Plan International Ghana in collaboration with MTN Ghana has commissioned a 'Youth Employment and Empowerment Project' (YEEP) at Nsawam in the Eastern Region to equip 50 out of school young people with skills in repairing mobile phones.
The project, which graduated 14 ladies and 36 young men after undergoing an intensive 10-day training gave beneficiaries certificates of participation, start-up tools and kiosks to commence work, to enhance their livelihood.
Areas covered under the training programme included repair and rectification of faults of mobile phones, how to maintain a safe and secure work environment, introduction to mobile phone technology, basic customer service, and front end repairs.
Madam Maud Tsagli, the Country IT Manager of Plan International Ghana, said her entity believed in equipping young people with employment and sustainable entrepreneurship skills in fulfillment of the SDG goal 8, which called for decent and economic growth.
She said there was the need for rapid paradigm shift towards transformative training systems to develop the knowledge, skills and creativity needed to secure the future of young people to enable them acquire decent jobs for sustenance.
Despite the fact that technical or vocational skills development and entrepreneurship were increasingly recognised as drivers for economic and social development particularly among young people, she said it still faced some challenges.
The main one is the fact that technical training suffered from low esteem, low appreciation and low appeal.
Madam Tsagli said the case was however, different with the YEEP, as it was designed to provide properly thought-through sustainable solutions to encourage the youth, particularly young women to participate in the field traditionally considered as a male dominated field.
"Here in Ghana, there is still a bias towards young women and girls as most of the programmes for a long time have been offered in male-dominated trades. Therefore, this project is contributing to encouraging young women's participation in the telecommunication sector.
"The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in 2020 stayed low at approximately 4.51 percent with employment earnings improving continuously. So there is a wealth of opportunities waiting for you in this field, and I have every confidence that your efforts will pay off," she said.
Mrs Nabilla Williams, Board Member, MTN Foundation, said undoubtedly, COVID-19 had opened eyes to many uses of mobile phones for work, school, sales and marketing, religious activities, family affairs, streaming of events and everyday conversations.
Once in a while, there may be software and hardware problems which users cannot fix on their own, he said, adding that, that was why the project was important and timely.
According to the World Bank, she said Ghana was faced with 12 per cent youth unemployment and more than 50 per cent underemployment, both higher than the overall unemployment rates in Sub-Saharan African countries.
Based on this, the MTN Ghana Foundation, committed GHS445,000 to support the training of 100 young women and men in Nsawam and Suhum.
"As part of the project, we are providing start-up tools and kiosks. We hope that young people in Nsawam and its environs will take advantage of this opportunity to prepare themselves to take on the future. We are confident that this intervention will help reduce the youth unemployment as well as contribute towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 8," she said.
Mr Isaac Kwadwo Buabeng, the Municipal Chief Executive of Adoagyiri Municipal Assembly, thanked MTN Ghana Foundation and Plan International Ghana for the support.
"It is such a relief to see young men and women who are committed to developing and securing their future through hard work," he added.
He appealed to corporate organisations and institutions, as part of their corporate social responsibilities to carry out such programmes to compliment the efforts of the Assembly in promoting development at the grass root level.
The initiative, he said would not only create employment but also reduce the rate of crime in the Municipality.