A group of around 40 women are gathered together under an expansive tree that provides much-needed shade from the midday heat. These women are from four local Village Savings and Loans Associations and they are meeting up for their regular ‘sharing out’ session in Techiman North, Brong Ahafo.
Brong Ahafo, a region in south Ghana, is known as the ‘food basket’ of Ghana – and you can see why from the lush green landscape and thriving market places. Despite this, rural communities still face the threats of climate change, limited access to quality government services and barriers to selling their produce in formal markets.
Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for 78.9% of rural households in this part of Ghana (2010 census).
Ajara is one of the women sitting under the tree. She is a mother of four and has an infectious smile and a great sense of humour. Before joining one of our Village Savings and Loans groups four years ago, Ajara was unemployed and her family were struggling financially.
Now, life is very different. Through the group, she has benefitted from financial literacy and basic enterprise management training. She was able to take out a small loan that enabled her to send her children to school (although primary education is technically free in Ghana, there are still costs for things like uniforms, books and travel) – and she is now the group’s secretary.
Ajara also drew on her enterprise management training to set up a stand to sell tomatoes. Since then, she has even diversified into selling agrochemicals (e.g. fertilisers), using her new knowledge to record her expenditure, income and profit. She is pleased to be able to support her family financially and feels in control of the money she earns.
Find out more about our work in Ghana.