A total of 329 former illegal miners (galamsey) recruited for training in vocational and technical skills under the government’s Alternative Livelihood Programme (ALP) are expected to graduate by the end of this month.
They were part of the 500 trainees who were enrolled in 11 Department of Community Development’s Vocational and Technical Institutes (CDVTIs) in 18 districts to be provided with 12 months institutional level training.
Among the programmes for the training are dressmaking, hairdressing, flour confectionary, cookery, auto mechanics, graphic designing, welding and fabrication, leather works, plumbing, carpentry, building and construction, decorations and electrical installation.
As part of the training, the trainees were also given basic life skills training modules such as basic financial management, time management, personal hygiene and sanitation.
The ALP on skills training is being championed by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and District Assemblies with support from the Inter Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM).
At a press briefing in Accra yesterday, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, said, the programme, which was at a cost of GHȻ2.1 million, was aimed at providing employable skills and knowledge to the youth who were directly or indirectly engaged in galamsey to enable them explore economic opportunities to improve their lives.
Additionally, she stated that, it was designed to impart trainees with the requisite vocational and technical skills, knowledge and expertise to improve the Ghana’s labour market by serving a skilled workforce for local companies.
The second phase of the training, which was being undertaken at the community level and planned to run between three months and three years, she said, was currently providing training to 367 beneficiaries as apprentices through a number of local master craftsperson in various communities.
Bamboo works, fish farming, animal rearing, snail farming, art and craft work, basket weaving, honey production, mushroom production, among others, Hajia Mahama explained, were some of the selected trades for the community level training.
This year, the ALP would be scaled up to cover former illegal miners in 14 districts in four regions in the north and three districts in Eastern Region, she added.
To ensure its success, the minister said, regular monitoring and reporting have been instituted to provide accurate information to enable programme planning and designing of interventions at both the community and institutional levels.
Going forward, the ministry, she said, would affiliate the graduands to existing trade associations, create groups of graduands to be able to access financial support and establish peer monitoring system to ensure they do not go back to illegal mining.
Some of the beneficiaries expressed appreciation to the government for building their capacities to be able to engage in sustainable economic activities.
Mercy Teye, who trained in auto mechanics at the Kibi Technical Institute, said the training has helped her move away from galamsey which nearly resulted in her death and urged other former illegal miners to partake in the training for their own economic benefits.
Fashion designer, Comfort Frimpongmaa, who received training at Suhum Vocational Institute, stated that she was currently earning appreciable incomes from designing dresses, saying that, “Now I work peacefully in a healthy environment without endangering my life in pits.”
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS and MALISA TETTEH