Young people constitute over 30% of Ghana’s population. The Upper East Region is the second poorest region in Ghana with about 70% of the population living on less than a dollar a day, but many living on less than $10 a month.
The region has one rainy season from May/June to September/October. The mean annual rainfall during this period is between 800 mm and 1100m. There is a long spell of dry season from October to mid May, characterized by cold, dry and dusty Harmattan winds until February, and then evolving into extreme heat between February and May.
About 90% of the population are peasant farmers and the crops mainly cultivated include peanuts, yam, millet and some vegetables. The most common economic trees are the sheanut, dawadawa, baobab and acacia. Farmers use primitive tools such as the hoe and cutlass to farm.
There are few prospects for youth so young people migrate a to the southern portion of the country to search for menial jobs such as bar tendering and waitressing (which are not lucrative as they can be in western nations), “kayayoos” (girls who carry heavy loads on their heads in markets) or as farm labourers on cocoa farms. Many girls and women also enter prostitution in the major cities.
- Create an environment that will provide constructive, affirmative, and supporting relationships that are sustained over time with successful adults and peers.
- Create opportunities that will enable youth to develop their skills and talents and get engage as partners in their own development and the development of their communities.
- Engage young people as partners, and not mere recipients of project handouts, to identify their needs and respond with solutions that meet their needs.
- Find opportunities for youth to participate in community building activities and workshops on a Ghana-wide level.
We have already begun to involve the youth groups in tree planting activities with great success. As tree planting expands, we intend to recruit workers from among the youth group to assist us as field workers to maintain the planted trees.
We also intend to involve the youth closely in new income generation programmes we have in development such as opening a shop in Bolgatanga and Cape Coast and also possibly opening a restaurant in future which will train unskilled youth in hospitality and help them find jobs in this field—a field which is growing in this region.