Supporting women and girls with skills for financial independence
Growing up in the Northern Region of Ghana, 2021 Fellowship Alumna Rhoda Kedoa Wedam helped support her family by selling soap and bread on the streets. Like Rhoda, many young girls from the Northern Region find themselves on the streets of the major cities in Ghana raising income to support themselves in school, provide for their family, or support themselves in a skill training. This experience inspired Rhoda to start the Song-Ba Empowerment Centre, an organization that supports women and girls in identifying sources of livelihood by training them in smock weaving, sewing, and the production of shea butter.
“I now feel the skill I am learning is important…I can become a better person through [these] skills.”Song-Ba Empowerment Centre beneficiary Latifa
In August, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield visited the Song-Ba Empowerment Centre to learn about the organization’s activities and listen to stories from the Centre’s beneficiaries.
Through Song-Ba Empowerment Centre, Rhoda has empowered over 50 girls with weaving and sewing training and has provided over 13,000 girls reusable sanitary pads produced at the Centre. These reusable sanity pads, along with sustainable menstrual hygiene training offered by the center, helps prevent young women from missing school or classes due to menstruation. Rhoda has also created a savings and loans plan that encourages the girls to save and acquire loans.
During the virtual 2021 Fellowship, Rhoda implemented activities she discussed with mentors at her Leadership in Business Institute University of Nevada – Reno. When women at the Song-Ba Centre became frustrated as the COVID-19 pandemic affected businesses, Rhoda acquired a showroom where she could showcase the women’s products. The showroom helped people easily access the business, which increased sales and helped motivate the women to continue their work.
After the Ambassador’s visit, Rhoda asked the women of the Song-Ba Empowerment Centre how they felt about their work. Latifa, one of the young women working at Song-Ba, said, “I now feel the skill I am learning is important…When the Ambassador came, this has made me believe that, I can become a better person through [these] skills.”