Ghana is home to cocoa farming, which has huge potential, but it is facing some critical challenges, due to a combination of ageing farmers, old trees, and a lack of market incentives. Over the past four years, production has fallen by nearly a quarter, and a continued decline would result in rural job losses, increased rural-urban migration and a rise in youth unemployment in the country.
In collaboration with Solidaridad, we decided to target unemployed young people between 17 and 25 years old in the cocoa communities of Ghana and developed a new curriculum combining social and financial literacy with a focus on entrepreneurship in the cocoa value chain.
The programme encourages the farmers of tomorrow to go beyond subsistence agriculture and to become commercial cocoa growers, ensuring that young people gain the skills, tools and long-term support necessary to be successful in the cocoa sector and to professionalise farming. It aims to contribute to a healthy Ghanaian cocoa sector, which becomes financially attractive but also sustainable for young people to have a career in.
The curriculum Aflatoun developed guides the young cocoa farmers on a journey of exploration and discovery that helps them professionalise cocoa farming. It arms the young cocoa farmers with the confidence, knowledge and skills needed to approach their farms as businesses to grow. Through the different components of this broader programme they will be supported to run viable enterprises and will be able to contribute to the growth and development of their communities.
The programme will, over five years, have a total outreach to 81,661 young Ghanaians. After completion we expect that 29,037 will become self-employed either as a farmer (28,250) or as a service provider (787) and will create through these enterprises new employment for in total 30,611 young people in Ghana.
This project is part of the The Youth Forward Initiative which is an initiative of The MasterCard Foundation’s Youth Livelihoods program. The Foundation and Aflatoun International share the belief that young people can realize their full potential and improve their livelihoods if they have access to education, skills training, mentorship, job search support and access to financial services.