Mr Speaker, I beg to move,that this Honourable House adopts theReport of the Committee on Gender andChildren on the “Kayayei” Phenomenonin Ghana. Mr Speaker, on 27th February, 2014, theMinister for Gender, Children and SocialProtection, Mrs Nana Oye Lithur, made aStatement on the “kayayei” (female headporters) phenomenon in Ghana. In the Statement, the Minister forGender, Children and Social Protectionprovided the background to rural urbanmigration in Ghana, the current nature ofthe “kayayei” phenomenon, reasonspeople migrate to regional capitals toengage in the “kayayei” trade, challenges
faced by the “kayayei”, national responseto the phenomenon and the way forward. Members showed a lot of interest inthe Statement due to the effect of thephenomenon on the society, especiallywomen and children. Due to the interestdemonstrated by Members, Mr Speaker,pursuant to Standing Order 175, referredthe Statement to the Committee on Genderand Children for research, study,consideration and report to the House.
Terms of Reference The terms of reference was mainlysituated on the presentations made by theMinister for Gender, Children and SocialProtection as well as contributions ofMembers on the phenomenon. The Committee, in considering thereferral, narrowed down the terms ofreference to the following:
The causes of the phenomenon Nature of the phenomenon Challenges faced by the Kayayei National response to the phenomenon Recommendations on the wayforward
Procedure In the execution of the terms ofreference identified, the Committeeadopted the following methodologies: The Committee held a workshop fromthe 23rd - 26th May, 2014 with the Ministerfor Gender, Children and Social Protection,Mrs Nana Oye Lithur and officials fromher Ministry, to deliberate on theStatement she made on the kayayeiphenomenon.
The Committee also met with CivilSociety Organisations with focus on thekayayei phenomenon to solicit their viewsand seek further clarification on theiroperations and the way forward. There was again a meeting to deliberateon researches that have been made on thephenomenon and the legal frameworksthat can be applied to solve the problem. The Committee finally went on fieldvisits to various markets in the capital,including Agbogbloshie market, Malatamarket, Madina market and the Darkumanmarket to interact with kayayei, to obtainfirst-hand information on the pheno-menon from 21st to 22nd June 2014.
Acknowledgement The Committe is grateful to thefollowing who participated in the variousdeliberations and the information theyprovided:
1. The Minister for Gender,Children and Social Protection ,Mrs Nana Oye Lithur 2. Director, Department of Children 3. Director, Department of SocialProtection 4. Director, Department of SocialWelfare 5. Officials from Peoples Dialogue(NGO) 6. Kayayei from the Malata,Madina, Agbogbloshi andDarkuman markets
Reference Documents In considering the Statement by theHon Minister for Gender, Children andSocial Protection, the underlisted
documents were used as referencematerials: 1. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana 2. The Standing Orders of Parlia-ment of Ghana 3. Statement by the Hon Ministerfor Gender, Children and SocialProtection; 4. Report on the Kayayei pheno-menon by the Peoples Dialogue(NGO) 5. Report of the Ministry of Genderand Children on the KayayeiPhenomenon 6. The Children's Act, 1998 (Act560)
Issues pertaining to the phenomenon Lack of national data on phenomenon
It came to light that there has been nonational survey on the phenomenon,although the Ministry of Gender, Childrenand Social Protection conducted a studyon the phenomenon in Accra in 2009 andtwo non governmental organisations, thePeoples Dialogue and the GhanaFederation of Urban Poor also did anotherin 2011. The report of the Ministry on Gender,Children and Social Protection put thenumber of head porters or kayayei inAccra at 2,300 while that of the NGOsstated a figure of between 15,000 - 17,000head porters in Accra. These porters are mostly located inmarkets across the capital, especially atthe Agbogbloshie market, Mallam Attamarket, Madina market, Tema Station,Darkuman market and Ashaiman market.There are however, others in Sekondi-Takoradi, Kumasi, Tamale, Techiman andKintampo.
According to the two researches madeon the phenomenon, 80 per cent of thehead porters are females, mostly from thenorthern parts of Ghana and 20 per centare males engaged in truck pushing, saleof metal scraps, loading and offloading ofgoods from trucks. Mr Speaker, 86 per cent of them are notmarried and 41 per cent of them are singlebut have children. 50 per cent of them haveno formal education and 54 per cent ofthem are of Dagomba, Sissala andMumprusi extraction from the northernregions. 58 per cent of them were engagedin farming prior to migrating to Accra.Most of them are also school dropouts.
Key factors for the prevalence of thephenomenon The following factors were identifiedas reasons for the prevalence:
a. Poverty and financial difficultiesexperienced by young girls in theNorth. b. Climate change which has seriouslyimpacted on rain-fed agriculture inthe North. c. Inability to complete educationdue to lack of funds. d. Irresponsible parentage and harmfulsociocultural practices like earlymarriages and adoption. e. Inadequate schools and teachers. f. Lack of jobs
Challenges faced by Kakayei In Accra, these young girls and boysgo through myriads of challenges as they
ply their trade. These include rape, sexualabuse, long working hours, harassmentand extortion by city officials, lack ofaccess to good health, education andaccommodation, drug trafficking andmaltreatment. Early deaths are alsorecorded among them due to theexperiences they go through. National Responses
The Committee was briefed on variousresponses made by governments to tacklethe phenomenon. These interventionsinclude apprenticeships in dressmakingand hairdressing, soap making and batik/tie and dye production. Some traineeswere given sewing machines and hairdryers as start-up capital for theirbusinesses, after which they werereintegrated back into their communities. Most of these interventions did notyield the required result as most of thegirls sent back to their communities didnot have customers to patronise theirservices in the North or fend forthemselves. Some could not also use theirelectric sewing machines due to lack ofelectricity in their villages. As a result,almost all of them returned to Accra tocontinue with the head porting business.
Observations The Committee is of the opinion that itwould be prudent to address this socialmenace as a national or developmentissue, rather than a problem of the threenorthern regions. This is because most ofthese migrant females are avoidingpoverty and hardships as are charac-teristics of all migration patterns wherepeople migrate to places where there areabundant resources. It is only when a holistic approach isadopted in solving the problem that themenace would be completely eradicatedor brought to its barest minimum.
The Committee also observed that,head porting serves as a means oflivelihood to many of these migrants andit would not be prudent to completely banit. It would be proper to regulate thepractice by licensing the adults andbanning children below the age of 18. The under aged children whoseparents are in Accra should be enrolled inschools while those whose parents are intheir original place of abode should besent back to their parents and enrolled inschools. The Committee also observed withworry the numerous interventions madeby the Ministry of Gender, Children andSocial Protection, international organisa-tions and civil society organisations butdid not yield the desired impacts. In fact,the experts admitted, it would be difficultto send them back to their communitiesand integrate them as they prefer living inAccra than going back to theircommunities. The Committee also noted that thestudy conducted on the kayayeiphenomenon was based primarily on girlsin Accra and did not cover the whole ofGhana. It does not therefore, provide aclear picture of the magnitude of theproblem as the numbers may be more thanwhat was mentioned. It is necessary to undertake anationwide data collection or nationalsurvey on kayayei as most regionalcapitals and towns such as Kumasi,Techiman, Takoradi, Kintampo and Tamalehave large numbers of female head porters.
Recommendations The Committee recommends short-medium and long-term solutions to beimplemented to reduce the phenomenon.
Short-term Solutions National Survey on Kayayei Phenomenon
In the short-term, the Committeerecommends that a more thorough nationalsurvey should be conducted on thephenomenon by a team of officials fromthe Ministry of Gender, Children andSocial Protection, Ghana StatisticalService and other stakeholders in orderto obtain a comprehensive situationalanalysis of the kayayei phenomenon. The team is to identify the researchgaps in the existing literature and try tofill them up. This would afford the Ministryof Gender, Children and Social Protection,the opportunity to carve an informed andrealistic policy framework, which wouldprovide a clear national policy directionto tackle the kayayei phenomenon. The Minister for Gender, Children andSocial Protection should also considertheir situation and enroll them under theLEAP and National Health InsuranceScheme.
Donor Mapping Policy frameworks drawn out of thenationwide survey on the phenomenonmay need a financial out lay adequateenough to bring the phenomenon to itsbarest minimum. The Committee therefore urges theMinistry of Gender, Children and SocialProtection to draw up a framework aimedat identifying funding sources that canbe approached for support. The Committee also tasked theMinistry to conduct donor mapping toascertain donor agencies whose coreinterests lie with improving the life of thegirl-child and source funds to implementthe policy.
Inter-Ministerial Collaboration The Committee noted that the problemof kayayei cannot be tackled by a singleMinistry because issues related to the