Journey to the South: Consequences of inadequate Family care and National response to Kayayei in Ghana

Sylvester Kyei Gyamfi, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection

Theophilus Kwabena Abutima, University for Development Studies

Bernard Akyeampong Amoh, University of Ghana

Abstract: The difficulties of girls working in the "Kaya" trade in Ghana's urban markets are the main subject of this policy review paper. It is to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of the family and the government in dealing with "Kayayie" in Ghana. The paper largely adopted a desk study approach, the main sources being scholarly studies, and a review of information from government agencies, with the addition of the authors’ observations and experiences with Kayayie. The argument of the paper is based on Everett Lee's (1960) Push and Pull Model, which describes migration in terms of factors making people move out of their origins. The paper concludes that budget issues hinder the government's ability to address the kayayei phenomenon. The paper suggests that the government prioritize the welfare of "Kayayei" in the national budget and consider a nationwide data-collection exercise to generate accurate data on kayayei for improving programming and policy decisions regarding kayayei. The results also show that some families push their daughters into marriage to profit from it, while some girls are compelled to travel to the South to avoid being forced into marriage. Since families are primarily responsible for meeting their children's needs, there is a need to improve family life education about the importance of being more accountable for the maintenance of children in the sending communities as well as other migration-prone communities.

Keywords: kayayei; north-south migration; family; livelihood; Ghana

1           Introduction

Migration has always been a livelihood strategy for most migrants in developing countries, as a result, labor migrants form the bulk of the migration stock in sub-Saharan Africa (Ratha, De, Plaza, Schuettler, Shaw, Wyss, & Yi, 2016). Most migrant flows are mostly explained by differences in social and economic development between origin and destination locations (Ratha et al., 2016). Rural-urban migration is often widespread in developing countries such as Ghana due to pre- and post-colonial development programs, which were centered on the industrialization of big cities (Abdul-Korah, 2011; Mabogunje, 1990; Pickbourn, 2011). With very little effort made to improve the North, the colonial development plan was aimed at making significant investments in the South. The result was growing inequality, and developmental imbalances between the northern and southern parts of the country (Abdul-Korah, 2011; Ansong, 2022; Kwankye, Anarfi, Tagoe, & Castaldo, 2007; Van der Geest, 2011). Most families in the rural north became impoverished because of the absence of adequate livelihoods, which negatively impacted family incomes and welfare (Awumbila, Owusu, & Teye, 2014). The inequities brought about by the government's policies at the time led to internal migration in Ghana. Many household heads relocated in pursuit of better social services, infrastructure, and good livelihoods to enable them to take care of themselves and their families, setting the foundation for rural-urban migration. Over the past few decades, internal migration has followed this trend. Regional differences and the country's differing rural-urban poverty are reflected in these trends (GSS, 2014; IOM, 2020; MOI, 2014).

Head portering is not a unique phenomenon; it is known as "Kayayei" in certain parts in Ghana. It comprises two words, “Kaya”, meaning a load from the Hausa language, while “yei” (plural), meaning girls or females, or “yoo” (singular) from the Ga language spoken mainly in Accra. This livelihood phenomenon was introduced to Ghana by Malian and Nigerien immigrants who mostly operated in market centers and bus terminals (Kwankye et al., 2009; Porter, Hampshire, Abane, Munthali, Robson, & Mashiri, 2012). Decades later, the Kaya phenomenon has been the subject of extensive inquiry in Ghana in the last two decades. However, not much attention has been paid to assessing the roles that the family and governmental organizations play in addressing the problems that young women who ply their trade in the Kaya phenomenon face. In this paper, families’ inability to prevent their children from migrating to participate in kaya is examined, along with the reasons for the government's role in controlling the phenomenon through the development of laws, policies, and programs.

2           Methods

The paper largely adopted a desk study approach, with the main sources drawn from earlier studies relevant to the review paper's goal. An extensive review of a wide range of relevant policies, legislation, national surveys, and national strategic reports relating to child migration in Ghana was undertaken. Other relevant materials such as handing over notes, budget information, and ministerial speeches of the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection (MoGCSP) were also utilized. The authors also referred to several other global reports and studies on the Internet as an additional source of information to enrich the literature review and discussion. This was accomplished by a search of the literature utilizing search engines like Google, Microsoft Bing, the Internet Archive, Web of Science, and databases for the social sciences. This approach allowed the authors to do a thorough assessment of the role of the family and government in addressing the Kaya issue in Ghana.

3           The Family and Kayayie

3.1     The Ghanaian Family in Context

Families are fundamental to the survival, security, and growth of every member of society, including children. As a result, families bear a heavy burden in preventing child migration. The Child and Family Welfare Policy of Ghana describes a group of individuals who are linked through blood, marriage, law (in the case of adoption), shared identity as well as lineage, and ethnic group as a family (MoGCSP, 2014). There are instances when the terms "nuclear family" and "extended family" are used interchangeably. A nuclear family is often described as a family unit that solely comprises a mother, father, and children, while an extended family is typically defined as a family that also includes close relatives (MoGCSP, 2014). In Ghana, a person's development and upbringing mostly depend on their family. According to the legal system, it is the biological parents' primary responsibility to give their children the necessities of life (MoGCSP, 2014). These might include the child's upbringing, health care, diet, housing, clothes, warmth, and care. It is an offense under Section 15 of the Children's Act for a parent or guardian to disregard their duty to children (GOG, 1998). The extended family or the biological family has a crucial role in a child's upbringing even if the biological parents are legally entrusted with the primary obligation of care over the child (GOG, 1998). Many adults in Ghana were raised in interconnected extended family networks. In other words, members of a larger extended family often have a significant impact on how many children grow up, especially in rural settings (Mann & Delap, 2020; MoGCSP, 2014). This is because the extended family plays a significant role in a child’s upbringing, making sure the child develops into a responsible and respectable adult like the rest of the family. The extended family has long been the traditional structure in Ghanaian communities, providing diverse family members with social and financial security when they need it (Dzramedo, Amoako, & Amos, 2018; Mann & Delap, 2020; MoGCSP, 2014). A built-in safety net in this system provides for the upbringing of children within the family. The approach encourages wealthy family members to look after others who are less fortunate (Mann & Delap, 2020; Owusu & Baidoo, 2021).

Most ethnic groups in the northern parts of the country, rely on uncles to care for their nephews and nieces when their real parents are not around or when the parents are struggling financially (Dzramedo et al, 2018; MoGCSP, 2014). The extended family system has gradually been replaced by modern systems as a result of social changes, the encouragement of economic expansion, and other pressures from urbanization (Dzramedo et al, 2018). So (1990) asserts that the organizational structure of the traditional family has changed as a result of contemporary, global activities. Similar arguments are made in earlier works by Assimeng (1999), Nukunya (2003), and Therborn (2004) that nuclear families, which have a simpler structure, have taken the place and providing the functions of extended families. Thus, the emergence of modern institutions as a result of social change and urbanization has aided in the gradual decline of the extended family structure (Assimeng, 1999; MoGCSP, 2013; Nukunya, 2003). Many children in Ghana live in conditions of extreme poverty as a result of their families' severe financial difficulties (National Development Planning Commission [NDPC], 2020). Due to financial constraints, most families have turned their attention away from caring for their extended families and toward taking care of their close family members, according to the MoGCSP (2013) and Dzramedo et al. (2018). As a result of this, disadvantaged family members have struggled with getting help from others. Many young people have been forced to move in search of work in the Southern regions of the country due to a lack of support from both extended and nuclear families and a lack of job possibilities (Anarfi, Kwankye, Ababio, & Tiemoko, 2003; Foundation for Women’s Health, Research & Development [FORWARD], 2018).

3.2     Kayaayie

The young girls trek using a variety of modes of transportation to reach places such as Kumasi, Takoradi, Tema, and Accra where they engage in head-porterage (Awumbila and Ardayfio-Schandorf, 2008; Agyei, Kumi, & Yeboah, 2016; Oberhauser & Yeboah, 2011). They primarily work in huge markets, frequently carrying loads or items on their heads for customers for a fee. Most of these young women and girls have little to no formal education (Ansong, 2022). Kayayei are a particularly vulnerable population because of the precarious nature of their employment. They frequently have weak social safety nets, subpar housing, and disproportionately high rates of abuse and violence (FORWARD; 2018). Their main line of work is the transportation of cargo between locations, usually in large markets (Agyei, Kumi, & Yeboah, 2016; Awumbila & Ardayfio-Schandorf, 2008). Some of them later transition into sex workers (Herrick, 2020). However, this does not imply that all Kayayei working in southern Ghana come from the country's north (Opare, 2003). Approximately 90 percent of Ghana's migration, according to official estimates from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) (GSS, 2013), is domestic. Internal migrants make up more than 50 percent of Ghana's population, with about half of these individuals being women (Ackah & Medvedev, 2010; GSS, 2013: IOM, 2019). In contrast to other migration trends, independent female migration has gotten less study and policy attention despite its growth and the implications it has brought about (Adepoju, 2010). According to studies, young women will move internally more frequently if the causes of the kaya phenomenon are not addressed (IOM, 2014). Prior works indicate that only a very small part of the Kayayei come from other southern areas. The majority of the Kayayei are migrants from the northern regions of Ghana (FORWARD, 2018; Kwankye, Anarfi, Tagoe, & Castaldo, 2009).

Although there are just a few Kayayei in the other regional capitals, Accra and Kumasi have always been distinguished as the most popular travel destinations (Awumbila & Ardayfio-Schandorf, 2008; FORWARD, 2018; Kwankye et al., 2007).  Prior works on Kayaayie indicate a larger percentage dwell in Accra's Tema Station, Old Fadama, Konkomba, Makola, Mallam Atta, Madina, Alajo, and Kaneshie markets (Awumbila & Ardayfio-Schandorf, 2008; Kwankye et al., 2007; MOWAC, 2007; Opare, 2003). Being the second-largest city in Ghana and the one closest to the north, Kumasi also has a significant Kayayei population, which is mostly concentrated in the suburbs of Kejetia, Aboabo, Angloga, Adum, Ash-town, Alla Bar, and Moshie Zongo (Kwankye et al., 2007). The fact that Accra and Kumasi are Ghana's two largest commercial centers explains why Kayayei will settle there. However, the choice of location depends not only on the likelihood of obtaining regular and well-paying employment but also on the location of one's social network. For most potential and new participants in the Kayayei trade, social networks are crucial for making decisions about migrating, choosing a location, gathering resources for the trip, finding lodging upon arrival, and finding employment (Ansong, 2022; Shamsu-Deen, 2015). Because of this, social networks play a critical role in facilitating the effective migration of girls.

3.3     Kayayie in the context of the Push-Pull Model

Every human being is reasonable and wishes to live in favorable circumstances. The most common motive or cause for individuals leaving their places of origin is to find a better life elsewhere. This paper is based on Everett Lee's Push-Pull Model (1966), which describes the factors that caused people to migrate between areas of origin and destination. In this paper, we rely on Everett Lee’s Push-Pull Model to explain how push factors such as inadequate family support, poverty and poor livelihood opportunities prevailing in the northern part of Ghana precipitate the migration of young women to the south. In Southern Ghana, pull factors such as available jobs diverse livelihood opportunities, and the hope of attaining a better livelihood also motivates migration to the south. These factors might be positive when the prevailing factors at the place of origin or destination are good, negative when the prevailing factors are bad, and neutral when they are neither bad nor good (Lee,1966).  The reasons tend to serve as the foundation for potential migrants' choice to relocate.  The factors leading to and governing the decisions of the girls to travel from their homes in the north to cities in the south to participate in Kaya can best be analyzed with Lee's Push-Pull Model (1966). Examples of the push factors Lee proposed in his model include the inability of families to adequately provide care and protection, a lack of economic opportunities, inadequate social services, inadequate government infrastructure development, and unpleasant living conditions at the site of origin in the northern parts (FORWARD; 2018). However, young people are drawn to the south by perceived better urban lifestyles, projected employment prospects (Kaya), social networks and social capital, access to basic services, remuneration, and the need to become wealthy rapidly to support their families back home (FORWARD; 2018).

3.4     Causes of Kayayie

The Kayayei phenomenon is explained by economic factors (FORWARD, 2018). Many girls migrate to generate money to start more lucrative ventures or acquire the things they need to get married (Ansong, 2022; Awumbila & Ardayfio-Schandorf, 2008: Pickbourn, 2011). Others leave their homes because of poverty (FORWARD, 2018; MOWAC, 2007) or because their parents cannot afford to pay for their education (MoGCSP, 2013; UNICEF, 2009).  Some of the females briefly work as head porters to raise money for their educational expenses (Anyidoho, 2009; Hashim, 2005). Due to the conflict that erupted in some areas of northern Ghana, several of the girls relocated to the south (MoGCSP, 2013).

The northern regions of the country have many impoverished homes that do not properly care for children (Agyei et al., 2016).  Some children relocate even if they are aware that conditions can be harsher in their new destinations in the south. They must relocate because their family cannot genuinely afford assistance, therefore they take all required risks in the hopes of being successful (MoGCSP, 2013). Young females moving from the north to the south in Ghana has been attributed in earlier studies on rural-urban migration among girls to young people's difficulty in finding employment and another source of livelihood after completing terminal points from school and their associated financial challenges (Anarfi et al., 2003; Asante, 2014; FORWARD, 2018). Migration is a benefit for them since they are idle and unemployed as well as the high demand for their services in the south.

Another trigger to the migration of these young women from the North to the South is that some of them experience poor treatment, abuse, and socio-cultural exploitation from their parents at home (Anyidoho, 2009; FORWARD; 2018; Hashim, 2005). The migration from the rural north to the urban south is therefore described by Opare (2003), and Buske (2014) as a flight from oppressive socio-cultural norms including early marriage. Additionally, FORWARD (2018) and Opare (2003) contend that working in the South represents a significant advancement in the preparations for marriage, especially for girls seeking to engage in lasting marital unions. Finally, peer influence is one of the reasons why some children move to urban areas. Some of the girls are inspired by the success narratives that some of the returnee girls share with their friends when they visit their homes. More girls from the villages move to the cities to take advantage of similar opportunities after witnessing their friends returning from the cities with personal belongings like clothing, kitchenware, mobile phones, and stories of opulent lifestyles in the cities (Anarfi et al., 2003; Berg, 2007; FORWARD; 2018).

3.5     Working environments, living conditions, and vulnerabilities

In the cities, the girls must find places to work and make a living. Since marketplaces are where their services are most needed, the majority of Kayayei work in these places which are commonly dotted around the cities (Agyei et al, 2016).  Kayayei's work often begins early in the morning when market vendors or buyers hire them to transport their goods from one area of the market to another (Awumbila & Schandorf, 2008).  The fact that the majority of Kayayei work 12 hours a day and must go from place to place seeking clientele to engage them makes their work challenging. These girls also reside in unsafe, unsanitary, and subpar conditions. They spend their nights in open areas of the streets, in front of closed shops, and wooden structures such as kiosks and unfinished buildings. The fortunate ones spend their night in the stores of their mistresses and masters (MoGCSP, 2014). Several Kayayei have also experienced sexual assault and harassment (MOWAC, 2007). The nature of their employment is not only harmful to their health but further exerts a frequent adverse effect on their welfare and income, rendering them incapable of accessing formal healthcare (Owusu & Yeboah, 2018; Shamsu-Deen, 2015).   The bulk of the girls are mothers, but because of their despondent living situations, they are unable to provide for and properly care for their children (Badasu, 2004; MOWAC, 2007). According to Badasu (2004), getting the children immunized, deciding when the child is ready to be weaned, selecting a suitable weaning meal, and knowing the ideal time for the child to take prepared food are all parts of providing good childcare.  In addition, because many of the girls have moved from their families, they cannot prepare their meals and must buy from stalls in the market area (Badasu, 2004; MOWAC, 2007). Both the Kaya mothers and their children eat from the same source, giving a reflection on the poor health circumstances of the migrant girls and their children.

In addition, because of the nature of their surroundings and the atmosphere Kayayie live in, they are extremely vulnerable to both infectious and non-communicable illnesses (King & Amponsah, 2012; Shamsu-Deen, 2015). Baah-Ennumh, Amponsah, and Adoma (2012) noted that close to 50 percent of Kayayei who live in slums lack standard and spacious places of abode, water, and good sanitary amenities. Given that many of them lack access to National Health Insurance or are unable to afford over-the-counter medication because of their poor remuneration, they do not also seek appropriate healthcare when they are unwell (Shamsu-Deen, 2015). A few Kayayei visit the hospital when they become ill, with many of them purchasing their medications from the pharmacy or self-medicating (MOWAC, 2007; Owusu & Yeboah, 2018). Amid these challenges, studies over the years show that Kayayei continues to endure a high level of vulnerability in the form of verbal and physical abuse, and client exploitation (Agyei et al., 2016; Kwankye et al., 2009; MOWAC, 2007; Shamsu-Deen, 2015).

4           The Government’s Response to Kayayie

Although the government of Ghana plays a crucial role in putting in place safeguards to stop young people from migrating in large numbers from migrating in search of employment opportunities, the phenomenon of kaya prevails (Ansong, 2022). For example, the laws of Ghana provide for the protection of children from all types of economic exploitation, including kaya labor. Article 28 of the 1992 Republican Constitution of Ghana guarantees protection for children against child labor (GOG, 1992). The Children's Act of 1998 (Act 560) further specifies penalties for violating the provision. Act 560 sets a minimum age of 15 years for employment and allows children as young as 13 to perform "light work," but forbids the employment of children under 18 years in "dangerous labor." According to the Act, labor shall not obstruct a child's education, well-being, or development. To guarantee that Article 32 (2) of the CRC is effectively enforced, the Act expressly specifies penalties (GOG, 1998).

The MoGCSP is currently the main government agency in charge of policy matters relating to women, children, and vulnerable populations including the elderly and people with disabilities. The MoGCSP's present organizational structure brings together most of the major government agencies with responsibilities for addressing child rights and protection situations. The Ministry’s departments with mandates on young people include the Department of Social Welfare (DSW), Department of Children (DOC), and Department of Gender (DOG). According to the Ministry's records, the Kayayei phenomenon has prompted several prior governmental responses, which date from the years 2002 when UNICEF Ghana funded an initiative named "Operation Bring Your Children Home" (MoGCSP, 2013).  The child porters were recruited from different areas of Accra, trained in dressmaking, hairstyling, and batik/tie-and-dye, and then sent back to their communities. The major goal was to engage girls in income-generating activities so they could stay in their communities rather than move to the south in search of work. This initiative fell short when the girls returned home approximately a year later to the same circumstances that had sparked their previous migrations. As their parents and other family members were unable to assist them, they were left with no other option except to return to the streets and carry on their prior engagements (MoGCSP, 2013).

The Ministry also carried out a registration exercise of children doing street labor in Accra, including Kayayei, to improve documentation on the children and make it simpler to identify, supervise, and support them in 2007 (MoGCSP, 2018). Following enrolment, the MOWAC once again provided the girls with skills development in dressmaking and hairstyling.  After completing the instruction, they were given sewing machines and hair dryers, and those who wished to return to school were sent back to the school in their neighborhoods (MoGCSP, 2013).  This strategy did not accomplish what it set out to do since the Ministry's follow-up investigations revealed that the females had returned to metropolitan areas like Accra, Kumasi, and Takoradi to become Kayayei once again.  They left since there were no jobs available for them to employ their abilities in their hometowns.  Additionally, the money they made as Kayayei was far higher than what they made from their new professions as dressmakers and hairdressers (MoGCSP, 2018).

Pro-poor measures have also been launched by the Government and its allies to give families financial stability and equip them to assume responsibilities as household heads. One such social program, called Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) is aimed at helping severely impoverished households that are unable to provide for their basic nutritional needs (MoGCSP, 2020). It was launched in 2008 with assistance from the World Bank, GOG, and Department for International Development (DFID). The LEAP initiative has been providing financial assistance to underprivileged households since its introduction. Numerous low-income households nationwide, not only in the northern regions, have seen greater parental responsibility and a reduction in financial stress due to these cash transfers.  The program has reduced children who would otherwise relocate in search of financing for education by 80 percent, increasing school enrollment, attendance, and retention (MoGCSP, 2020).

Another flagship program aimed at reducing financial burdens as well as alleviating household poverty is the National School Feeding Program, which allows millions of schoolchildren to be provided at least one hot, nourishing meal at school each day. Although the program has received some backlash in certain places in the country, it has been used as a motivator to persuade parents who oppose girl education to enroll their daughters in school so they may benefit from the advantages of school lunches (MoGCSP, 2020).

The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare (ACERWC) of the Child further raised concern about the surge in child labor, and commercial sex exploitation among child migrants, many of whom originate from the northern parts of the country. In response to the Committee’s recommendations, the GOG, in partnership with Civil Society organizations, has initiated comprehensive programs to rescue, rehabilitate, and reintegrate children who are involved in all forms of child labor in the country. As part of steps to address child labor, the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR) together with relevant partners implemented a National Plan of Action Phase II towards the elimination of the worst forms of child labor between 2017 and 2021 (MoGCSP, 2022). The goal of the plan was to reduce the worst forms of child labor to the barest minimum while laying strong social, policy, and institutional foundations for the elimination and prevention of all other forms of child labor in the longer term. The NPA II has so far promoted an integrated area-based approach towards the creation of child labor-free zones. The MELR also reinforced public awareness and strengthened advocacy against child labor and strengthened community empowerment and sustainable actions against child labor. The government has intensified awareness creation on child labor using some media personalities and influential members of society to create behavioral change and attitudes about the menace of child labor. The MELR is also reviewing the Ghana Child Labour Monitoring System (GCLMS) to ensure an effective system for surveillance, identification, referral, and record-keeping of child laborers.

The expansion of second-cycle education has been massive since the introduction of the Free Senior High School (FSHS) program, which has become a major flagship program that has seen an increase in the number of children with access to secondary education (MoGCSP, 2020). Enrolments in SHS grew from 804,974 in 2014/2015 to 1,155,841 in 2018/2019 representing a percentage increase of 30.4 (MoGCSP, 2020). The introduction of the FSHS program is commensurate with immense improvements in quality and an increase in the number of basic school infrastructure in the country.  The broad objective of the policy was to remove cost barriers through the absorption of fees, which would have compelled many households to allow their children to travel to the South to work (MoGCSP, 2020).

5           Discussion

Despite these initiatives, research indicates that teenage girls are moving independently into urban areas to work as market porters, which indicates that government policy solutions to stop the practice have failed (Awumbila & Ardayfio-Schandorf, 2008; Ansong, 2022). The government has not been entirely effective in the enforcement of laws and policies to keep children and young people from migrating in search of jobs in the cities in the south. There has not been a consensus that the family and the government are jointly responsible for the Kayayei issue, which has led to incorrect perceptions of the kayayie phenomenon. In the Minister’s speech to Parliament, she reaffirmed that many Ghanaians believe the MoGCSP to be solely responsible (MoGCSP, 2014), even though the MoGCSP itself faces numerous financial difficulties, such as the tardy release of government funds, annual cuts to the Government budget, and small budgetary allocations. The Minister also underlined that a study of the Ministry's budget allocation shows that it has a limited budget, which is out of proportion to its purpose and anticipated outputs.  Particularly, the annual budgetary restraint now routinely has an impact on the Ministry's outputs and performance. The MoGCSP's ability to give funding and support initiatives aimed at enhancing the welfare of kayayei and other disadvantaged groups in the country is hindered by budgetary constraints (MoGCSP, 2014).

Additionally, official policy changes have not been maintained (MOWAC, 2008). New governments implement fresh policies while scrapping their predecessors'. For instance, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which took over the government after the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2002, did not continue the "Operation Bring Your Children Home" campaign. Although the subsequent administration did not want to terminate the project, it was unable to continue after the project support period expired due to financial constraints. Financial capacity analysis of government initiatives reveals that some of them are highly reliant on donor financing; as a result, when the cash from the donors runs out, the projects are either cut short or put on hold until new funding can be found (MoGCSP, 2022). The durability of initiatives that might have improved the well-being of migrant children is hampered by excessive reliance on donors and outside money (MoGCSP, 2022).

Third, the majority of Kayayei interventions have failed because they are frequently short-term, ad hoc solutions that only address Kayayei's current issues (MoGCSP, 2014). Although there have been some initiatives to reintegrate and relocate children back into their homes, the settlement packages have not been enough for the amenities and living circumstances there (MoGCSP, 2018). After residing in cities and enjoying urban life, the Kayayei grow urbanized and find it incredibly difficult to adjust to rural life when they are sent back home (MoGCSP, 2022; MOWAC, 2008). Some Kayayie encountered fierce opposition from family members who disapproved of the choice to send them home (MoGCSP, 2013). The unfavorable living circumstances function as further impediments to their decision to move back into metropolitan regions.

6           Conclusion

This paper has shown that notwithstanding some significant efforts, the Kayayie issue has not been effectively addressed. The factors that lead to the Kayayie phenomena at the origin (North) and destination (South) have not been addressed to either reduce the influx or enhance their welfare in the south, hence the national approach to it has failed. Most families in the northern regions of the country continue to experience extreme household poverty as the paper reports. The external family support system is breaking down as most families now concentrate on their children and making it difficult for poor children to get support from external family members. The prevalence of early and forced marriages, which also compels some girls to flee to the south, is because of families trying to make gains by marrying off their girls. These unfavorable conditions put a lot of strain on many families resulting in the exodus of girls to find a better life elsewhere.

The massive inequities in the infrastructure, the inability of successive governments to sustain ongoing projects, and inadequate financial resources to establish and maintain corrective programs have also been major factors in the government's abject failure to address Kayayie. The Push-Pull Model indicates that when the conditions that serve as push factors and pull factors prevail at the point of origin and destination, people will continue to migrate. In line with the Model, if the unfavorable circumstances that enable migration among young girls are not lessened, the Kayayie issue will continue to be a challenge for the country.

7           Recommendations

To strengthen the roles of the family and the government in resolving the Kayayie issue, the following suggestions have been made. By conducting a countrywide data collecting operation to get precise numbers on the number of Kayayei, the government through MoGCSP has to prioritize the issue of Kayayei shortly as this would provide a well-informed foundation for government choices. Since prior projects were usually carried out using inadequate estimates, such an effort will help improve budget estimates, project implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.

Ghana's present population is young, with a conical top of a small number of elderly people rising from a broad base of many young people. With this population composition, Ghana may or may not experience the demographic dividend, depending on the sort of policy decisions made by the government. The government should make reduced fertility and child death a top priority by funding child survival and health programs, especially considering the conditions of the Kayayie children as described in this paper.

As indicated previously in the discussion, many of the Kayayie are parents. If the right decisions are not taken to improve their lives and decrease the likelihood that they will have more children, the cycle may very well continue. Promoting family planning, boosting girls' education to delay marriage, and providing for their reproductive health needs are some of the proposed courses of action. To prepare females for businesses that provide jobs, the government can also think about building vocational training centers near the migrant workers' place of origin. The centers must provide services including childcare, health care, family planning, dietary counseling, and reading and numeracy skills. Once more, measures should be taken to create small-scale manufacturing enterprises that create goods like clothing, handicrafts, home goods, and some food products. To encourage these industries to remain in their communities, a ready market package must also be sought.

Since the family is primarily responsible for providing for the needs of its children, there is a need to enhance family life education on the necessity of being more responsible for the upkeep of children in the sending communities as well as other migration-prone communities. Although the government has enacted two significant family-related policies, the Child and Family Welfare Policy and the Justice for Children Policy, as well as a National Migration Policy, the processes for making their contents public and putting them into practice, have been slow. Therefore, the government needs to give the Ministry of The Interior and the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection the necessary assistance to hasten the formation of public awareness and the implementation of the projects in the implementation plans of these three policies. Pursuing this will significantly strengthen the effort to alleviate Kayayie's predicament and foster an atmosphere that is more favorable for addressing and reducing the problem.


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Author´s Address:
Sylvester Kyei-Gyamfi
Director, Research Statistics, and Information Management (RSIM), Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection,
Ghana, Accra

Author´s Address:
Theophilus Kwabena Abutima
Lecturer, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
University for Development Studies, Nyankpala Campus.

Author´s Address:
Bernard Akyeampong Amoh
Centre for Migration Studies, University of Ghana
University of Reading, United Kingdom