The Zongo Empowerment and Entrepreneurial Development (ZEED), designed by government to improve the poor living conditions in Zongo communities across the country says it has so far engaged 1,964 beneficiaries in the Greater Accra region.
Government through the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) rolled out the ZEED programme module in September last year.
The module seeks to create employment by providing skills training and entrepreneurial development to 10,000 youths across all Zongo communities within the next two years.
Currently, 1,964 beneficiaries are undergoing training in various vocations under the module which has been piloted in four Zongo communities in the Greater Accra Region. The communities include Abossey Okai; Madina; Nima and Ashaiman.
Registration of the second batch of beneficiaries, made up of 800 people ended this week. They, too, will undergo an intensive training between three to six months in various vocations.
The National Coordinator for ZEED, Nurudeen Mohammed said the module was designed as a result of Government’s commitment to address the plight of the people in the Zongos especially the youth.
Mr. Mohammed said under the module, beneficiaries are attached to training centres in their local Zongo communities to learn vocations of their choice in order to earn regular incomes and provide for their families’ upkeep.
He mentioned hairdressing, fashion designing, catering, carpentry, IT hardware and construction as some of the skills training being offered to beneficiaries under the module.
Mr. Mohammed noted that due to lack of education and parental care, majority of the youth in Zongo communities have become idle and have therefore taken to various nefarious activities in the bid to make ends meet.
He emphasized that due to the lack of economic empowerment in these communities, the youth who are the backbone of such communities have not been able to contribute meaningfully to community and national development.
“When you take a critical look at all Zongo communities, one thing that stands out is the cycle of poverty. Majority of the youth who are energetic have no skills either through education or vocational training and are therefore finding ways and means to put body and soul together to survive in this world. This phenomenon is through no fault of theirs as it has been a generational thing”, he added.
Mr. Mohammed noted that ZEED is therefore an intervention to make true Government’s promise of empowering the youth in Zongo communities to be more independent, responsible and resourceful in order to contribute meaningfully to the upkeep of their families and society.
“ZEED is a commitment by Government to bring hope to all Zongo communities by improving living standards and alleviating poverty”, he said.
Mr. Mohammed said “what sets ZEED apart from other Zongo skills training initiatives is the emphasis on an exit plan plus the establishment of offices opened in the Zongos where prospective beneficiaries can just walk in to register and opt for their own choice of vocation to be trained in; and also use training centres within the communities to train the beneficiaries”.
He said ZEED was not only going to provide beneficiaries with just raw skills but also teach and empower them on how to access local and international markets with the products when they set up their businesses.
He said ZEED will also provide technical training to entrepreneurs who were already in business saying “we will teach for example food vendors how to package their food and how to keep their surroundings clean in order to attract more customers”.
He said monthly allowances were also given to the beneficiaries to cover their expenses as motivation to get beneficiaries committed to their training.
Mr. Mohammed noted that following the massive success of the program in the capital, ZEED was ready to move to other regions with the next port of call being the Ashanti region.
“ZEED will open 20 offices in all the 230 Zongo communities across the ten regions in the country before the end of the year,” he emphasized.