Work in Tamale, in the north of Ghana, is available only seasonally, as farming is one of the major sources of work for unskilled labourers. With no income available for the remaining months of the year, workers often move to the south in search of jobs which simply do not exist. A Market exists for goods produced by skilled tailors and carpenters, however the provision of tools and teaching for these skills has been lacking. By providing apprenticeships for these crafts, SUGLO aims to provide young Ghanaians with a sustainable and stable source of income, allowing them to escape from a perpetual cycle of poverty that would entrap them if they moved south.
30 Ghanaians (10 carpenters and 20 tailors) are being taught the skills necessary to establish a livelihood from their crafts; 6 master crafters have been selected to provide entrepreneurship training for the 30 students. It is under their tutelage and the funding from Tzedek that SUGLO will create an environment whereby they are provided tools, space and education from which they can become self-sufficient. A revolving fund is being created in order that start-up businesses can be established and expansion managed effectively.
The project has recently passed the 6 month point. All of the participants are currently receiving the training which will help increase their daily incomes; there was high demand for places on the programme, but due to the limited resources only 30 beneficiaries could be accommodated during the first year of the programme. All participants have been trained in cooperative business principles and have formed 2 cooperatives. Tools have also been provided to help each tailor and carpenter become self-sufficient. With the groundwork laid for their skills to develop, the next 6 months of the project will see them selling their products and increasing their wages.
The Knock-on Effect
By selling the products of their labour, each worker will be able to substitute an unreliable seasonal wage for a monthly income, boosting their income to £68 a month. A further benefit is that by running a programme whereby a revolving fund is established and funds are repaid is that the programme becomes repeatable. With the very high number of subscribers to the programme, but so few places in the first year, it is clear that there is a demand and need for this type of project. By running the project in future years, the programme is able to break cycles of poverty at a much larger scale.
The cost of this project is £1,950 over the course of a year, and is being administered by Tzedek in partnership with SUGLO.