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Thanks to the strategic partnership between CAMFED Ghana, the government of Ghana and the Mastercard Foundation, female business owners in the CAMFED alumnae association (CAMA) are being recognized for their entrepreneurial success, and supported to change the status quo for more young women.

Ghana’s National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CAMFED. The partnership will serve to train more young women, helping them make a successful transition from school to entrepreneurship, employment or further study. This builds on CAMFED and the Mastercard Foundation’s established Transition Program and will further champion the economic rights of young women through advocacy and policy engagement.

"For me, the intervention from CAMFED in both my education and the development of my business is what has brought me this far." - Esther Naanbir, CAMA member & entrepreneur

Like many sub-Saharan African countries, Ghana has a rapidly expanding population which has led to high rates of youth unemployment. Young women, particularly those from rural areas, face additional challenges in securing livelihoods. Though a recent report showed that Ghana is producing more female entrepreneurs than any other country, there remain obstacles for women establishing and expanding businesses.

CAMFED, with partners including the Mastercard Foundation and now the NBSSI, works to remove these obstacles. The Transition Program guides young women on how to design, launch and grow small business as a route to self-employment, income generation and economic empowerment. They are offered access to residential entrepreneurship training, internships, start-up kits, peer mentoring and support from business development services.

The success of the program has been proven, with previous participants going on to receive widespread recognition for their businesses, as well as providing employment opportunities for other women in areas where jobs are scarce.

CAMFED also has youth enterprise initiatives in place in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi, to help young women transition from school to financially secure adulthood.

Esther Naanbir runs an agribusiness called Agape Moringa Processing, which has provided training and employment for more than 15 full-time female workers, and has six cosmetic products on the Ghanaian market. Using moringa oil Esther’s company creates soap, lotion and shower gel, as well as incorporating the leaves, which have ‘super-food’ properties, into foodstuffs. In recognition of her innovations, Esther was named Woman of the Year at the Vodafone Small and Medium Enterprises Ghana Awards in February 2018.

Esther accepting her ‘Woman of the Year’ business award

Esther accepting her ‘Woman of the Year’ business award

 Esther’s moringa cosmetics

Special editions of Esther’s moringa cosmetics produced for CAMFED’s 25th anniversary

If replicated, businesses like Esther’s have the potential to expand and bolster Ghana’s economy. CAMFED Ghana, the NBSSI and the Mastercard Foundation are leading the way in ensuring women’s full economic participation. It is only when this happens that countries, and the world, can unlock the substantial earning potential of half the population.

Graphic Online:  ‘CAMFED, NBSSI sign MoU to train girls