The livelihood empowerment department of BAF oversees the implementation of programs in the areas of Agriculture, economic empowerment, housing and infrastructure. The objective of the livelihood empowerment unit is to develop and implement people centred programs with a focus on improving the overall socio-economic livelihood of its beneficiaries. For Agriculture, the farm tools support program has been implemented whiles under economic empowerment, the Youth In Apprenticeship (YIA) program is currently under implementation. A two-unit KG block with auxiliary facilities have been constructed at Ankoma and the Nteso DA KG block has also seen massive renovation all under the housing and infrastructure unit of the department.
Farm Tools Support Project
In the Kwahu East District, more than 70% of the population are into farming. Crops mostly cultivated are cocoa, plantain, cassava, groundnut, tiger nut, and vegetables. There are others that are also into animals rearing. Research conducted indicated that most farmers that visited the health centres came with injuries such as cuts and snake bites due to the inappropriate use of farm tools and unavailability of protective logistics for their farming activities. This became an issue worth tackling. This necessitated the implementation of farm tools support programme where farmers were provided with basic farm tools such as cutlasses, head pans, pickaxes etc. to facilitate their farm cultivation and food production. Also, for their safety, wellington boots, gloves and overall clothings were provided. Tractor service was also provided to farmers that were into large scale farming to support their economic activities. The Farm Tools Support covered a total of 1,655 farmers who were clustered based on the existing operational area scheme employed by agric extension agents.
Impact: Ninety-eight percent (98%) of the sampled beneficiary farmers who were interviewed as part of the post distribution survey highlighted significant improvement in their safety when visiting or working on their farms. The wellington boots have enhanced their protection against snake bites and injuries from cutlasses, tree stumps and thorns. Additionally, due to the free supply of the farm tools, the funds which would have been used to procure such tools on their own have either been saved or invested into other farm inputs to help their cultivation. An example is Nana Anan Bediako of Nkwatia community a beneficiary has this to say (I benefited from the farm tools support and tractor services which contributed immensely to my bumper harvest in 2019 thereby increasing my income. This has afforded me the opportunity to now cater for my family well and can boast of some sizable amount in my bank account which has given me access to credit facility to expand my farms the more. Something which I could not have gotten ordinarily).
Youth In Apprenticeship (YIA)
The Youth In Apprenticeship (YIA) program sought to empower the youth within selected communities in the Kwahu East District by enrolling the youth onto vocational training in tailoring, to enable them acquire relevant skills that will ensure that their living conditions are improved. Each beneficiary was provided with all the start-up tools required for their training. These included sewing machines, fabrics and materials of various kinds, specimen albums, , pins, scissors, tape measures and stools.
Additionally, customary dues of each beneficiary were paid together with their mandatory dues to their respective associations. All beneficiaries are currently assigned to their head trainers who are training them to acquire the needed skills. Thirty young girls were initially selected from 6 communities namely Kwahu Tafo, Abetifi, Nkwatia, Hweehwee, Kotoso and Pepease have been enrolled onto the programme. This programme is being run in collaboration with the National Vocational and Training Institute in the Kwahu East District.
Impact: It is expected that at the end of the three-year training process, at least 80% out of the beneficiaries will be in the position to commence their own fashion business to support their livelihood. Additionally, it is expected that they will also train other youth in their communities who will be willing to acquire the skill in dress making.
Youth presented with sewing equipment and materials.
DRIVER LICENSING PROJECT
The objective of the program is to ensure that all commercial drivers have access to valid driving licenses to enable them operate their vehicles for a livelihood. The program further seeks to provide economic support to commercial drivers within Kwahu East through the payment of renewal fees for expired licenses and payment of fees and facilitation of the acquisition of new licenses.
Impact: BAF facilitated the registration of twenty-three (23) new drivers and renewed one hundred and twenty (120) expired drivers’ licenses for commercial drivers totalling one hundred and forty-three (143) within the Kwahu East District. The drivers were drawn from eight drivers’ unions within Kwahu East district namely; Abetifi, Pepease, Nkwatia, Hweehwee, Sumnakesse, Akwasiho, Kwahu Tafo and Kotoso. Most of these drivers thus 89% are meaningfully engaged in their commercial driving business to improve their livelihoods and support their families. Also, as a result of trainings given to these drivers, this has contributed to the reduction in the accident rate in the district. In 2018, 19 accidents were recorded and in 2019 the accidents recorded were 8 that is a 58% reduction in accident rate within a year. Also the usual misunderstandings between drivers and the police officers as a result of inability to produce licence has reduced.
HOUSING AND INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT
A two-unit Kindergarten classroom block with ancillary facilities including an office, a store room, toilet and urinal was constructed at Ankoma. This project was initiated because the classroom block that was housing the little children became a death trap to the teachers and the kids who were using the structure.
Impact: The project upon completion is expected to provide relief and comfort to the pupils who previously studied under makeshift structures. It will provide a conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning as both teachers and the school children will be safer and more secure. It is also expected the completion of the project will contribute to increase enrolment of pupils at the KG level.