the ToT. The focus was to equip the regional leads with the requisite advocacy training skills to train their beneficiaries in their respective regions.
Regional leads received training on developing advocacy plans for implementing advocacy programs during the program period. Consequently, all 12 regional advocacy plans were successfully developed.
575 beneficiaries completed the advocacy training organized by regional leads
73% were youth
75% were women
25% were men
86.6% of beneficiaries reported that their capacity to access services and benefits from duty-bearers had been strengthened
Based on the baseline endline survey conducted in the project, there is improvement in awareness of the participants about the available services for them, access to services, and opportunity to provide feedback to duty bearers. The result is as follows: