Story by Abdul Rashid S.
The Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) Ghana in partnership with Global Affairs Canada officially launched the second phase of its Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW) project which ended in 2018. The second phase of the project, dubbed GROW2, is been implemented MEDA with funding from Global Affairs Canada (GAC), through Key Facilitating Partners (KFPs) within the Northern Regions.
The GROW2 project has been in progress since 2021 and would continue through to 2026 to build on the successes of the GROW project by supporting a total of 40,000 Women Small Holder Farmers (WSHFs), 5,000 entrepreneurs, 50 agribusinesses of which at least 50% are women-led, in three food value chain, soybeans, groundnuts, and vegetables, and within the Savannah, Upper West and Northern regions of the country.
The Northern Regional Minister, Honorable Alhaji Shani Alhassan Shaibu, who graced the memorable occasion, applauded MEDA Ghana for its support to women in agriculture within the Northern region and the country at large. He added that this project was resounding and would go a long way to empower these women to be economically independent as well as develop their households, communities, and the country at large. He encouraged MEDA and the four KFPs to work effortfully to ensure progressive changes in these women.
The Project Manager for the GROW2 project, Mr. Francis Essuman, stated during his address that the project’s first phase was executed in the Upper West Region; however, the second phase will be extended to two more regions within the North, the Northern, and Savannah regions.
He added that out of 100% of the targeted agribusinesses, at least 50% is expected to be women-led and women-owned businesses or farms, and the other half owned or managed by men should support women. Mr. Francis added that the objective of the project was not only increasing economic independence but also ensuring good nutrition amongst households and supporting clients to take charge of their business even after the project is over.
To ensure success, MEDA has partnered with other stakeholders in agribusiness including farm manufacturing companies such as Crop Drop, Savannah Manufacturing Group (SMG), and Asawaaba Farms to provide price-discount on selected technologies for clients under the project. MEDA Ghana provides fifty percent payment to enable these farmers to acquire the needed inputs such as certified seeds, inoculants, and roller planters to ensure productivity. An executive member of Crop Doctor, Mr. Sudir Kumar, stated that their role in this partnership is not only to provide the tools for these women but also to ensure effective mechanization and to make an impact on them.
Two couples from Jegun in the Northern Region who were taken through the Gender Model Family (GMF) were invited to share their experiences and the impact of the project within their households and community. The project’s client and traditional elder of the community,
“Mba Wulana” shared the impact of inclusive decision-making and supporting his wives has made on his family. He stated that including his wives in making decisions regarding the family has brought a new perspective to dealing with issues as well as preventing and settling conflicts within the household. He added that the project has supported their wives and made them realize the significance of women in building a successful community.
The event had in attendance the Senior Regional Director for West African/Middle East and North Africa, MEDA, Mr. Pierre Diegane Kadet, representative of the Canadian High Commission (GAC), Md. Louise Paris, the former Country Director of MEDA- Mr. Robert Austin, the GROW2 team from MEDA, the Director of Women in Agricultural Development, Ms. Paulina Addy, and other stakeholders of the GROW2 project, media, and agribusinesses.