Government is planning a tailor-made programme that is expected to address the varied challenges faced by kayayei [head porters].
A study by the International Journal of Humanities and Social Studies indicates that the last two decades have witnessed an increasing influx of female migrants from northern Ghana to the urban centres in the south, to undertake menial jobs for survival. Many of them are engaged as head porters (kayayei), carrying loads from one place to another for a fee.
To address this, the Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister, Otiko Afisa Djaba, has disclosed that government is lining up a holistic plan to combat the phenomenon.
“In order to comprehensively deal with the issue of streetism and kayayei phenomenon, the ministry has launched the #Operation Get Off the Streets Now for a Better Life campaign, which is aimed at mapping and creating a database of these groups to ascertain their numbers and characteristics – with the aim of designing tailor-made programmes to address the varied causes of their challenges,” she told Parliament when she appeared to answer questions on women and girls living on the streets.
The programme will entail advocacy and sensitisation at the community level for all children to be in school; integration of children of school-going age into the school system; reintegration with families – with psychological support; adult literacy, skills training, entrepreneurship development, financial literacy and enhanced access to financial services; and linkages with local and export markets through women’s fairs and exchange programmes.
The ministry will continue to link up kayayei with employment opportunities in the hotel, catering and garments industries; promote 30% quotas for women in flagship programmes such as Planting for Food and Jobs; One Village, One Dam; 50% allocation of MASLOC funding to women, and 5% of DACF to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
In order to ensure that beneficiaries of these schemes do not relapse into poverty, robust monitoring and evaluation systems will be put in place to monitor the progress of beneficiaries and generate feedback to better cater for this group and sustain initiatives for their inclusion.
She also added that the ministry is working toward the NPP government’s manifesto promise of shelter for those without accommodation, including women and children.
“Providing shelter for the kayayei does not mean that we want to encourage them to stay in Accra. However, we are working with the National Board for Small Scale Industries(NBSSI) and other agencies to provide them with skills training.”
Madam Afisa Djaba also explained that her ministry has received several proposals from the private sector for public-private partnership aimed at providing high-rise, low-cost and affordable shelter for the poor and socially excluded, especially women and children.
A few government shelters have been identified for refurbishment, and offers received from the private sector with proposals for joint management arrangements for private shelters.
In 2016, 400 kayayei were trained in secretaryship, catering, hairdressing, beads and hat-making, and repairing mobile phones, and have since been gainfully employed.
There are arrangements to train and employ about 1000 more in the garments manufacturing sector, and another 1,000 in hairdressing this year. The second phase of LEAP Cash Plus focuses on productive inclusion, and will therefore provide seed capital for caregivers of Orphans and Vulnerable Children(OVCs) exiting from LEAP.