In a report by PDGFUP on persons engaged in the head porterage business, it was found that, out of the 15,074 respondents, 51.4 per cent were Dagombas, 29.7 per cent were Mamprusi, 4.5 per cent were Gonja, 5.9 per cent Sissala, 0.9 per cent Akan and 7.7 per cent constituted other ethnic groups (People's Dialogue and Ghana Federation of Urban Poor,
Statistics produced from the Kayayei registration exercise by the then Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC), indicate that of the 2,432 Ka- yayei registered, almost all respondents interviewed had migrated from the northern part of Ghana and significantly they were between the ages of 6 and 36 (MOWAC, 2007). Accordingly, these
statistics show that most of the Ka- yayei are from the Northern parts of Ghana.
Mr Speaker, with regard to the educational background of the Kayayei, the statistics also show that, over 50 per cent of the young girls engaged in the head porterage business have no formal education. The few who have had some form of education did not go beyond basic school level (MOWAC, 2007).
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Reason for engaging in head porterage
The common reason for people leaving their communities is to have a better life. Even if they know that they would be facing harder times, they take all the chances hoping to succeed. The Kayayei phenomenon is underpinned by a mixture of reasons, and as a result, makes it very complex to address. Available evidence suggests that, girls and women who frequently become kayayei do so for the following reasons:
To raise capital to start a more profitable venture or to acquire the necessary items to enter marriage (Agarwal, et al, 1997);
Poverty, refusal of parents to support them through school, other abusive socio-cultural practices (early or forced marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM), et cetera and cases of being orphaned;
For a significant number, to work briefly to raise money to pay their school fees (MOWAC, 2007). This group work for short periods and
go back to where they came from. This is affirmed by the survey conducted by People's Dialogue and Ghana Federation of Urban Poor which indicates that 40 per cent of Kayayei have been in Greater Accra for less than one year
Poverty is often given as the major causal factor for people migrating to the south. A 2010 UNICEF Report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) notes Ghana is on track to achieving MDG 1, which is to halve the proportion of the population in extreme poverty. Even though the national poverty rate has declined from 51.7 per cent in 1991/92 to 28.5 per cent in 2005/6, the poverty rate in the Northern sector remains at two to three times higher than the national average (Atuluk, 2013).
This could explain why 60 per cent of Kayayei cited financial difficulty as the major reason for their dropping out of school (Table 1).
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