Women entrepreneurs in nine districts in the Northern and Upper East Regions will soon have access to digital financial services, business, social and gender services to enable them succeed in their various economic activities.
This is in line with the Women Entrepreneurs in Northern Ghana Gain Access to Integrated Services via Agent Networks (WE GAIN) project, which seeks to increase sustainable access of women entrepreneurs in the two regions to a range of services they need for personal and business growth and to build resilience.
The WE GAIN project is being implemented from 2021-2023 by Grameen Foundation USA in partnership with American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, RISE Ghana, Ghana Developing Communities Association, and Healthkeepers Network, and in collaboration with MTN Ghana.
It is being funded by the United States Government through a Global Programme dubbed: “Women and Girls Empowered” (WAGE).
A total of 9,000 women entrepreneurs will be the direct beneficiaries while at least 36,000 household members will be indirect beneficiaries in the Karaga, Gushegu, Nanton, Kumbungu, Mion, Nabdam, Bongo, Talensi and Kassena- Nankana West Assemblies.
As part of the project’s start-up activities, Grameen Foundation USA and partners conducted a detailed needs assessment of women entrepreneurs in the beneficiary districts to understand amongst others, “What economic, socio-cultural and health barriers prevent women entrepreneurs in northern Ghana from starting and growing successful businesses”.
The findings of the assessment were presented at a forum dubbed: “Women’s Economic Empowerment Barriers and Opportunities Assessment Workshop” held in Tamale and attended by various stakeholders.
Participants were to validate the findings of the assessment and make inputs on the project’s activities to ensure successful implementation.
Some of the barriers identified by the assessment included the fact that most women did not own registered businesses, challenges with liquidity issues and not having a mobile money account due to lack of trust in the system amongst others.
Mr Alfred Yeboah, Regional Director, Africa, Grameen Foundation, who elaborated on the project, said 90 civil society organisations’ (CSOs) female agents would be set up as mobile money agents while at the same time empowering them with the tools to serve as change agents in their communities.
He said, “We realised that some female community agents that some local CSOs have been working with, have been providing different variety of services to their communities.
We want to identify some of the active community agents so that we work with MTN Ghana to set them up as mobile money agents so that once they have businesses that they are running and getting some revenue from it while at the same time they are also providing non-financial services to their communities where they provide mobile money services”.
Mr Yeboah added, “So, it is a kind of finding a revenue stream for the mobile money services to cross subsidise the services around gender-based violence support services in their communities or providing business or advisory services to their communities.”
Mr Seth Owusu Nyamekye, Upper West Regional Manager, MTN Mobile Money said, “It will empower women to be financially gainful and also contribute to the habit of savings amongst them.”