URBANET Ghana in Partnership with Plan International Ghana under the Women’s Innovations for Sustainable Enterprises (WISE) Project has supported 600 women farmers in 60 Communities in the Tolon and Kumbungu districts in the Northern Region of Ghana. This 600 beneficiaries form part of the 2500 women initially trained on soybean production and post-harvest handling and management. Each beneficiary had a maximum of one acre of land ploughed, 15kg of Soybeans seed, 150ml of inoculant and one tarpaulin. It is expected that this support will become a morale booster for the women to work hard to increase their incomes and improve the quality of life. The WISE project is funded by Global Affairs Canada.

URBANET in partnership with Plan International Ghana through the WISE project has organized a one day learning and sharing event in Tamale. The event brought together all the project critical stakeholders who contribute to the project implementation. URBANET shared updates on progress of implementation, lessons learned over the year of implementation and some challenges encountered during the period. Relevant feedback was taken from stakeholders to improve project implementation.

With the ultimate goal to enhance economic empowerment, well-being and inclusive economic growth for women in Ghana, URBANET and Plan International Ghana under the WISE PROJECT have started supporting smallholder women farmers along the soybean value chain to take advantage of the cropping season which has just set in. Working with the department of agriculture in both Tolon and Kumbungu, over 2,500 smallholder women farmers received training on soybean production and post-harvest practices. Aside the training, the women will be supported with improved seeds and link to sustainable market.

It’s been an exciting day of knowledge and experience sharing by EMpower West Africa grantee partners at the Mensvic grand hotel, Accra. The three-day programme designed to build capacities of partners in programme design and implementation as well as the new focus of EMpower in Non-traditional livelihoods opportunities for young people also has selected young women attending to contribute views and recommendations for EMpower’s future priorities and plans.

The dry season is almost here and URBANET through the adaptation fund project supported Tampion and Zeing communities with logistics and inputs to undertake dry season vegetable cultivation as an income generating opportunity.

URBANET received a certificate of appreciation from the World Universities Service of Canada. This was to express WUSC’s profound gratitude for URBANET’s valuable contribution and support to the success of the Uniterra Programme in Ghana from 2015-2020. Uniterra is a leading Canadian international development program that is jointly operated by CECI and WUSC. Each year, 600 volunteers contribute their time and experience to positive and lasting change towards a more equitable world by dedicating a few weeks to two years of their lives to international volunteer work. Three volunteers on different occasions volunteered at URBANET.

The Northern Ghana Integrated Development Project (NGIDP): Promoting opportunities for sustainable agriculture, social protection and decent work in the agrarian sector. The project which is being funded by the EU is a consortium of ActionAid Ghana, URBANET and Tree Aid Ghana and would span a period of four years, 2019 to 2023. It will lead to the reduction of rural poverty by promoting environmentally sustainable agricultural practices thus contributing to the green economy, creating opportunities for income generation within the agricultural value chain, and enhancing access to social protection services. The specific objective of the project is to strengthen the capacity of local CSOs to become drivers of innovation in research-based climate-resilient sustainable agriculture, related social enterprises and responsive social protection. This is in recognition of the crucial role that CSOs and social movements play in the provision of services, especially in rural areas, as well as their power to influence local and national level decisions and policies backed by their constituencies and technical expertise. The project will also address the social and economic vulnerabilities of marginalized groups of people such as women smallholders, unemployed young people and people living with disabilities by building their agencies and capacities for income-generating activities and integrating decent work and social protection within the development of the agricultural sector where most rural women find their livelihoods. Overall, we will reach 825,000 people in the 15 districts of implementation, through the improved delivery of extension services, increased awareness on rights to land, social protection and decent work.

The project has an extensive reach and combines community rootedness and high-level advocacy. In addition to strengthening the community mobilization and advocacy activities of thirty (30) CSOs with a membership of 3,600, it will work in 300 communities in 15 districts3 across the three regions in the north of Ghana (that is Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions) which are high-risk areas and suffer most from changing climate and destructive land use practices. Over a period of 48 months, this action will empower 13,500 marginalized women smallholder farmers, young people and people with disabilities, strengthen 300 women farmer groups, 15 farmer networks and train 1,050 CSO and group leaders, resulting in increased, secure and sustainable incomes, access to social protection mechanisms, more local agri-business enterprises and job opportunities that adhere to decent work principles.

Result/Output 1: CSOs and local movements leading joint community advocacy initiatives and research and supporting the formation of innovative farmer-led extension services.

Result/Output 2: Increased smallholder farmers resilience to the impact of climate change through more effective biodiversity preservation and sustainable agricultural practices that contribute to the green economy.

Result/Output 3: Increased income levels of women and young people through the processing of non-timber forest products, agricultural value chain business, and social enterprises.

Result/Output 4: Increased access to quality social protection schemes for people living in poverty in rural agrarian areas.

Result/Output 5: Gender-responsive decent work principles integrated into national and regional agricultural employments, programmes and policies.

URBANET is the the technical lead in the implementation of activities on sustainable agriculture.

Project Duration: May 2019 to June 2023.

Donor: European Union

The WISE project is a four-year project implemented by Plan International Ghana, URBANET and WIDO as well as private sector stakeholders. The project seeks to enhance economic empowerment, well-being and inclusive economic growth for women in Ghana.

The WISE Project will focus on setting up and expanding both micro and small-enterprises led by women; it will aim to attract private sector partners to support climate-smart agriculture and green business opportunities, while reducing environmental impacts and addressing climate stresses. At the core, this integrated package of interventions – from foundational life skills and financial education to technical and entrepreneurship support while addressing gender inequalities at the household, community and institutional levels – will create a gender-responsive ecosystem for the meaningful economic engagement of Ghanaian women to improve not only their condition but also their position as economic actors.

Taking a highly participatory and local approach, the project will ‘crowd-in’ existing service providers and stakeholders through an inclusive, innovative and gender-transformative hub model. The project strategically opted to support women-owned businesses to leverage the presence of an existing large number of women entrepreneurs in Ghana.

In parallel to developing a suite of women-friendly business services, the Project will tackle the local root causes of gender inequalities to empower women entrepreneurs by engaging men. This entails identifying, sensitizing and training male champions to promote gender equality among male family members of the target women entrepreneurs. Male champions will promote positive masculinities, social aversion among men to practices of SGBV and CEFM, sharing of responsibilities at the household level, and engagement of women in family and community-level decision making.

Project Goal: Increased realization of rights to economic empowerment, well-being and inclusive economic growth for women in five districts within Northern, Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions in Ghana

Two intermediate outcomes will contribute to achieving the ultimate goal:

  • Improved women’s agency to exercise decisions regarding their participation in economic growth
  • Increased productivity, profitability and innovation of women-owned businesses

Target: In total, 12,641 women (aged 19 – 55) will directly benefit, with 4,046 of those women receiving targeted support for agricultural and green businesses.

Duration of Project: January 2020 – June 2024.

Donor: Global Affairs Canada (GAC)

URBANET receives funds from EMpower, the Emerging Markets Foundation, to support the development of programs that empower youth with skills training and development, particularly young girls. EMpower is a USA-based charity organization that focusses on supporting youth in emerging market countries through partnerships and grants given to local organizations. The goals of EMpower align with the focus of URBANET, to address the needs of Ghana’s expanding youth population, who often have few skills and livelihood opportunities.

URBANET’s relationship with EMpower focuses on a diverse portfolio of projects, which enables the organization to meet the various needs of youth in northern Ghana. This includes programs to train young people, especially women, in Shea Butter processing, as Community Livestock Workers and as Seed Producers. These projects simultaneously address the critical need for youth skills training and employment, while also providing in-demand goods and services. Quality seeds, for example, are a sought-after product in the Northern Region, as are Community Livestock Workers, who bridge the gap between the hugely understaffed veterinary services and smallholder farmers. As well, the Shea Butter value chain represents a lucrative and growing employment opportunity.

URBANET’s relationship with Empower also recognizes the widespread challenges faced by youth, and particularly young girls, beyond simply a lack of employment. To this end, the organization addresses these challenges through complementary training in reproductive health, gender issues, business and entrepreneurship and information communication. Overall, through funding from EMpower, URBANET aims to increase youth livelihoods through capacity and skills development, which is gradually increasing employment opportunities as well as encouraging youth to re-enter education and to start their own businesses.

Donor: EMPower