Ghana has made considerable progress in reducing poverty. Despite this, there is growing inequality as the gap between the rich and poor widens. Village Aid works in partnership with United Purpose in the northern enclave- specifically the Upper West region (still the poorest region of Ghana), Northern Brong Ahafo, Northern Volta Regions as well as Kwahu North District.

Poor households lack food for around a quarter of each year. In bad years, this rises to more than half the year with little or no food. Access to financial services is scarce, with 78% of families in rural communities lacking access to even the most basic financial services. We work with the rural poor in deprived districts- especially women, smallholder farmers (both men and women) and rural micro-entrepreneurs.

Cooperative farming

Many people in Ghana depend on farming not only to feed their families but to generate income and therefore the ability to access basic services like healthcare and education. Farming is becoming an increasingly challenging livelihood activity due to unpredictable weather, increasingly infertile soil and a lack of access to markets. Farmers are often left feeling isolated as there lack platforms in and between communities where farmers can share knowledge on better farming practices and techniques. Our work in Ghana includes helping communities to set up cooperative farming groups.

Meet Grace Ulo. Grace is a Sorghum farmer from Gozu village in Ghana. Sorghum is a plant that is widely produced because it can be easily processed into flour, providing an essential ingredient for many staple foods.

Grace joined a farmers cooperatives that we supported Gozu village to establish. These cooperatives create a knowledge sharing platform where smallholder farmers come together and discuss farming technologies, environmentally-friendly farming practices and share knowledge of available markets for trade.

Grace explains:

“The project has meant a lot to my life, and this is just one year but I’ve already seen an improvement. Other improvements are not just for me but for the community.  I used the profit to educate my four children – send them to school. I’m saving part of the money for their fees in the future. I can buy food. I’m going to encourage those who are farming sorghum individually to join groups like ours. Groups are better, there is more information and we make better profits. If I tell more people, especially women, to come together and form groups it will help a lot.”

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As little as £18 could provide a start-up loan and basic equipment for a micro-business