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USAID Launches Livelihood Programme for Coastal Youth in Ghana

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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a programme to equip young people in coastal communities with employable skills and trades. The initiative is aimed at reducing the over-dependence on the sea and its resources, as well as boosting local economies.

The programme falls under the Feed the Future Ghana Fisheries Recovery Activity and has been launched in Keta, Ketu, Ada East, and Ada districts. About 250 young men and women have been selected for the training, which includes key areas like carpentry, catering, cosmetology, welding, auto mechanics, garments, and electricals. The beneficiaries will also receive training in financial literacy and startup equipment after their graduation in September 2023.

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The initiative seeks to reduce coastal communities’ over-dependence on fisheries resources, which are already under strain. The programme is also aimed at promoting Ghana’s per capita consumption of fish, which currently stands at 25 kilograms, and its annual earnings of over US $200 million from fish and fish products.

The Fisheries Recovery Activity, which is aligned with the government’s skills development initiative, has received support from the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Fisheries Commission, Opportunities Industrialisation Centre Ghana, and Fisher Associations.

According to Mr Samuel Quartey, Technical Advisor to the Fisheries Minister, there are too many vessels chasing few fish, and some vessels need to be taken out. He said, “Some people would be unemployed, and therefore the need to give employable skills to reduce pressure on the sea and fish resources”.

Mr Maxwell Amoah, Deputy Chief of Party, Ghana Fisheries Recovery Activity (GFRA), said the livelihood programme was a result of a survey conducted in December 2021 in Greater Accra, Volta, Central, and Western Regions on alternative trades apart from fishing. He added that 374 people in Central and Western regions were currently working, and they would graduate in September this year. The GFRA’s target is to train 8,000 youth by the end of the project in May 2026.

In her remarks, Mrs Sarah Dugbakie Pobee, District Chief Executive, Ada East District, stressed the need for youth in coastal communities to learn new skills and trades and look for different livelihood sources aside from fishing in the long term. The programme aims to promote sustainable development and reduce pressure on the sea and its resources.

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