Our Lady of Mercy Community Services (OLAM), a Non Governmental Organization operating in the northern parts of the country has held its fifth graduation ceremony for 43 youth who had received skills training in various vocations.
The project, which is in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development and the German Embassy to Ghana with funding support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA- SENEGAL), trained youth in the Kassena-Nankana Municipal and the Kassena-Nankana West District in the Upper East Region.
The 33 and 10 graduands drawn from the Kassena-Nankana Municipal and Kassena-Nankana West District respectively were trained in batik, tie and dye, soap making, beads making, dress making and Information Communication Technology (ICT).
Speaking at the graduation ceremony held under the theme: “Promoting Gender Equality, Social Inclusion Through Skills Training”, Mr Emmanuel Atiiga, the Project Director of OLAM, said OLAM has been operating in the northern sector of the country since 2005 with the aim of empowering underprivileged communities, women and children towards poverty reduction and community development.
He said his outfit with funding support from the OSIWA- SENEGAL and the German Embassy has over the years collaborated with the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development in offering training in various vocational modules such as batik, tie and dye, soap making, beads making, dress making and Information Communication Technology (ICT).
The Project Director said most of the past beneficiaries have set up their own shops and employed others adding that apart from the skills training programmes, the beneficiaries also received start-up capitals in the form of equipment and also took home certificates all provided by the training centre.
Mr Atiiga said some of the graduates from the school who wrote the prescribed National Vocational and Training Institute (NVTI) Examination were awarded certificates after passing the examination.
The Project Director said plans are far advanced by his outfit to prepare the incoming students adequately to enable them write the NVTI and admonished those who graduated to attend to their expectations.
Mr James Brown Fankey, the Municipal Director of the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development, said his outfit in collaboration with the NGO would continue to offer services to the beneficiaries on how to sustain the growth of their enterprises.
Mr Alhassan Abdul-Baqi, the Planning Officer at the Kassena-Nankana Municipal, who spoke for Mr Williams Adum, the Municipal Chief Executive, commended the efforts of the NGO and the funding agencies for complementing government’s efforts to generate employment for the youth.
He said the leadership of the Municipal Assembly and the Navrongo Traditional Council were impressed with the role the NGO has played in curbing rural urban migration among the youth; creating awareness on negative cultural practices such early and forced marriages and teenage pregnancies in the area as well as its roles in sexual reproductive health education programmes.
Whilst urging the NGO to continue to partner the Municipal Assembly in its development agenda, the MCE also entreated other NGOs operating in the area to emulate the good work of OLAM by supporting the Assembly to help accelerate the development of the area.