Women face deep-rooted obstacles to achieving their potential. Gender inequality manifests itself in economic security, education, health, and politics.
It does not only affect women, but also impedes their economic growth and social progress.
The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic adversely impacted and worsened the socio-economic plight of women in petty trading in the Sunyani Municipality in 2020 as economic challenges due to the pandemic threatened, disrupted, and collapsed economic activities of several women in the capital.
Most affected are street hawkers, head potters and petty traders as well as those engaged in traditional restaurants (chop bar) activities, and they have lost their working capital.
The pandemic has slowed down buying and selling, with a huge impact on women in petty trading.
Last year, economic activities of several women engaged in artisanal skills such as hairdressing, and dressmaking were largely affected due to the pandemic and placed huge economic challenges on them.
Global Affairs/Plan Ghana Intervention
Thankfully, the Global Media Foundation (GLOMeF), which believes enhanced entrepreneurship skills can empower and sustain socio-economic livelihoods of women in the midst of the pandemic.
GLOMeF, a-Sunyani-based human rights media advocacy non-governmental organization sought GHC40,000 funding from Global Affairs Canada and Plan International, NGOs, to implement a project to empower vulnerable women in the Municipality.
Titled “Women Empowerment and Enterprise Development (WEED)”, the five month project is aimed at advocating gender-sensitive and equity at workplaces, and training women in basic entrepreneurship and vocational skills.
It also seeks to strengthen vulnerable women to overcome all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, and empower them economically by providing training in income generating activities.
The project targets to benefit 5000 vulnerable young women including; head potters, people with disability and street hawkers.
They include; 150 young women between 19 and 30 years, and 50 women with disability and 250 economically and inactive women.
Giving an overview of the project, Mr Raphael Godlove Ahenu, founder and Chief Executive officer of GLOMeF told the GNA that beneficiaries would be trained in soap making and mushroom production.
The project would support the beneficiaries to form cooperatives, access credit facilities, and improve access to the ready market.
“It would establish direct linkages between beneficiaries and community banks, microfinance institutions and create market linkages for them as well”, he said.
Mr Ahenu thanked the funding partners and called on the beneficiaries to take the training aspect of the project seriously to build on their socio-economic lives.
He expressed the hope that beneficiaries would take the training to acquire knowledge that would position them to start and expand their economic activities.
Ms Christiana Korankye, the GLOMeF Project Coordinator, said the COVID-19 pandemic had had a huge toll and disrupted economic activities of many women in the Sunyani Municipality.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has virtually affected and collapsed economic activities of an increasing number of women entrepreneurs. They are facing several constraints that have affected the survival and growth of their businesses”, she said.
Ms Kwakye said many business women and traders in the Municipality had a lot of limitations in management, financial literacy, creativity and dynamism and self-confidence.
She added the project would improve business development and entrepreneurship skills and connect and help the beneficiaries to access credit facilities to establish and expand their economic activities.