Women Entrepreneurship & Livelihoods Initiative is a project that seeks to address COVID-19 challenges through a youth-centred and gender-responsive economic empowerment approach. This Project consists of a three-prolong approach mainly- Covid & SGBV Advocacy, Entrepreneurship Scale Up, and Access to Markets Initiative.
As the COVID-19 crisis takes a devastating toll on lives and livelihood across the African continent, its effects on gender equality, women’s human rights and women’s empowerment have become fundamental. With gender and social inequalities that underpinned societies before the pandemic, the COVID-19 impacts on women is exacerbated in this crisis.
For this reason, sexual and gender-based violence on women and girls have increased during the period of lock-downs. These and many more challenges will have long-term consequences for women in the country. While there seems to be an appreciation of the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has on women, the responses to mitigate its spread do not sufficiently integrate gender equality or address women’s concerns specifically. In addition, there is a void in women’s leadership in COVID-19 response mechanisms.
The program will diversify and use innovative approaches to bring about the systemic change that vulnerable girls need. The innovation we believe is crucial in times of crisis as it provides opportunities and less threatening ways of pervading patriarchal societies and providing them with rapid solutions that are a solution that is generally accepted by the whole of society.
The project activities run in Ghana and Senegal with three (3) programs; Suhuyini Food & Beverage Incubation in Tamale (Northern Ghana), Nneka Foundation Palmoil Cooperative in Ve Agbome ( Volta Ghana), and Belle Sans Maquillage Cooperative in Keur Samba/Sangay Thies Region (Senegal).
Program Goal and Expected Results Summary
The ultimate outcome of this project is to increase economic empowerment to strengthen resilience for adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) most affected by COVID-19 in targeted areas in Ghana and Senegal. In order to do so, the project will increase access to resources and services for AGYW to maintain their livelihoods and improved entrepreneurship opportunities for AGYW through business development services that are adaptive in response to COVID-19.
The expected results for the WELI project are the following:
1. Reach 6,752 AGYW in Ghana, and over 3,250 AGYW in Senegal and indirectly benefit approximately 51,035 (50% F) in the targeted project areas
2.Improve entrepreneurship opportunities for adolescent girls and young women through business development services that are adaptive to COVID-19.
3. Strengthen innovative business skills and practices for young women entrepreneurs through the provision of support in sectors affected by COVID as well as post-training assistance to COVID-affected adolescent girls and young women entrepreneurs.
4. Facilitate and organize network opportunities for AGYW entrepreneurs, provide business development services to AGYW cooperatives affected by COVID as well as solidify partnerships with investors to support AGYW affected by COVID-19.
5. Increase access to resources and services for AGYW to maintain their livelihoods in response to COVID-19 and its gendered dimensions.
6. Seek to enhance the willingness of parents, teachers, community leaders, men and business owners to support women and girls through sensitization activities, dialogue and policy support.
7. Strengthen the competencies of adolescent girls and young women through a gender-based needs assessment, scale-up of COVID-adapted economic activities as well as life skills training to empower adolescent girls and young women