International charity Organization, SOS Children’s Villages has expressed concern that Ghana risks scoring poorly in its SDG targets if the country fails to reduce its high youth unemployment figures
SOS CV is currently empowering some 400 youth in the Ashanti Region with entrepreneurial and employable skills at its Youth Empowerment Center run under the organization’s No Business As Usual Project.
The two year project funded by SOS CV Netherlands. Comes at a time 2.1 million Ghanaian youth aged 15 to 35 were not in employment, education or training in the whole of the year 2022.
Speaking at a special reach out session in the Asokore Mampong Municipality; Country Director for SOS Villages Ghana Alexander Mar Kekula contended that Ghana’s ability to score decent plaudits in its commitments to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals will hinge on how it mobilizes and empowers its youth who form the critical mass of the population.
He cautioned, “In 2030 Ghana will be graded to see how far we have reached with each of the goals and their initiatives. If we have to move our country; we have to empower these young people.
Again all of us as a nation and as CSOs are participating in the Sustainable Development Goals. Those goals cannot be possible if each of us do not participate.”
Mr. Mar Kekula dismissed the erroneous notion that Ghanaian youth were laid back and unindustrious.
He argued, “Young People have the capacity to learn as long as there are opportunities open to them. We cannot write off the young people because they are the future. We have to give them both hard skills and soft skills.”
Young people are now expressive; they want to be part of the larger market where they want to be the drivers of their own decisions; they want to be part of the economic empowerment and economic development of this country.”
The Country Director further proposed a comprehensive education on the UNSDGs to foster an inclusive approach towards fulfilling each of the strands under the 17 goals.
“We need to spread the message even in basic schools. Our children must know what the government has to do, what our responsibilities as a people are and how we become accountable to those Sustainable Development Goals,” he demanded.
Past beneficiaries drawn from 600 persons trained in the first face of the NBU project which ended in 2021; took turns to share inspiring messages about their journey of establishing their own businesses and employing their compatriots after undergoing a six month NBU training.
They comprised young business owners in graphics and printing; catering and bakery services; farming and agro processing; Information and Communication Technologies; fashion and cosmetology among others.
Beneficiaries who had successfully undergone entrepreneurial training were handed ovens, hair dryers and other start up accessories for free, to commence business.
Project Coordinator for the NBU YEC Project Roberta Aryeetey disclosed that the project which is entering its second year, was bursting at its seams with hundreds of applications, highlighting need for more collaborators.
“Out of over 900 applications; we are able to accept a hundred. If we had funds coming from other donors alongside SOS Netherlands, I am sure out of this nine hundred we could really impact more lives,” Roberta pointed out.
Country Portfolio Coordinator for SOS Children’s Villages Netherlands;Marjon Durang, expressed the desire of SOS CV to extend such youth led livelihood empowerment programs beyond urban centers to extremely underdeveloped parts of the country.
“My expectation is that we will be able to empower more youth to become either self-employed or to become employable enough to find a job.”
Beyond Asokore Mampong, SOS Children’s Villages works in Tema, Tamale and Asiakwa and so we will also want to support vulnerable youth there. It shouldn’t be just urban and peri-urban areas but also out there in the rural communities,” she emphasized.
The beneficiaries of the outreach and start up tools are expected to build their businesses; upscale and offer employment to other young unemployed persons within their communities.
Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/103.5FM/Ivan Heathcote–Fumador