Economically empowering women is vital in ensuring the well being and care for children at risk of child trafficking. Helping women create and maintain their own stream of sustainable income will in turn help them financially care for their children; maintaining their health, giving them a loving and safe home, and ensuring their enrollment in school.
Many residents of Winneba are fisherman and depend on the harvest of fish to feed their family and create income by selling at the local market. Therefore much of the income is dependent completely on the harvest of the fish. Sometimes this creates irregularity and struggle for the women selling the fish. For example if there is a large fish harvest and the women are not able to sell all of the fish there is no storage or way to keep the fish fresh. Consequently the women would be forced to sell the fish at a low price or throw them away, both resulting in a loss of income.
Alternatively, much of the year women will travel to Tema in order to buy fish and sell at the market. This drive is time consuming and high cost for many of the women.
We have begun a new project as part of the Women’s Economic Empowerment Programme that will help provide the women in our community with an alternative and sustainable income.
In order to relieve some of this burden our latest project, we recently just launched, involves collecting the fish from Tema for the women. We provide transportation and the women provide the funds for how much fish they would like to buy. This gives them more time to ensure for the care of their children while also saving transportation money.
In addition to the transportation accommodation there will also be facilities the women can use, for free, to smoke and store their fish. A cold store will also become part of this project in order to keep the fish fresh for a much longer amount of time. All of these facilities will benefit the women financially and give them more time to devote to the safety, health, and education of their children as well as their income generating opportunities.
However, there are stipulations for anyone who wishes to become part of this programme. All mothers must have their children registered with the National Health Insurance Scheme, which gives them free health care. They must also ensure that all of their children (of age) are enrolled and consistently attending school while also promising to never traffic their child. The women will also be educated on human and child rights.
We are excited to have already registered 23 women at the launch of the project. Helping women improve their quality of life will in turn improve the quality of life for their children and keep them safe from child trafficking.