WEE-NORTH, the Empowering Women in Industrial Trades in Northern Ghana Project funded by Global Affairs Canada, is in its second year of operation. The images above are part of a new campaign underway by Alinea’s WEE-NORTH team to inspire women to train to join the workforce as welders, carpenters, plumbers, bricklayers, electricians and more – opportunities that increase productivity, profitability and access to work for women.
In Northern Ghana, a rural and agrarian region, people have traditional notions of what women should do. Few girls make it to high school and fewer to university, facing expectations to marry and start families at a young age. If young women want to earn their own money, they usually have a small business selling food or trinkets. For girls who make it to a technical high school, parents and teachers stream them into fashion design or catering courses while boys dominate trades.
With little opportunity to learn trades, girls face limited job prospects and chances to earn a higher, regular income. In response, WEE-NORTH works with communities, technical and vocational schools (TVETs) and industries to promote young women’s participation in trades – from training to employment. The project features awareness sessions for communities, gender-responsive pedagogy for TVETs, and women-friendly work environment training for industry to help young women access trades where they are rarely seen.
“Through WEE-NORTH, we are working to ‘change the face of industrial trades in Northern Ghana’ to involve more women as competent tradespeople alongside men,” said Nancy Drost, WEE-NORTH Field Manager. “This campaign is part of that work to normalize women’s employment in industrial and construction sites.”
Preparations are underway for the project’s first industrial trades training program to support around 200 young women from northern communities across Ghana in building practical skills. WEE-NORTH partnered with six TVETs to offer program participants hands-on trades training. The WEE-NORTH team customized the curriculum, upgraded instructor skills and rehabilitated workshops for the program – set to start in October 2021.
“Building the skills of TVET trainers to deliver hands-on instruction to students is a critical building block for sustainability of the project results,” said Ellyn Floyd, WEE-NORTH Project Director and Alinea’s Director of Gender & Education.
Graduates will have the opportunity to participate in practical attachments with local businesses and advanced entrepreneurship boot camps to start their own businesses.
By equipping young women with a comprehensive package of skills, this program is just the start of WEE-NORTH’s impact on the changing faces of industrial trades in Northern Ghana.
For updates about WEE-NORTH, follow the project on Facebook @WeeNorth.Project.