The Success of Non Formal Education in Ghana

April 5th, 2023 | Stories

For 10-14 year old girls who are out of school in Ghana, the Strategic Approaches to Girls’ Education (STAGE) project provided support to return to formal education. For out-of-school girls who are older (15-19), a non formal track allowed girls to gain literacy, numeracy, and life skills training through a nine-month accelerated learning program and vocational training facilitated by master craftspeople.

The goal of the non formal track was to empower young women to become more economically independent by accessing employment opportunities. In addition to vocational training, STAGE provided training in entrepreneurship and startup grants to girls who wanted to start businesses.

10,221 girls ages 15-19 enrolled in the accelerated learning program and vocational skills training with master craftspeople. After 9 months, 93% of this group graduated and started generating income in over 20 different trades. 6% of girls transitioned into further training.

In a study conducted 10 months after the young women completed vocational training, 93% of participants reported that the vocational training was effective in preparing them for employment, and that the master craftspeople provided effective instruction, support and encouragement, opportunities to practice skills, and gender-sensitive education.

Additionally, over 90% of the girls agreed that the functional literacy and numeracy skills gained through the accelerated learning program were helpful and could be applied to income generating activities.

“We like it because of the life skills learning, literacy, and numeracy which have assisted most of us to be able to read and write in our local language and with the life skills learning, we are now able to work with the acquired knowledge to earn some level of income for our living,” said one participant.

87% of girls reported they can now financially support their families. 82% said that their vocational skills were in high demand, and they could easily sell their products and services in their communities. 

One girl shared, During market days many people come to Nkwanta and so there is a good opportunity to sell some of the local sandals which we make and which is more affordable than the foss (second-hand) shoes which dominate the market presently.”

A market study conducted by STAGE earlier on helped decide which vocations girls would be trained in, ensuring profitability and community buy-in. This community-based training model was key to the success and sustainability of the non formal track.

Efforts to raise awareness of the importance of girls’ education and employment seemed to be successful as well. Community animation and sensitization sessions sparked discussions on gender equality and aimed to generate support for girls’ education and economic empowerment. One caregiver who participated in these sessions noted that “the activities have changed my perception on girls’ vocational education and economic empowerment because it has brought life to them.”

The STAGE project’s non formal track exceeded expectations with the learning gains and income generation that resulted from the accelerated learning program and vocational training. While there are still barriers to education and employment, some of the regions with the highest barriers had the highest rates of successful transition to employment. Increased support from community members and caregivers is promising for the sustainability of these interventions, and there continues to be strong engagement and interest at the national level to expand vocational skills training for young women.

To learn more, read the full evaluation.

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