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Helping female farmers get better at business: Cocoa Life in Ghana

Women leading their families out of poverty

Members of a microfinance group in Ghana | VSO VSO/Purushottam Diwakar

Members of the Village Savings and Loans Association in Odjarde, Ghana. They are one of many groups VSO has supported with training and improved financial management.

Women play a vital role in cocoa farming. They labour during the harvest. Between seasons their small businesses provide what may be the family's only source of income.

Through Cocoa Life, female community members are trained by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and VSO. They go on to mentor other women to develop their business, farming and leadership skills.

This is helping to cocoa farming families and so benefits the community as a whole.

Juliana Aboaagyewa, cocoa farmer in Ghana | VSO ©VSO/Tim Maynard

Juliana Aboaagyewa has increased her income through the Cocoa Life programme. She now considers herself a businesswoman

Juliana Aboaagweya received agricultural training as well as advice on business development, record keeping and saving and investment. She went on to form a group of 30 female entrepreneurs to pass on what she's learned.  They support each other to grow their businesses, and have a collective savings scheme, which members can draw on in crisis times.

“I wasn't doing record keeping before so I never knew how much time I was spending on work or how much money I was spending. Now I can see from my income records what profit I have made. It helps me see where things could be improved or where I should do more of the same."

Juliana Aboaagweya, Cocoa Life woman extension volunteer 

Life was hard for Juliana. A single mother, she is also financially responsible for her sister's children and her elderly parents. 

Since receiving training she has been able to re-roof her house and is also building a new house for her parents. She has purchased a generator and people in the community pay her to charge their mobile phones or to watch TV. 


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