The Vodafone Ghana Foundation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have launched a project to empower disadvantaged women in Bolgatanga.
The support comes in the form of basic skills and training in financial independence, savings, structuring and digital inclusion through its mobile financial services platform - Vodafone cash.
The project, dubbed "Bringing informal to formal through technology", seeks to leverage technology and bring those on the margins of informality close to the doors of formal engagements.
Addressing women groups drawn from various communities within the Bolgatanga Municipality, Madam Patricia Obo-Nai, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vodafone Ghana, said her outfit wants to deploy its strength as a technology company to promote inclusion in the mainstream financial services.
She said it is never comfortable to be disadvantaged in any circumstance, adding that "it limits creativity, innovation and success. One of our key themes as a company, through the Vodafone Foundation, is to focus on inclusion and to empower our society digitally, so no one will be left behind".
"If you have about 70 percent of your population not bankable, and there is not a concerted effort to rope them into the system, then the mobile company operators are ready and willing to support the banks in this regard," she said.
The CEO said "For us at Vodafone, this partnership helps address one of the key targets for development under the Vodafone Ghana Foundation – which is women."Madam Obo-Nai said Vodafone aims to support a total of 1,500 women directly and would indirectly benefit about 10,000 households within a period of 24-months.
She expressed confidence that the project would solve various concerns including empowerment and digital inclusion; create jobs and improve on livelihoods, bring progress and development to the Upper East Region.
The CEO thanked the UNDP for the "rare partnership" and their support and expertise in the project adding that it was a journey she believes would lead to lots of transformation and help Ghana achieve a milestone in the quest for total inclusion.
Madam Radhika Lai, the Economic Advisor of the UNDP, said it is well known that technology was transforming sustainable development, while digital technology transformed the world at a very fast pace.
She said as part of her outfit's commitment to leave no one behind, the UNDP was harnessing technology and innovation to deliver more and better results in the countries and communities where it operates.
"We are also seeking opportunities to put transformative technologies in the hands of the poor and marginalized," she said.
Madam Tangoba Abayege, the Upper East Regional Minister, thanked Vodafone Ghana and the UNDP for engaging some of the women farmers saying it would improve on the value chain.
She said digital financial inclusion has provided access and the use of formal financial services to the excluded and underserved populations.
The Minister, who was formally called Madam Paulina Patience Abayege, said the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) would continue to play its monitoring, coordinating and supervisory roles to ensure that all projects and programmes are executed according to expected standards for the benefit of the people.
"I pledge our commitment to partner with UNDP/Vodafone Foundation to monitor this project and make recommendations when the need arises," she said.
Group photo of the women and officials of Vodafone Ghana and UNDP