The United States is supporting the long-term recovery of Ghana’s fragile coastal fisheries through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  USAID Ghana Deputy Mission Director Grace Lang joined representatives of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Opportunities Industrialization Center, Ghana, at a graduation ceremony for a USAID-funded training program focused on providing supplementary livelihoods  for youth in fishing communities.

“If Ghana’s fisheries collapse, so do the livelihoods of coastal communities.  Supplemental sources of income for fishers and coastal communities are a critically important part of the long-term recovery of Ghana’s fisheries.  That’s why we’re supporting this youth training program,” said Lang at the event.

The event celebrated 300 youth who successfully completed 3 to 12 months of training and apprenticeships in masonry, consumer electronics repairs, hairdressing, garment making, electrical installation, floor tiling, catering, and glass/window glazing to serve as supplemental livelihoods to fishing activities. Their achievements were formally recognized through the remarks and presentation of certificates of completion by the Honorable Mavis Hawa Koomson, the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Ms. Grace Lang, the USAID/Ghana Deputy Mission Director, and the Honorable Dr. Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah, Western Regional Minister.

Ghana is currently facing steep declines in fish stocks and catches, leading to increased economic hardship for coastal fishing communities.  This requires interventions aimed at equipping communities with supplemental livelihoods to reduce their vulnerabilities to these environmental and economic shocks.  A USAID study in December 2022 found that only 19% of fisherfolks in coastal communities engaged in supplemental livelihoods.

To address this issue, USAID worked in alignment with the Government of Ghana’s skills development initiatives to promote the supplementary livelihoods program, which provides technical and vocational education for coastal youth, ages 15 – 35.  Participants were also trained in financial literacy and entrepreneurship, and given start-up tool kits to encourage success during and after their apprenticeships.

USAID, in partnership with the Ministry and Fisheries Commission, plans to scale up this supplemental livelihood opportunity over the next year by enrolling an additional 3,500 individuals in the program.