A remarkable transformation is underway in the world of fashion, thanks to a groundbreaking partnership between the United Nations Population Fund Ghana (UNFPA Ghana) and the iconic Prada Group.
In 2021, both organizations launched the “Fashion Expressions: The Stories She Wears” project, a life-changing initiative that blends the fashion prowess of Prada with UNFPA Ghana’s expertise in sexual and reproductive health, gender equality, and women’s empowerment.
The project has been nothing short of extraordinary, as evidenced by the words of Dr. Emily Naphambo, the Deputy Representative of UNFPA Ghana, who recently shared her thoughts on the project’s progress and its impact on young women in Ghana.
“It’s amazing to watch a huge transformation from the girls that we had at the beginning to what we have seen today. As UNFPA, we are really proud of the persons they have become. Being giants in the fashion industry is not an easy feat, but look at what they have put together today; amazing garments, amazing designs, and we can’t be any prouder. When you look at the levels of confidence, it’s just wonderful. We are truly impressed.” Dr. Naphambo said enthusiastically, reflecting on the remarkable journey of the project’s participants.
The success of the project was palpable, with beneficiaries displaying their talents in stunning fashion collections at the closeout event held at the Accra World Trade Center on Friday September 8, 2023.
Dr. Naphambo emphasized how incredible progress was achieved within a short period of time.
“When I compare what I saw them doing to what they have exhibited today, it’s a really great improvement, and I am really proud of them and the journey ahead of their lives,” she said.
As the inaugural group of beneficiaries celebrate their achievements, Dr. Naphambo shared exciting plans for the future.
“After this graduation, we will have another cohort. It’s a space that we are in; – building the capacities of young women who don’t seem to have hope. This program gives them the opportunity to become who they want to be, to do something with their lives, and to dream big”, she added.
The partnership with Prada Group has been instrumental in providing hope to girls from marginalized communities. Dr. Naphambo acknowledged this privilege, stating, “It is really a privilege to work with such girls from marginalized communities to give them the hope to progress.”
However, the program’s ambitions don’t stop at fashion. UNFPA Ghana is looking to expand its reach by partnering with more vocational training colleges.
Dr. Naphambo revealed, “We are moving beyond the fashion world to explore other opportunities as well. This includes projects involving the construction sector, opening doors to a broader array of skillsets”.
Dr. Naphambo finally encouraged continued support and mentorship, emphasizing the impact it can have not only on the beneficiaries but also on society at large.
“This a big opportunity for fashion organizations to give back and mentor others. If we are going to make this place a better world, then certainly, all of us have to contribute, so it’s an opportunity, not just for their own branding but also an opportunity for them to do something for the big corporation of young people we have in Ghana that don’t seem to have any employment opportunities. It is something worth the cost to invest in.”
The “Fashion Expressions: The Stories She Wears” project continues to shape the future of young women in Ghana, combining fashion, empowerment, and hope in a partnership that promises even greater transformations ahead.
Story by: Kelly Adjetey Boye | univers.ug.edu.gh