OAK Foundation delivers its work through:
- Institutionalized Girls’ Clubs in Senior High Schools and low income or deprived communities;
- Young women’s social groups and volunteer associations in tertiary institutions;
- Agribusiness and vocational incubator projects benefiting the youth;
- Cooperatives of women small-holder farmers and marginalized youth segments;
- Entrepreneurship initiatives for unemployed and under-employed graduates.
OAK Foundation started in 2013 as PAM Girls Advancement Club (Passion to Mentor for Girls’ Advancement - PAMGAD). The club was the brainchild of Portia Agyei Yeboah, whose burning passion for young girls’ education and career development from poor homes was nurtured out of her childhood circumstances. The club’s objective was to mentor and provide financial support to ensure that girls from disadvantaged communities stay in school and excel in their academic work. After graduating from the University of Ghana, Portia realized that her passion lay in volunteerism and not-for-profit work. Consequently, she invited her friend, Mavis Durowaa Mainu, with who she had worked with on the PAMGAD project, to join her to form an NGO called OKODIE AKWANTUO KUO (OAK Foundation). Portia and Mavis set up OAK Foundation with the vision to be the foremost NGO responsible for sponsoring the education and professional development of disadvantaged young women in Africa. After three formative years, OAK Foundation established a social enterprise division to raise funds to support its charity work and promote agriculture and agribusiness as vehicles for the economic empowerment of young women.
The Challenge that motivates our work
In Ghana, as are trends in many African countries, there is a relatively higher rate of female school dropouts because of pregnancy and financial difficulties. The 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 impacts of this social problem on young girls, their offspring, families, and society are apparent.
Even when young women can attain education up to the tertiary level, their representation among the entrepreneurial workforce is challenged by many factors. The challenges young females face in setting up their businesses relate to financial, logistical, and access to opportunities.
OAK Foundation Ghana works to address these challenges and mitigate their negative impacts on society.