- WASEN Rural Enterprise Development Program
According to UNFPA, youth represents around 1.8 billion of the total world population. About half survive on less than $2 a day, while more than 100 million adolescents do not attend school. The countries which realize the importance of women and youth by emphasizing education and skills could turn poor community’s assets which are in enormous abundance into dividends.
The rural enterprise development program would identify specific actions of interest including but not limited to: education and training, learning and access to market, funding and scholarships.
The program would place emphasis on deep feelings of despair and abandonment of women and young citizen’s hope and examine how relevant our intervention could be leveraged to address the affected poor communities.
The program would widen its scope by offering scholarships to needy and outstanding candidate’s whiles incorporating in it specific practical entrepreneurial activities in order to promote intensive craft work to showcase on a global platform.
Its aim is to provide women and the youth with a platform to showcase their talents, giving them a collective voice to advocate for funding and providing them with practical skills to manage their ventures.
By becoming active participants of this development program, women and the youth in poor communities would gain a stake and a voice in the economic system. They would be able to identify and negotiate market prices and their contribution could be well acknowledged globally.
The internal embryonic development of funding could be used as a catalyst to open a space for regional discussion and movement for the introduction of entrepreneurship as part of overall economic development of the continent.
Access to capital and financial means remain major obstacles and have alluded to the shallow and limited understanding of entrepreneurship activities relative to counterparts in developed nations. There is also the reality of high failure rate of new ventures. Although the exact failure rate across the continent is difficult to establish, estimates point to an average of 40% to 60% of new ventures failing within the first 2 years. This means that few ventures are moving from low-growth microenterprises to small, medium sized enterprises (SMEs), creating the so-called “missing middle.”
The WASEN Innovation Fund is a critical partner in the development of rare skills. Through this initiative, the fund would seek to identify and support innovative and high-growth women and young entrepreneurs in various poor communities to take active role in ensuring that the economy has necessary skills to meet the anticipated growth in sub-Saharan Africa.
- WASEN Youth Development Program
The WASEN youth development program sole vision is to sustain the competitive advantage in this dramatically changing environment and to reach higher levels that are critical to the success of youth initiatives.
The role of this development process would aim to lead the dialogue, to ensure there is effective consultation, to examine research, analyze reports and monitor ongoing processes in socio-economic development so that consensus could be built to promote growth, create wealth and sustained socio-economic prosperity.
The recognition of “Doing well by doing Good” would be introduced invariably in many presentations to welcome new solutions to current problems, or new functionality that could stimulate new ways of doing business.
These presentations would further address the principles and techniques that could be applied to ensure that technically sound vision and mission of youth initiatives achieve its purpose in the market place.
- WASEN Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Program
Inclusive business, also termed bottom of the pyramid (BOP), pro-poor, or sustainable livelihoods business, refers to doing business with the poor in ways that simultaneously benefit low-income communities and the participating organization.
These innovative business models focuses on fostering economic development and helping low-income families build more secure livelihoods, while creating new markets for stakeholders as well. It is about “Doing well by doing Good”.
The Micro, small and medium enterprise program sole vision is to lead and create opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises in a form of financial literacy lessons to improve their businesses.
Micro, small and medium enterprises are the biggest contributors to employment and are critical for job creation in developing countries such as Ghana; yet, only 18 percent of them in low-income countries have access to formal financial services such as credit lines, and long-term capital loans.
- WASEN Youth in Policy Reform Program
Many young people in Ghana have raised criticism towards the design, planning and the formulation of national policies, especially the youth policy as it fails to meet the appropriate plan of action. The role of policies must aim at strengthening the involvement of citizens particularly the youth; however development of policies have become more of a framework than a concrete action plan that meets the needs of the citizenry and promotes the expectation of their sustainable development.
Young people account for nearly 40% of the 25 million inhabitants in Ghana who lack access to basic services. The youth make up the majority of the population yet development issues disproportionately affect this group.
This program is designed to engage these young people in identifying their needs and diagnosing the challenges they perceive in their localities in order to inform public policy for review.
The program is founded on the idea that the most significant factor in bringing about positive change in Ghana is the recognition of youth access to information that are vital in empowering them to be effective citizens championing their own development.
Young people, especially girls, need encouragement, education, and skills to speak up and speak out. They are important stakeholders in the planning processes and should be included in every stage in policy formulation.
This initiative would ensure that the government includes young people in its agenda as leaders, partners and beneficiaries in local, regional and national decision-making structures.
The program would train and support the youth in Ghana, primarily to become leaders and advocates for a more open, just, transparent and accountable governance. It would create a culture of specific leadership trainings on democratic participation, and help the youth gain the skills they need to fulfill greater leadership roles at community and national levels.
Two thematic axes that would be enhanced by WASEN’s intervention are:
* Access to public data and information
* Mechanisms for citizen oversight and engagement.
- Research conducted by WASEN Women Empowerment Working Group to solicit views from HIV/AIDS affected women in rural communities on the subject; Poverty, Illiteracy, and HIV/AIDS
HIV/AIDS have impacted enormously on all facets of human endeavor. Human economic, cultural and social environment are not speared from the scourge of this sadden epidemic. It has caused humankind immeasurable resources in attempt to its effect as well as anticipated economic regression in many affected communities.
Cultural Norms and Beliefs, Low Levels of Education, Poverty, Gender Inequality, Substance / Drug Addiction, Stigma and Discrimination have contributed immensely to the rise of the pandemic. The social sphere is not left untouched as human interaction and relationships are directly and in some cases indirectly affected.
Culture can simple be defined as a way of life that is peculiar to a group of people with common ancestral origin and within a defined geographical entity. This comprises the kind of food people eat, their shelter, clothing, language, beliefs, customs e.tc. Cultural norms can be transferred from one generation to another but is it important to note that it is amenable to change.
Family serves as the main premises through which elements of culture are transferred. The role of religious organization, media and institution of learning in ensuring transfer and preservation of culture cannot be overemphasized.
Some socio-cultural practice are highly implicated in the wide spread of HIV/AIDS, though some aspect of culture may serve, if exploit adequately without bias to mitigate the spread of it. However, programs aiming at prevention, sensitivity and care have been put in place using socio-cultural approach as a frame work but this role of modifying people’s way of life can in profound way affect the health choice of sexual behavior of women if care is not taken.
Women are not meant to work in some cultures and are made to believe that their sex life and behavior choices are highly dependent on men who apparently provide them with their material needs and wants. This encourages sexual promiscuity, as men who are wealthy may likely lure young women into having sex with them for material gain. In many instances women are raped and forced to remain in an unsatisfactory relationship with the view that their lives depend on it.
The low status accorded to a woman without a male partner in certain societies may be an additional reason making women less likely to leave an abusive relationship. Too much knowledge about sex in women is seen as a sign of immorality, thus insisting on condom use may make women appear distastefully well-informed. They cannot demand for safe sex or negotiate for it. An attempt to refuse sex may be interpreted to mean they are not meeting up with their obligatory role in marriage.
Most African society is mainly male dominant. Being a male child gives an edge in all spheres of socio-cultural and economic life. Families would prefer to send their male child to school than the female child. Most female child is given out to force marriages, either for economic reason or to reinforce family relationships. Women within this setting are made to believe that their role is to satisfy men sexual needs and subsequently become housewives.
Men are seen to command more respect in some societies by the numbers of women they have as wives. A woman may not be comfortable in such polygamy marriage but may be forced to remain because of fear of intimidation or harassment.
An important deterrent to the fight against HIV/AIDS epidemic in some deprived communities are associated with illiteracy and poverty. Illiteracy can create a huge burden in decision making mainly due to lack of adequate information. Those living in many deprived communities where death and disease are a commonplace do lack the education to determine the causes of HIV/AIDS and its remedy.
Poverty can make women more vulnerable to contracting the disease as many think the only way to survive and possibly provide for their families is through having sex with rich men. Inadequate and poor welfare systems further worsen the plight of finding solutions to the menace.
In conclusion, for well-being policies to succeed, it is imperative that gender inequalities are eradicated so as to unleash women’s full potential as citizens and economic actors. Conversely, well-being is also necessary for women to participate effectively in the management of public affairs and hence women empowerment programs should be given a priority action.