This survey study examines the effectiveness of a Rural Enterprise Programme (REP) in improving the livelihood of rural women in Ghana, using ex-anti and ex-post income determinants of the programme. Some 217 beneficiary women drawn from farm-based, agro-processing, traditional craft, agro industrial and petty trading economic sub-sectors selected to participate in the survey using snow-ball sampling method. Using cross-sectional design, questionnaire with open and closed ended items was used to collect data. The IBM SPSS Statistics (SPSS version 20) was used to analyze the data and the results were qualitatively presented in tables and charts. The study found that the various inputs and strategies used in the Rural Enterprise Programme to empower women included education and training that equipped beneficiary with literacy skills to enhance their entrepreneurial roles and labour market. The result showed that the women empowerment strategies employed by the programme produced intermediate and long-term outcomes increasing the nominal income of the participants, indicating improvement in the well-being of the rural women. However, the study identified a gap in accessing affordable finance (credit) and high cost of inputs which presented challenge to the responsiveness of the REP to the beneficiary rural women economic well-being. The study corroborates the literature on rural women empowerment in West African that evidence a high degree of vulnerabilities of rural women’s access to economic resources which are predominantly owned by men. The study recommends future ethnographically informed case study to investigate culturally responsive strategies that can work best in economically empowering women in African traditional rural men-dominated cultural and economic context.
Key words: Rural women, economic empowerment, livelihood, well-being, strategies, rural enterprise programme, Ghana West Africa.
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