The Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative for Employment Launched in Kumasi

On Friday, October 27, 2017, Global Communities, in collaboration with the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Charity Foundation, officially launched the Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative for Employment (YIEDIE) project in Kumasi. YIEDIE is a five-year project to create economic opportunities in Ghana’s construction sector for economically disadvantaged youth, implemented by Global Communities (formerly CHF International) in partnership with Mastercard Foundation. The project works in five of Ghana’s largest cities, Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi, Ashaiman, and Tema and will directly reach at least 23,700 youth, between ages 17-24, earning less than $2 per day. The project provides youth with training in technical, life and entrepreneurship skills leading to employment through its five core objectives:

  1. Youth Readiness for Employment and Entrepreneurship;
  2. Access to Financial Service Providers;
  3.  Access to demand-Driven Training and Service Providers;
  4. Youth Enterprise Start-Up and Recruitment by Employers;
  5. and, Collaboration for Positive Government Policies.

Global Communities is an international non-profit organization that works closely with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable. The organization has worked in Ghana since 2007, supporting a variety of projects including youth engagement, environmental improvements local governance, water, sanitation and hygiene interventions, and agricultural projects in both rural and urban centers. YIEDIE is part of the multi-country Youth Forward Initiative in collaboration with Mastercard Foundation. The Youth Forward Initiative is focused on transitioning economically disadvantaged young people to find quality employment or start their own businesses in the growing agriculture and construction sectors in Ghana and Uganda.


Implementing Partners

The YIEDIE consortium is comprised of four key implementing partners: Opportunities Industrialization Centre Ghana (OICG), African Aurora Business Network LLC (AABN), HFC-Boafo Microfinance Services Ltd. (HFC-Boafo), and Artisans Association of Ghana (AAG). Each partner plays a unique role contributing to the training and empowerment of youth in each of the operating cities. Consortium partners provide critical support to young participants of the YIEDIE project, ranging from financial literacy training, business development services, linking youth to employers, and mobilizing youth for training. YIEDIE – Kumasi operates in collaboration with the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Charity Foundation – an initiative of the 16th occupant of the Golden Stool of the Ashanti Kingdom, Otumfuo Osei Tutu- Asantehene.


YIEDIE Project Launch in Kumasi

The project launch in Kumasi brought together representatives of the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Charity Foundation, various government officials, academia, and community leaders to usher in the launch of YIEDIE in Kumasi. Among the attendees were Her Royal Highness Lady Julia Osei Tutu, The Mayor of Kumasi, Regional Director of Ghana Education Service, Regional Director of Social Welfare, and many other key stakeholders. Lady Julia Osei Tutu highlighted the importance of the YIEDIE project in Kumasi during her speech. “This has come to alleviate the plight of many youth who had no jobs because they had no skills to offer the various institutions which go to the job market to look for people to employ,” she stated. Her excitement and enthusiasm for the YIEDIE project in Kumasi resonated through Manhiya Palace, inspiring implementers, stakeholders, and partners alike to work hard towards empowering the youth.

Global Communities – YIEDIE Project Director, Vera Kafui Mills-Odoi delivered a speech, providing key insights on the project and how it is implemented. Furthermore, she highlighted the key issues faced by youth in Ghana as they struggle to acquire practical skills to gain employment. “The launch of the YIEDIE project in Kumasi is a dream come true”, she noted, shedding light on the positive impact the project will have on families across the region. The project director informed the attendees of the reality of heightened drop-out rates in school, leading to chronic unemployment. By targeting youth between the ages of 17-24, the project aims to reverse the trend of youth unemployment in Ghana by equipping them with practical skills and linking them to sustainable employment. She lauded the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Charity Foundation for their strong track record of supporting development initiatives in education, health, culture, and the environment and thanked the Asantehene for the vision of creating the Charity Foundation.

A key focus of the YIEDIE project is supporting young women to acquire the skills needed to be competitive in the job market. The Project Director reminded the youth, especially girls, of the need for them to develop interest in the construction sector, which bears high job prospects in Ghana. Currently, the construction sector is the greatest contributor to the nation’s GDP. Construction activity contributed $4.5 billion to Ghana’s GDP in 2015 (Ghana Statistical Service, 2015). This was equal to 14.8% of GDP; an increase by 18.4% from $3.8 billion in 2014. Annual employment growth rate in the construction sector is estimated to be between 10-12% with potential for growth. For these reasons, Project Director Vera Kafui Mills-Odoi strongly urged young women to participate in the construction sector.


How YIEDIE Works

“The project applies and integrated, youth-led market systems model to improve the capacity of youth and service providers across the value chain. It is training young women and men in technical construction skills and helping youth to grow and start small businesses”, explained Project Director Odoi Mills. YIEDIE is part of The Youth Forward Initiative, an intiative under Mastercard Foundation’s Youth Livelihoods program. This initiative uses a holistic approach to engage with multiple, specialized organizations (including the private sector, governments, financial service providers, youth-serving organizations and youth themselves) to enhance the employability of young people.


Targeting Disadvantaged Youth in Ghana for Training

Young men and women in Ghana, between the ages 17-24 face critical challenges in gaining employment due to the lack of practical skills to be competitive in the job market. Youth between the ages 15-24 account for 16% of the population of Ghana (Ghana Labour Force Report, 2015), and 35.1% of the working age group (Ghana Living Standard Survey 2013). Meanwhile, significant numbers of these youth remain unemployed and inactive. The YIEDIE project will reach at least 23,700 youth with training in technical, life, and entrepreneurship skills leading to employment. A total of 16 trade areas are available for youth, including Masonry, Plaster of Paris (POP) design, Tiling, Plumbing, Metal Fabrication, Carpentry, Filling Station Canopy Fabrication, Steel Bending, and many more.


The Impact

Dr Thomas Agyarko-Poku, Executive Director of the Otumfuo Charity Foundation, highlighted the major impact the foundation has had on many lives in Kumasi, specifically those disadvantaged youth. Through his address, he pledged the Manhiya Palace’s commitment to continue collaborating with institutions to bring the critical support, development, and empowerment needed for the people. Dr. Agyarko-Poku stated that youth empowerment was the top priority of the foundation as it continues to support youth to be economically active and independent. The YIEDIE project will work closely with the Otumfuo Charity Foundation, alongside the four key consortium partners, AABN, AAG, OICG, and HFC-Boafo to deliver the service package to as many youth as possible in Kumasi.