07 Feb 2019

Poverty And Sogakofe?

Sogakofe is a beautiful town located in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region of Ghana. Located along the lower Volta River, makes weather conditions really interesting. Noted for its wonderful resorts, river sighting, spa, popular bread, fried and spicy turkey (dↄkugbi) fried and dried oysters (adordi), fried tiny fishes (one-man thousand), biscuits (ayigbe biscuits), and “abolo” production which serves as the major source of refreshment and appetizers for travelers. No doubt it is a busy town. It is also noted for the popular Lower Volta Bridge, of which construction commenced in January 1965 and ended in January, 1967.

Sogakofe, under the South Tongu District, happens to be one of the fastest growing towns in Ghana which also happens to be the transit town linking Adidome, Keta, Akatsi, Dabala and neighboring country Togo along the ECOWAS highway.

As a district capital and an ideal place for business and leisure, it attracts a lot of visitors and tourists who either come for vacation or to stay permanently in a quest to take advantage of its very economical opportunities and youthful populace.

Against the backdrop of an increasing population, inadequate social amenities, little economic opportunities, poverty and inequality thrives; Youth unemployment is high. Most of the youths, young women especially indulge in unsafe livelihoods in the informal sector with low and irregular income, poor work relationship and conditions. Most of them who engage in hawking along the ECOWAS highways risk being hit by speeding vehicles. Their male counterparts often school dropouts, mainly engage in motorcycle transport business (okada) for a livelihood.

This lack of opportunities has also fueled rural-urban migration where the youth go to Accra to seek non-existent greener pastures exposing them to exploitations. This exodus to Accra put strains on resources in the cities creating problems such as poor sanitation, crimes, congestion etc.

The poverty situation in the district has also contributed to an increase in school dropouts and teenage pregnancies.

Over the years, some well-meaning individuals and non-governmental organizations have attempted providing solutions to these problems with varieties of interventions which included vocational and entrepreneurial training programs. Unfortunately, due to reasons such as lack of resources, most of these interventions have not fully achieved their objectives.

Among these organizations, Tongu Youth Agenda for Development, now Eyata, a non-profit vocational and business center has been very instrumental and persistent in providing livelihood opportunities for young women in the district. They offer a 16-month non-residential vocational skills training, business management and entrepreneurship training and access to financial inclusion to enable the creation of formalized and sustainable enterprises. They also provide business development and advisory services to young women running micro-enterprises in the informal sector to propel them into their next growth.

Grace is a mother of four who hitherto worked as seasonal hand (to mean occasional) but today owns and run a fashion enterprise in her community after going through the programs of the organization. Her enterprise enables her to earn a decent livelihood and provide for her children’s needs.

Having gotten a lot of attraction from the community as a result of its impact, the organization is poised to build on its successes. Recently, in their quest to widen access to their programs, the organization renovated and expanded their center to admit, train and start up 15 young women in enterprises annually. Their goal is to create a generation of socially and economically empowered women. However, this can only be achieved through collective effort and affirmative action by all who care.

Whenever you visit the South Tongu District, whether for leisure or business, make time to pass through Eyata to see what they are doing, interact with their trainees and lend a helping hand. Now more than ever, as the youthful population of Ghana is projected to grow at about 2.5% growth rate annually, organizations that help youth create self-employment is highly essential.

Read more about the organization at www.eyata.org


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