In a remarkable achievement, a team of students from the Fred N. Binka School of Public Health (FNBSPH) at the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) have emerged winners of the highly competitive Youth and Rural Women Entrepreneurship Pitch Competition (EPC) held on September 14, 2023, at the Accra International Conference Centre during the Ghana Industrial Summit and Exhibition (GISE).
This project, Youth and Rural Women Entrepreneurship: Creating and sustaining alternative livelihood options in Ghana, is a collaboration between McGill University, University of Ghana Nutrition Research and Training Centre (NRTC), University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), and the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI).
Out of 28 applications, two teams from UHAS secured places among the final seven teams, comprising graduates and Sekesua women. The competition highlighted the creative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit of the teams, who showcased their innovative solutions aimed at providing alternative livelihoods for rural women in Sekesua.
The winning team, composed of five talented individuals — Ms. Bellam Gado, Ms. Ophelia Afua Kotoku and Ms. Ernestina Adzim, all final-year public health nutrition students, as well as Ms. Rachel Dede Okoh and Ms. Juliet Aggrey-Korsah, graduates of the FNBSPH — presented a groundbreaking proposal that involves the development of composite flour, a blend of soybeans, cassava flour and wheat flour, designed for producing a wide range of flour-based foods, including cakes and doughnuts.
Sekesua’s young people and rural women have been grappling with challenges in securing sustainable livelihoods, and this innovative strategy promises to be a viable solution. By leveraging the region’s agricultural resources, the team’s vision not only encourages nutrition and food security but also unlocks business opportunities, thereby fostering economic growth. The development of composite flour, blending wheat, cassava, and soybeans, offers a nutritionally rich and versatile dietary solution while simultaneously empowering the youth with valuable agricultural and marketing skills, thus addressing unemployment and fostering entrepreneurship in Sekesua.
This initiative plays a pivotal role in economically empowering rural women who actively participate in cassava cultivation and processing, contributing to food security and self-sufficiency. Additionally, the nutritional composition of composite flour aids in combating malnutrition, particularly among vulnerable populations. By reducing dependence on imported wheat flour and promoting environmentally friendly farming practices, the project not only benefits the Sekesua community but also opens doors for local, regional, and global market expansion, generating new revenue streams and bolstering the local economy.
UHAS remains steadfast in its commitment to training health professionals for the advancement of society, and this remarkable victory underscores the university’s dedication to fostering innovation and positive change.