Youth Resiliency and Livelihoods Development Project in Ghana

Heifer Ghana currently implements a project focusing on vocational agricultural business training for rural youth in the Greater Accra Region. For this project Heifer Ghana is collaborating with Heifer Nederland, CClear (a Ghanaian NGO for agricultural business incubators) and the University of Wageningen. The contribution of the latter consists of the collection of the lessons learned regarding the stabilization of youth in the rural areas through activities that can locally improve their incomes. The project is funded by EduKans.

Background project

In Ghana youth unemployment is a serious issue. It is caused by demographic growth, poverty and insufficient education. 56% of the active population in Ghana works in the agricultural sector, most of them as smallholders. Youth from those rural villages often don’t have much perspective to make a living in the locality. Reason why a lot of them prefer to leave the village and to go to the city in search for work.
The present project envisages to support young farmers in the creation of  small businesses through grasscutter /rabbit production and processing and so as to improve their incomes. Once they earn decent incomes through their own rural businesses they will have more motivation to stay in the rural area. As young entrepreneurs, they will contribute to make their community more vibrant and stimulate other youth to follow their example.

In towns there is a large demand for grasscutters’ meat, which is a highly appreciated delicatessen.  The meat is sold for good prices. Besides income, grasscutter or rabbit meat can also help to improve the local food security situation.

Although the project started in March 2015 with a Child Labor subcomponent, the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) component started in the Third semester 2015. A baseline study has since been conducted.

During the project 820 young people between 15 and 24 years will be trained on and equipped for grasscutter or rabbit production:

  • 410 young people directly receive training, building materials for cages and 5 grasscutters or rabbits each
  • These 410 young farmers will hand-over their knowledge as well as 5 of the offspring of the grasscutters or rabbits to 360 new young farmers.
    80 young people will be assisted in setting up a business in grasscutter meat processing, while 100 youngsters will be trained in the fabrication of cages. In total a number of 1000 young farmers will receive support.
    Priority will be given to children who are victim of, or susceptible to child labor.

Objectives and expected results

The overall objective of the internships is to capture the lessons learned within the project in regard to rural youth resiliency, push and pull factors for rural exodus of youth and how these are affected by the project intervention. This will be a participatory exercise, involving youth into the reflection on their decisions.

More specifically, the results to be achieved are:

  • The contribution of grass-cutter and rabbit production, processing and marketing makes to the incomes of the young entrepreneurs.
  • The impact of the grasscutter and rabbit production on local food security is documented.
  • The effect of the project on the willingness of youth to stay in their rural area, as well as other push and pull factors for their rural exodus are identified.
  • Recommendations are made for further improvement of the project setting for the limitation of rural exodus of youth.

Scope of the internship

The project foresees two internships in collaboration with the Wageningen University. Both internships will be for 2 - 2,5 months. Based on the ToR the Wageningen University will propose potential candidates to Heifer Ghana.

Preferably the two internship will take place one after the other, First and Fourth semesters of 2016, in order to capture the lessons learned from the project. ToR for the second research assignment can slightly differ: the first assignment will focus more on the general push and pull factors for rural youth to leave their home villages. The second can focus more on the lessons learned from the project.


The field research consists of the following stages:

  • Desk study of existing documents and meeting at Heifer Nederland office for exchange with Heifer NL staff
  • Elaboration of a Research Proposal to be discussed with Heifer Ghana and Nederland.
  • Travelling to Ghana and data collection in the field
  • Data analysing and draft report writing
  • Presentation of the results to a selected young farmers and Heifer Ghana staff
  • Elaboration of final report

The students receive back-up support from lecturers of Wageningen University on the theoretical parts of the assignment. Heifer Ghana will facilitate the stay and work in Ghana and in the field. Participatory research methods are highly encouraged in order to make it a learning exercise for the young farmers as well.