UN volunteers help Ghana women set up businesses
29 October 2004
Accra, Ghana: Participants at a Women Economic workshop in Accra on Wednesday, were thrilled to the success stories of multi-millionaire Ghanaian entrepreneurs, many of whom started their businesses from humble beginnings, such as the selling of small quantity of second hand clothing on the streets and corners of Accra. The list included the Chief Executive Of Darko Farms, Mr. Kwabena Darko, who began his business with about 500 birds and later contracted a loan of 5000 cedis to expand his business.
The women were being encouraged by the resource persons at the two-day training of trainers' workshop to look inward to start small businesses with little or no capital.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme organised the workshop for the 70 participants in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs and the Global Youth Action Network. UNV. Mr. Joseph Oji, the UNV Programme Officer in Ghana, told the participants drawn mainly from the informal sector that the world body was of the view that " Equipping women with the needed skills and tools would trigger a positive domino effect".
" Women constitute about 51 per cent of the population of Ghana and about 47 per cent of the labour force. They are quite visible in the informal sector."
He said the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) of the United Nations, had set 2005 as the year for the elimination of the disparity in primary and secondary education, while by 2015 gender inequality at all levels is expected to be eradicated.
Mr. Oji said unfortunately, developing planning in most developing countries does not seem to recognise and factor women as vital components of the socio-economic development equation.
"The additional burden of taking care of the home front, restricted socio-economic opportunities, unhelpful legal and administrative instruments, harmful traditional practices just to mention a few, constitute additional burdens and obstacles with formidable potentials to limit the contributions of women to the national development effort.
" It is time we factored women in all our calculations. Their patient disposition, maternal instincts, compassion, energy, intelligence, enormous reservoir of skills, ingenuity, creativity and local knowledge hold invaluable potentials for societal harmony and development."
The workshop, would offer the participants the opportunity to acquire practical knowledge in Strategic Thinking for Business Planning and Legal Issues, Sources of Capital and Accounting Finance, Business Management Systems and Pricing Strategy Marketing and Customer Care. Dr. Kamil Kamaludden, an Economic Advisor at the United Nations Development Programme, Office in Accra said no economy in the world could survive without the active participation of women, hence the need for the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy, to include the empowerment of women to raise national productivity.
Mr. Willie Adjetey-Solomon, a resource person at the workshop asked the participants to explore their talents through education, observation and experience to discover the kind of business they could establish. They should start their venture on a small scale preferably through their personal savings and avoid mediocrity.
Mr. E.A. Boatey, a Banking Consultant, said as at June 30 this year the total credit from the banks to the public and private sectors was about 11 trillion cedis.
He asked the participants to look forward to the products and services of the banks, their interest rate policy and establish a good relationship with a Banker to enhance their business growth. Mrs. Mercy Osei Konadu, Programme Officer of the United Nations Population Programme, who chaired the function urged the women to explore joint ventureship to break the cycle of poverty that kept them marginalised.