The Women's Development Foundation, an NGO, in partnership with Anowah Afrique Limited, has embarked on an ambitious task to train 3,000 under privileged women recruited from the streets of Accra over the next five years.
The plan is to train the women, aged between 18 and 25 years, regardless of tribe or language free of charge in industrial sewing, leaving them with skills, employment and a sense of purpose and subsequently, employ them.
The programme is part of a five-year strategic plan designed to alleviate poverty and empower the women to be in the position to support others later.
So far, 150 people have been trained and 60 have graduated.
In an interview, Ms. Catherine Noble Anowah Coffie, the CEO of Anowah Afrique, said the move was to give the vulnerable women hope and to help reduce the rural-urban migration while creating employment.
"The Women's Development Foundation, in collaboration with Anowah Afrique Limited is training 300 women with skills to take them off the street and employ them after. This is to give vulnerable women hope, reduce North and South migration while creating employment," she said.
The actual training process, after the women are recruited, would have them undergo series of basic pre-tests for their efficiency levels to be more easily gauged.
These tests include a hand stability test, finger movement, mind observation test and visual accuracy test. From the results of these tests, they are then classed into various efficiency levels with trainers allocated to them.
Ms. Coffie, who is also the founder of WDF said, "The Women's Development Foundation has been in existence for the past 10-years and undertakes projects to empower women and alleviate poverty".
"We understand that some of these women cannot even get money to come to the company, hence, we provide buses to ferry them to the premises, on this last project we picked people from Amasaman and beyond, Madina, Tema New Town and Ashaiman."
On the matter of funding, she added "We need support, up until now, we've been funding the programme ourselves and it hasn't been easy. It costs GH¢3,000 to train one person, and at the moment, WDF plans to train and employ over 300 vulnerable women."
She said the biggest challenge of the WDF programme was finding funding and partnership that would help ensure the sustainability of the project.
Ms Coffie said the organisation was seeking collaborations with the YEA and like-minded NGO's whose projects and mandates are in line with WDF's to come on board.
Anowah Afrique Ltd. is a garment manufacturing company located in Tema Free Zones enclave with the capacity of over 2,500. In full swing, the company employs over 3,000 people.
It has a 30-day training programme, which goes from morning until evening, designed to equip economically disadvantaged women with requisite skills and to make them sustainable.
"When they first walked in, they didn't even know how to operate the machine, but by the time they leave, they're fully efficient in sewing all manners of things. But beyond the skillset they pick up, another impact of the programme is the work ethic and camaraderie they develop among themselves. That's the real impact of the programme," she added.
Currently, WDF is preparing for its follow up training programmes while looking for other organisations with which it can partner for its empowerment causes.
"To continue to do more for these women, we need support from the government and partnerships from other organisations. We are also calling on MPS, Assemblymen and women who want to help the vulnerable women in their communities to partner with us so they can be trained," she said.
"These women come from all parts of Ghana and we place no restrictions to language. We bring in multilingual Ghanaian experts, translators and expats from India and Bangladesh to train them in each session because we want to equip them with skills that meet the local and international standards," she added.