IOM has organized a two-day micro-business skills training, in cooperation with district level Department of Social Welfare (DSW) and Department for Community Development (DCD), in Ghana’s Volta Region (Biakoya district).
The training was organized for 18 fishermen from two communities, who previously relied on trafficked children to help them in their work. The training took place after IOM rescued 20 children from these communities earlier this year.
The aim of the training was to prevent further trafficking in the area by supporting the fishermen in finding alternative child trafficking-free livelihood options that would help them earn a decent income. Four opinion leaders from the two targeted communities were also included in the training for continuity and sharing with more community members.
The district agricultural director led the first part of the training and ran the participants through the basics of sustainable agricultural practices, especially maize and vegetable production, as well as rabbit and grass cutter rearing.
The participants, who received specific guidance and coaching, highlighted difficulties in accessing land, credits and fertilizers. They were encouraged to form cooperatives to create synergies at the community level and enhance their chances to access microcredit from accredited microfinance groups.
Participants also learnt about group formation and sustenance; basic knowledge in entrepreneurial skills; marketing strategies; money and banking; demand and supply; business ownership and price control mechanisms. The training was delivered in the local language, in an interactive and accessible way.
At the end of the training, the fishermen agreed to focus on rice farming, corn mill, animal husbandry and bee keeping. Most importantly, they all pledged to stop using trafficked children and from now on will champion that cause within their communities.
IOM has worked with the government of Ghana and other agencies to counter trafficking in persons since 2002. It has so far rescued a total of 752 child victims of trafficking.