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What do you say about gender balance?

Ghana YMCA Communication Team, sat down with Olivia Mensah, 26, a graduate trainee of the YMCA Vocational Training Institute for an interview about gender balance

Olivia Mensah

She completed her training in Cookery for catering industry in 2015 and is currently studying Hospitality Management in the Takoradi Technical University. When Olivia first came to the YMCA centre, she was very shy and like many of the girls who come to our centre for training, didn’t consider herself university material. After her three years of training in the YMCA and participating in the different programs that the YMCA has to offer, Olivia stands a confident young lady in her second year of studying in the university. She told us before her interview that she was just from the Food and Drugs Board main office in Takoradi where she was following up on an opportunity to undertake her second-year internship (an initiative she never thought she could take on her own/by herself).

Olivia had this to share when we asked her a few questions as part of our count down activities at the Takoradi YMCA towards the International Women’s day.

In which area would you like to see a gender balance in your community?

Olivia: Society.

In which area would you acknowledge that there is an existing gender balance?

Olivia: In the area of women empowerment.

What do you think is the YMCA`s role in creating a gender balance?

Olivia: They need to strive at becoming more visible to get the good things that they are doing now on gender out there, because it is really helping us even though it is a small training school. I think that many people do not know that the YMCA is here and what actually goes on here in this regard. So, the YMCA needs to get out there, so that people get to know what we are doing here thus create more opportunities like what I have benefited out of here. If it hadn’t been for the training, I had in the YMCA Vocational Trainng Centre, I didn’t think it was possible to be able to further my education to the Takoradi Technical University (TTU). So, the YMCA should be visible in their work.

How has the YMCA helped you growing as a woman?

Olivia: YMCA has helped me a lot. Through the training I had at the YMCA I am able to continue my education. Through the skills I developed at the YMCA I am able to do something on my own. I am now able to talk to someone that I do not know well. At first I did not know how to approach someone just because I couldn‘t express myself well in English and all that. But right now, I have the confidence to even go to places where I thought I could not go to before but through YMCA I am able to go to places like that.

How do you think you can give something back to the community of women?

Olivia: Education. I think everybody should be educated to try to do something on their own especially in terms of entrepreneurship. Women do not need to wait for men to come and tell them what to do once they get to know how to do something. Just do something for yourself to become an independent woman.

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