Our Challenge

By the end of 2015, there were over 200,000 unemployed graduates in Ghana; and more than half of these were female. It is estimated that, in 2016 alone, an additional 71,000 or more graduates will be strapped onto the job market from both private and public tertiary institutions. Between 2011 and 2015, the National Service Secretariat deployed a total of 289,539 graduates for their national service. Out of this number only 5,000 were absorbed into the formal Sector according to the National Labour Organization. It is clear therefore that the tens of thousands of graduates that the various universities churn out into the system remain jobless years after the school, and life remains daunting for most of these graduates.

The grim unemployment situation has become so deep-rooted to the extent that even final year students seeking internships cannot find unpaid opportunities, as industries and work places remain choked. This graduate unemployment situation is expected to worsen since Ghana’s private sector, which is touted as the engine of growth, is under siege, rocked by astronomically high interest rates, and unfriendly macro-economic climate. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has warned that unemployment will continue to rise in the coming years, as the global economy enters a new period combining slower growth, widening inequalities and turbulence.

The reality therefore is that Ghana’s economy is not expanding adequately to accommodate unemployed youth and graduates, and this situation will not improve in the near future. The problem will linger also because the agriculture and ICT sectors, which have more potential for development to create more opportunities for the youth have rather seen massive decline over the period.

The situation for female graduates is more ominous. Apart from the fact that the scales are tilted against them, female graduates are subjected to a myriad of indignities in their quest for gainful employment.

The only viable way out of for female graduates is to set up their own businesses; however there is little or no interest in that, on account of the difficulties involved in entrepreneurship in Ghana, particularly for women. Even when young women are able to attain education up to tertiary level, their representation among entrepreneurial workforce is challenged by a myriad of factors. The challenges young females face in setting up their own businesses are the absence of requisite training, lack of access to capital and the requisite support services.

In Ghana, in line with trends in many African countries, there is high drop-out among female students as a result of pregnancy and financial difficulties. Current drop-out rate of young females in senior high schools, particularly in rural and low income communities, is estimated at 40%. In the year 2013 alone, 750,000 female teenagers in Ghana became pregnant; and a substantial number of these girls dropped out of school. The negative impact of this social problem on the young girls, their off-spring, families and society is obvious.

Even when young women are able to attain education up to tertiary level, their representation among entrepreneurial workforce is challenged by many factors.  The challenges young females face in setting up their own businesses relate to financial, logistical and access to opportunities.

OAK Foundation Ghana works to address these challenges and mitigate their negative impacts on society.

Our vision, mission, objectives and priorities

Our vision is to be the foremost NGO responsible for sponsoring the education and professional development of disadvantaged young women in Africa.
Our mission is to make highly educated professionals of young women from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds in Africa.

We aim to achieve our vision and mission through the following:

  • Institutionalized Girls’ Clubs in Senior High Schools and Communities
  • Young women social groups & volunteers in tertiary institutions
  • Agribusiness incubator projects focused on young female graduates
  • Entrepreneurship initiatives for young female graduates

OAK Foundation ensures that young girls from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds enroll and excel in school, and ultimately make it to a tertiary level. We do this by mentoring young school girls, supporting them with their academic work and implementing financial assistance and scholarship schemes for our target communities.

OAK Foundation also aims to produce professional women entrepreneurs in productive sectors of the Ghanaian economy. We do this by providing opportunities for young women enrolled in tertiary institutions to participate in Professional & Career Development, Civic & Leadership, Coaching & Mentoring and Volunteering programmes. In addition, we facilitate the formation and operation of female graduate businesses, particularly in Agriculture and AgriBusiness.