190 farmers from 8 communities in the Atwima Nwabiagya and Bibiaini Anwiaso Bekwai Districts, in the Ashanti and Western Regions of Ghana respectively, have graduated from the Out-of-School-Youth program (OSY). The students completed 9 months of training in cocoa-growing and vegetable gardening under the WCF-ECHOES program with implementing partner Winrock International.
The graduation ceremonies were witnessed by chiefs, community elders, district officials and other stakeholders. The beneficiaries were handed certificates and each given start-up tools to help them establish or revamp their existing farms including wheel barrows, knapsack sprayers, watering cans, waterproof boots and a host of other items..
Graduates expressed great thanks to WCF for shifting their paradigms to benefit even more from farming. When given the opportunity, beneficiaries educated witnesses on techniques they learned, and shared the immense improvement the application of such knowledge had brought to their farms. Some recurring modules from their presentations were pruning, lining and pegging, seed nurseries and fertilizer application. Community elders recommended including older community members in future OSY programs after being presented with the many success stories.
It will be exciting to watch these young farmers improve their livelihoods as they practice cocoa farming as a business, per lessons learned from the training.
The Out-of-School-Youth program is a component of the USAID funded WCF-ECHOES program training young people between ages 17 and 35 in agricultural livelihoods, leadership and entrepreneurship skills. The aim is to provide beneficiaries with the tools and knowledge to carry out the business of agriculture and learn entrepreneurship skills as well.