Although Ghana has more women than men, only two girls for every three boys complete secondary school there. Only 22% of eligible girls are enrolled in upper secondary education, while in the Northern Region of Ghana only 30% of the women aged 15-24 are literate.
Dolores Dickson, country director of Camfed, says that girls often drop out of school when they reach adolescence. “That is because they can be used to generate income for the family. Exchange marriage is very prevalent. Child marriage is very prevalent. These are issues that young girls particularly face.”
Camfed Ghanais an organisation focused on tackling poverty and inequality through education. In 2014, its bursaries enabled over 136 000 learners to stay in school. Going Places demonstrates the widespread benefits this has for girls and their families and the broader communities. As Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General, says, “There is not tool for development more effective than the education of girls.”
Going Places also follows Zainab Andan and Nimatu Yakubu, two girls who have benefited from these bursaries. Zainab has graduated from Tamale Islamic Senior High School and is now a youth leader, while Nimatu is one of her pupils determined to get an education.
Zainab and her mother have also joined the CAMA business network of 3 130 businesses set up by young women. 93% of CAMA businesses earned a profit, with 92% putting some of the profits back into the business. One local project processes shea butter and now supplies a range of international outlets, including The Body Shop.
Going Places is the final episode in Women Make Change, an Al Jazeera series showcasing women who have started impactful local projects in Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Brazil, Nicaragua, and Papua New Guinea.
Focusing on areas as diverse as water, agriculture, family planning and sport, their work shows that investing in women is indeed smart economic sense. Former Nigerian media personality of the year Femi Oke hosts the series.