Cheers and music could be heard in communities across six of Ghana’s regions.

Proud girls and their families gathered in 110 villages to celebrate their graduation from the Strategic Approaches to Girl’s Education (STAGE) program. The girls were part of a cohort of around 3,000 15-19 year old girls who completed a nine month Accelerated Learning Program (ALP), in which they underwent functional literacy, numeracy, life skills, and vocational skills training.

Powerful testimonies were given during the ceremonies, like from this young mother:

I heard about the STAGE Project, I embraced it wholly and I liked the ALP. The project has empowered me. I have started doing (making) the soap in my community before graduation. I do the soap and supply to some stores in the city to sell. Because of that, I know longer depend on my husband for money. I personally sell some in the community.”

One mother of a STAGE program participant confirmed:

Our community has become the center of attraction by other surrounding communities due to the soap my daughter has learned.”

This is the third cohort to graduate from the STAGE program, and over 9,000 girls have participated in the ALP. After graduating they receive support to develop a business plan and are given a start-up grant. Girls choose to either set up an individual business or work in small groups.














Community support is crucial in keeping girls in the program and kick starting their economic independence. Through behavioral change initiatives, STAGE engages community leaders, district authorities, and master craftspeople in building support systems to keep girls safe and help them to achieve their goals. Girls who need additional support, like those with children, those facing economic challenges, or those with a disability, are given it. One girl shared:

I have an eye impairment. When the STAGE project came, I thought they would not select me because of my eyes. They enrolled me, and I took part in the ALP and the vocation skills training. The master craftsperson supported me, and gave me the needed support to benefit from the training fully. I am happy that today I am graduating in (making) pastries.”

A sense of communal pride could be felt, walking around in these villages. Products made by the girls were on display and sold to visitors. The community oversight committee, established by the project, worked together with the ALP facilitator and master craftspeople to prepare ceremonies in all communities in September and October. Guests from the municipal assembly, district authorities, and religious leaders lauded the project and called upon the community to continue vocational training and for the girls to train others as well in their trade or skill.

The STAGE project, funded by UKAID and implemented by World Education and partners, is in the final phase, due to close out in February 2023. Until then, World Education is organizing project learning dissemination activities, both in Ghana and internationally, to promote our community based approach to empowering and training girls to enter into the world of work. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram, and visit our website to learn more about upcoming events, and join us to discuss evidence-based approaches to tackling youth unemployment and promoting girls’ education.