Investing in Vibrant Entrepreneurs
At CAMFED, we have the pleasure and honor of witnessing the visions of extraordinary women come to life.
Whenever we can, we look for opportunities to highlight all the wonderful things these women have accomplished, and a trade fair in central Tamale, Ghana held late last year did not disappoint.
Under the theme of “igniting women’s economic opportunities through innovation,” CAMFED Ghana ran a trade fair from December 18th-22nd to promote, grow, and sustain the business ventures of more than 30 young women in the Cama network.
In partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, CAMFED’s Innovation Bursary Program has encouraged the use of pioneering approaches to breaking the cycle of rural exclusion and poverty by exposing young educated women to new knowledge, skills, and markets. These young women have established businesses in industries including animal husbandry, vegetable cultivation, microfinance, cosmetics using local materials, natural health products, and educational facilities for children. The trade fair featured many of these businesses, occupying 26 stalls altogether.
One of the many inspiring stories behind the businesses includes that of Amama (pictured left), who co-hosted a stall featuring beautiful cakes and pastries. Here, she explains how a connection made at the trade fair has resulted in economic opportunities for even more young women:
“[During the trade fair] I met Zuwera Mumuni, the Cama Core Trainer in the Kumbungu District. We discussed the possibility of a partnership to train other young women on the production of cakes and pastries and thus exchanged contacts. She informed me that she had formed a Girl’s Club called Change Leaders Clubin her community to fight the menace of “kayaye” – young ladies traveling to cities to do head portering – and that as part of their activities, they try to empower themselves to be useful to their community through seminars and monthly meetings.
She expressed interest in me training the group members on cake and pastries production to equip them with the basic skills needed to produce and sell the cakes and thus be entrepreneurs. Seeing it as a nice opportunity, I also expressed interest in the training and we discussed further and reached an agreement.
I started training them immediately after the trade fair from 5th to 16th of January on how to produce cakes for various purposes as well as pastries. In all, I am training 58 young women and hope to turn them into vibrant entrepreneurs. They are smart, hardworking, and ingenious and on my part, I am happy that I am able to help curb Kayaye not just in my community but in other communities as well.”
In all, the trade fair drew over 3400 people. Many products were bought, lessons learned, contacts established, and business partnerships made. Most importantly, the success of the trade fair signaled that young educated women will continue to be leaders of change. So long as they have the opportunities to thrive, they will, and so too will their communities.