Empowering Ghana’s Youth for the Future

In many countries, the unemployment rate for young people is much higher than the average, neglecting the potential of the world’s future leaders. In Ghana, two CHF programs are working to change this through innovative partnerships and a little bit of creativity.

Meet Reuben. He is a 25-year old self-proclaimed “footballer,” or soccer player, who could not make a living on soccer alone. When his brother told him about a vocational training program that would teach him how to repair cell phones, he immediately signed up. The training, implemented by CHF International’s SCALE-Up program and local partner the Gaceed Training Center, lasted for one year and two months, every day for a week, for 4 hours. While this may seem like a lot of training just to repair cell phones, it has most definitely paid off. Reuben now operates a repair business out of his home, and makes about $40 USD a week.

Though not everything has been easy—the fast-moving cell phone technology industry makes it hard to keep up with the latest phones—Reuben now has the tools to be successful.

“You see a lot of people, just sitting, chatting, from morning to afternoon. They have nothing better to do, no jobs, and they sit there all day. I used to be like that, but I am too busy to sit and chat now. I am making something of myself.”

CHF’s YES program is training youth to work in the waste management and recycling sector. One project sponsored under the program is the construction of “trashy-bags,” or trash bag, centers where small trash bags are cleaned and recycled, sewn into small accessories. Agnes Mensah, 24, recently graduated from the sewing training and will work in one of the centers.

Agnes Mensah, a graduate of CHF's YES Program in Ghana“When I heard about the training, I already had a job in marketing. But I have always wanted to learn about tailoring and fashion so I signed up. Now that I know how to sew small accessories, eventually I want to create my own fashions and open my own shop.”

Though purses and pencil cases made of recycled plastic bags may not scream high fashion, Agnes is looking forward to convincing people otherwise: “I am inspired now to tell people about alternative recycling, to let them know what we are doing here. It is important for the environment and I am happy to work in this business.”

Agnes and Reuben are examples of how CHF is empowering youth to take control of their futures and direct their own development. Sometimes all it takes is a trashy-bag, or two.