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The Greater Rural Opportunities for Women II (GROW2) Project is a women-focused project that has been established to increase the economic and social empowerment of Women Smallholder Farmers (WSHFs), entrepreneurs, and agribusinesses within the Northern Region. The project is being implemented by the Mennonite Economic Development Association (MEDA) in partnership with Key Facilitating Partners (KFPs) identified locally. The goal of the project is to; increase the economic and social empowerment of women smallholder farmers (WSHFs), entrepreneurs, and agribusinesses in Northern Ghana. This goal is to be achieved through the attainment of three major outcomes:

  • Improve business environments under which WSHFs, entrepreneurs and agribusinesses operate,
  • Increase adoption and use of environmentally sustainable farming and nutrition practices, and 
  • Promote the gender-equitable participation of women in decision-making.

The project will be implemented through a Market-systems approach, leveraging existing structures and developing new relationships that ensure access to products and services for WSHFs for economic and social empowerment. 

As a KFP, URBANET will be working with selected MMDAs within the Northern and some parts of the Savannah Region to mobilise WSHFs at the community level for project activities in the areas of nutrition, advocacy on land access, and Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI). Key among the activities are:

  • Mobilisation of Savings and Loan Groups (SLGs) and other project clients
  • Implementation of project interventions,
  • Advocacy, and 
  • Monitoring and impact measurements

DURATION: Five years (October 2021 to September 2026)

DONOR: Global Affairs Canada (GAC)

Zone Of Influence (ZOI): Northern and Savannah Regions. (Tamale Metro, Savelugu Municipal, Nanton District, East Gonja, North-East Gonja, Central Gonja, and North Gonja)

Despite the vast establishment of microfinance institutions to provide banking services for the less privileged and alleviate poverty, not everyone has access to or the capacity to meet the banking terms. For this reason, Savings and Loan Groups (SLGs) have become the preferred alternative for a lot of people, especially women smallholder farmers (WSHFs) in various rural and even urban communities in Northern Ghana. A major outcome of the GROW2 project is to provide economic support to women in the various project zones; the project has identified the significance of these SLGs to women in this aspect. To this effect, provision is made to provide existing and new SLGs with the necessary knowledge, skills, and tools to help them derive more benefit from them.

During the course of the project’s implementation, URBANET’s project officers identified certain communities with existing SLGs, however, they had limited knowledge on how to maximise the impact of their savings as well as a more secure place for their daily contributions/savings. These existing SLGs have been recruited as clients of the GROW2 project and have received orientation on the project as well as its impacts on their groups and other aspects of the project they would benefit from. 

Most of these SLGs had their daily savings placed in plastic containers, food flasks, and other items that were not fit or secured to be used as “mini banks” or savings. With credit to URBANET’s Project Officers, these groups have been taken through a series of intensive training sessions on how to keep records, track members’ loans, ensure consistency of payment by members, and maximise and use benefits from the savings to transform the groups and assist members when the need arises. They have also been provided with secured boxes with locks to contain their daily savings in order to improve security and avoid theft.

URBANET has and will be identifying more interested women in the various Zones of Influence to create SLGs to improve their economic and financial status and their living standards. The Project also aims at ensuring that, through the SLGs, the women or clients are able to afford the many innovative technologies to assist them in their farming and entrepreneurial activities. 

The Empower Project is a youth-focused project implemented by URBANET Ghana with sponsorship from the EMPower-Emerging Markets Foundation to support about 100 youth (70 females and 30 males) between the ages of 20 and 24 with green skills to improve their livelihood and provide employment opportunities for them. The project aims at Empowering Young People in Transformative Beekeeping within four districts in the Northern Regions, including Yendi, Central Gonja, and the Nanumba North and South districts. 

The project aligns with URBANET’s vision to empower young people, improve livelihoods, provide a means to mitigate unemployment among the youth, and especially support girls to reduce the time spent on unpaid care work to provide more time for them to concentrate on their growth. URBANET has identified the need to provide avenues for the youth to live to their full potential, acquire skills that are beneficial to them and their communities, and provide a space for them to develop existing business ideas as well as the tools to start new businesses. The Empower project is focused on beekeeping as a green skill and source of employment for the beneficiaries, as well as a way to empower them to explore the existing market space.

 The project will, before implementation, select beneficiaries across the four districts based on the chances of whether beekeeping can thrive and on sensitization by the project lead, the GESI Coordinator at URBANET, Madam Nimatu Siisu, with the assistance of project officers. With support from experts, beneficiaries will be taken through intensive training on beekeeping and honey-making, marketing, and branding. They will be provided with protective gear, boxes for beehives, necessary tools, exposure, and access to trade fairs and conferences.

The project will ensure that, during and by the end of its implementation, beneficiaries can master the techniques of beekeeping and honey making, train others within their communities, be self-employed, and be empowered to be change agents. Aside from these, the URBANET’s focus on beekeeping is also an effort to promote green livelihood options in the face of climate change and associated challenges to smallholder farmers, especially women and youth, within these communities and the country at large, as beekeeping has a positive impact on the environment as it serves as a source of pollinators for crops, especially shea and cashew plants.

The Gender Family Module (GMF) is an aspect of the GROW2 project that deals directly with couples within the Project’s Zone of Influence. The Module focuses on raising awareness about gender equity within households, promoting women’s participation in decision-making, improving well-being, and other ways of promoting positive development within households and the community at large. Although the module deals with couples, its primary focus is creating a conducive environment for couples and improving the well-being of the children.

The GMF has successfully been implemented in the Nanton district within the Northern Region, and some of these couples were able to share the impact of the programme on their households during the official launch of the GROW2 project in July.

Following the successful implementation of the GMF in the Nanton district, and the impact it has had on several couples and households, there was a need to expand to other districts. For this reason, the GMF concept is currently being implemented in two communities within the Central Gonja District; Sankupe and Tidrope, with about 41 couples and 53 couples trained on the concept, respectively.

During the implementation, couples were taken through the Triple Role, which includes the Reproductive, Productive and Community Management Roles which was facilitated by the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Coordinator, Madam Nimatu Siisu, and the GROW2 Project Officer, Mr. Ibrahim Abdallah, for Central Gonja District. A great number of additional couples showed interest and were asked to be registered with the Assembly Men, who act as the Village Agents for the communities. 

The need to reduce violence between spouses and increase codependency amongst them is as significant as supporting the clients of the project in terms of their businesses and farming activities. As much as the project intends to build economic freedom for WSHFs, it also takes into consideration the environment in which they live and the kind they raise their children in. For the rest of the period of GROW2 project implementation, more communities within the Zones of Influence will be scouted to ensure they benefit from the GMF.

In an exciting step towards making rural communities better places and giving the people the opportunity to take charge, Urbanet is organising a special training for 110 selected Village Agents (VAs) to ignite their passion for change and progress, ensuring the success and sustainability of the GROW2 project. The number cuts across the seven districts of Urbanet’s operation within the Northern and Savannah Regions and is led by Project Coordinators and Officers.

The primary focus of this training was to educate them on the purpose of the project and equip them with the necessary skills and capabilities to assist Women Smallholder Farmers (WSHFs) to improve their livelihoods. Other aspects of the training included taking them through their roles as VAs, knowing the core mandates of the project and what it seeks to achieve, education on Village Savings and Loans (VSLAs), and other modules of the GROW2 Project. Village Agents are also to serve as leaders of the GROW2 project at the community level, taking charge of representing clients and assisting project officers in contacting and providing the needed support to the clients.

Urbanet’s Project Officers that led the training emphasised the need for VAs to support WSHFs, perform their roles as expected, and seek assistance from project officers when facing problems. They encouraged VAs to take up the mantle and ensure that the impacts of the project are sustained. They added that it was important for them to ensure that the WSHFs received the necessary support by representing them well and keeping in touch with project officers.

The recruitment and training of VAs commenced earlier this month, and most communities have been covered already. This is to ensure that clients of the project have leaders within their communities who will serve as their representatives and also a link between them and their respective project officers to maximise success for both parties. The selected and trained agents so far have shown great enthusiasm for the new role and are willing to support their Project Officers in their own ways.

In order to ensure efficiency and an increase in yield, the GROW2 project has devised ways to determine the germination strength of seeds as a way of supporting farmers with the expertise for innovative farming, improving crop health, and increasing production. Various seeds within the food value chain that the project is working on are being experimented with to measure the rate at which they can be produced with or without the use of environmentally friendly agricultural amendments.

 A field within the project areas of GROW2 under the supervision of Urbanet Ghana was selected and prepared for the demonstration of groundnut seeds with inoculants. This was necessary to evaluate the impact of inoculants on the seed as well as the soil. As an advocate for safe agricultural practises and the development of farmers within the Region, Urbanet encourages the use of soil and plant boosters that provide nutrients to and support plant growth and soil fertility in a sustainable way without destroying the environment or reducing the health benefits of the plants. The demonstration field was divided into two parts, some seeds were planted with inoculants and others were planted without, in order to measure the impact on the plant’s maturity.

To ensure that progress is being made, the Executive Director of Urbanet Ghana, Mr. Basit Mohammed Jibreel, together with the Project Coordinator, Mr. Rashid Alhassan, and other project officers, paid a visit to one of the demonstration fields within the East Gonja district to monitor the growth of the plants so far. This was done in order to determine when and where it was necessary to use these inoculants and also to provide the needed support for farmers.

Most communities with clients under the GROW2 project have various demonstration farms for this purpose, and with consultation from experts, Urbanet will be able to support areas that face difficulties with regard to low soil fertility and crop health.

The GROWING project seeks to provide support for women farmers in selected food value chains through the provision of climate-resilient seeds and climate-smart farming techniques, as well as means of assessing the market. The project aims to improve the nutritional health of women and young children by identifying the key macronutrients that are missing in existing diets and innovative ways of getting the most out of crops. The project will be implemented in six districts/municipal areas within the Northern, North East, and Savannah Regions. The project is expected to, by the end of its implementation, ensure that at least 40,000 urban consumers have access to nutritious food promoted by GROWING.

DURATION: Five years


  • Pregnant women
  • Lactating mother with children under the age of five.


Global Affairs Canada


CARE International

CIP International Potato Centre


  1. Ghana Health Service (GHS)
  2. Women in Agriculture Ghana (WIAD) 
  3. Local Non-Government Organisations
  • URBANET Ghana
  • Sung Foundation 
  • Department of Agriculture and Agricultural Extension