UNFPA Ghana visits beneficiaries under ‘Fashion Expressions: The Stories She Wears’ project [Photos]

Kelly Adjetey Boye
Kelly Adjetey Boye
6 Min Read

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Ghana has paid a field visit to some beneficiaries of the Fashion Expressions: The Stories She Wears project.

The field visit which took place on Tuesday July 25, 2023 was led by the Deputy Representative and Officer In Charge of UNFPA Ghana, Dr. Emily Naphambo and Programme Specialist and Gender Team Lead, Dr. Doris Mawuse Aglobitse.

In a bid to harness the potential of Ghana’s youthful population and promote gender equality, UNFPA Ghana in collaboration with PRADA Group launched a groundbreaking project aimed at empowering young people, especially young women, to become successful entrepreneurs and contribute to the overall development of the nation.

Addressing the challenges faced by many young individuals who lack access to traditional white-collar jobs, the project seeks to create avenues for them to contribute meaningfully to the productive nature of society.

The team visited selected fashion brands to enable them have first hand information on how the beneficiaries of the project are faring.

Speaking to the media, Dr. Emily Naphambo highlighted the organization’s keen interest in fostering youth development, driving the initiative forward.

“With Ghana’s population comprising a significant proportion of young people, half of whom are young women, it is crucial to ensure they have opportunities to actively participate in their societies and contribute to the nation’s growth. This project aims to find ways for those who don’t have access to white-collar jobs to become entrepreneurs and positively impact Ghana’s development,” Dr. Naphambo explained.

The project focuses on girls from vulnerable communities, recognizing that empowering them not only enhances their well-being but also contributes significantly to Ghana’s overall progress.

Dr. Naphambo emphasized the importance of providing these girls with choices, safeguarding them from gender-based violence, and imparting knowledge about sexual and reproductive health, empowering them to make informed life decisions.

In its initial phase, the project partnered with approximately 10 fashion brand houses that graciously toke on board about 15 girls to mentor and train them in various trades. The success of this collaboration has laid the foundation for future expansion.

Dr. Naphambo added that UNFPA Ghana envisions broadening the initiative to include numerous brand houses, with a keen focus on private sector involvement.

“We are enthusiastic about expanding the project,” Dr. Naphambo shared. “With the support of the private sector, as demonstrated by the collaboration with these fashion brand houses, we can reach out to more young girls and provide them with the opportunities they need to become productive citizens, contributing to Ghana’s overall growth.”

She further spoke passionately about the organization’s commitment to creating avenues for young people to become productive members of society.

With Ghana’s population being predominantly youthful, and half of them being young women, she added that UNFPA  Ghana recognizes the importance of nurturing this demographic to ensure a prosperous and productive future.

“As UNFPA, we will continue to support youth participation in all spaces, not just in the private sector and in youth development but also broadly in providing them with all the opportunities that are required for them to prosper and become productive citizens. We will not stop until every young person’s potential is realized.”

UNFPA Ghana’s partnership with the PRADA Group

UNFPA and Prada entered into a partnership in 2021 to roll out the “Fashion Expressions: The Stories She Wears” project. The initiative combines the leadership of Prada in the fashion industry with the expertise of UNFPA in gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Through this project and under the coordination of the Strategic Partnerships Branch, UNFPA created a six-month training programme for young women in vulnerable communities to promote the social impact of fashion and foster social and economic empowerment.

This training module was tested in Ghana and Kenya to include fashion as a platform of engagement in UNFPA’s work globally. In Ghana, the project engaged a cohort of 30 young women from marginalized communities such as rural-urban migrants.

The first half of the training began in June 2022 at the Centre for Empowerment and Enterprise Development (CEED) with UNFPA’s implementing partner International Needs Ghana.

The six-months curriculum aim to provide knowledge of fashion techniques, including local traditions and styles, create knowledge exchange opportunities with local fashion companies, promote personal growth through career development and education and increase agency in terms of sexual and reproductive health and protection.

Eighteen out of the 30 beneficiaries were deployed for another six months of industrial attachment with renowned fashion brands: Poqua Poqu, Kua designs, Sadia Sanusi, Farkor Mortoo, GG Bespoke, Mimmy Yeboah, Boye Doe and Dash Fashion.

More photos below

Story by: Kelly Adjetey Boye | univers.ug.edu.gh

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