Opportunity International United Kingdom with the support of UK Aid has launched its project on ‘Economic Empowerment of Women in Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through Rural Financing’ at Golden Bean Hotel, Kumasi in the Ashanti region of Ghana.
The launch brought together all the project stakeholders, that is, Opportunity International UK, Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans (SASL), Opportunity International Savings and Loans (OISL) and VisionFund Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Economic Empowerment of Women Project is designed to help increase the participation and empowerment of 12,000 women in the rural economies of Ghana and the DRC in order to improve productivity, build assets and increase household income. This will contribute to the achievement of UN Global Goals of No Poverty, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth.
The three-year project will also address key causal factors leading to poverty and disadvantage for women engaged in rural economies of Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The CEO of Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans, Mr. Anthony Fosu said, women’s participation in agriculture value chains in Ghana has improved in recent years, but gender stereotypes keep poor, uneducated women in lower paid, less skilled and more insecure work situations within the Agric value chain.
The CEO of Opportunity International Savings and Loans, Mr. Kwame Owusu-Boateng, also said that this intervention of women empowerment fits well with the Government of Ghana’s strategy of sustainable poverty reduction through accelerated private sector-led economic growth and support for wealth creation.
Mrs. Lydia Baffour Awuah, Senior Programme Programme Manager from Opportunity International UK, anticipated changes in the lives of the target beneficiaries to include increased participation in community activities, empowerment of women, enhanced financial inclusion and increased incomes of participants. She was specific that:
•12,000 women will benefit from activities that will increase their self-confidence and build autonomy.
•12,000 women will benefit from access to financial services, including loans for agriculture and rural businesses, as well as savings.
•8,000 women to build farm and business income that would widen income earning opportunities, particularly during the off-seasons. These women will benefit from financial literacy training which will help them to increase efficiency in use of financial services, boost their ability to build and manage household income.
The CEO of VisionFund DRC Mr. Jacques Lom in his closing remarks pointed out that, DRC is the second largest country in the world in terms of arable land available after Brazil, with over 80 million hectares of arable land of which only 10% is barely developed. Women account for more than 85% of the active workforce in the sector.
This project thus aims to empower rural women economically through sustainable and resilient agricultural production systems. He further thanked Opportunity International-UK and UK Aid for their support in empowering women in Ghana and DRC. He assured the donors that all the beneficiary institutions will work together to ensure that the deliverables are met on time.
Opportunity International is one of the world’s leading microfinance organisations. It provides access to financial services (savings, small business loans, insurance and training) to more than 8 million people in more than 20 countries across the globe. Opportunity International unlocks the determination, energy and entrepreneurial spirit of men and women living in poverty by empowering and equipping them to reach their full potential. VisionFund DRC is a fully regulated Microfinance Institution with a deposit taking license.
It seeks to provide opportunities for those in poverty to transform their lives, not only economically, but also socially and spiritually as well as providing credit and savings and clients training on business entrepreneurship, financial literacy, health and gender awareness.
Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans (SASL) is a Non-Banking Financial Institution licensed by the Bank of Ghana to operate as Savings And Loans Company in Ghana for the past 24 years. It is currently serving over 300,000 clients via 44 branches in urban and rural areas in the country’s ten regions. SASL’s agricultural programme extends to all ten regions serving more than 17,000 agricultural actors with 15,000 smallholder farmers.
Opportunity International Savings and Loans (OISL) is a leading savings and loans institution in Ghana and is at the forefront of delivering financial services to help transform the lives of poor people.
OISL was licensed by the Bank of Ghana in 2004 and has built a national branch network of 43 outlets with two-thirds of the branches in rural locations. It currently serves almost 46,882 borrowers and over 523,871 savers.