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Bawumia Launches Kayayei Empowerment Programme, Says Head Porters to be Trained in Driving, ICT Skills

The Kayayei Empowerment Programme which was launched at the Madina Social Center aims to upskill young women by providing transitional job avenues.

Vice President and New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, says about 5000 head porters (popularly called “kayayei”) would be given ICT and driving training under a new programme he launched today.

The Kayayei Empowerment Programme which was launched at the Madina Social Center aims to upskill young women by providing transitional job avenues, although the launch of the programme six months before the general election makes it seem like a political campaign strategy.

“This multifaceted programme culminating in the selection of an initial cohort of 5,000 head porters, over the past three weeks, participants will be immersed in transformative learning experiences such as baking and beading, supplemented by invaluable soft skills training in personal healthcare, financial management, and entrepreneurial acumen,” Mr. Bawumia said, adding that the programme will ultimately get young girls off the head porters trade.

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He further said there are discussions with the Metro Mass and Ayalolo state transport institutions to teach those selected driving skills.

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“Furthermore we are in talks to provide them also with ICT training. These partnerships will further expand horizons of the Kayayei Empowerment Programme offering more avenues for skills development and economic empowerment,” he said.

In Ghana, socio-economic conditions force teenage girls and sometimes young women from the rural north to travel down south to market centers, to make income by carrying goods in aluminum pans on their heads – a trade called kayayei.

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Over the years, several studies and reports have documented the challenges that these women head porters face, even as they contribute to Ghana’s informal sector, and sometimes through levies that were scrapped some years back.

According to a 2022 national kayayei dialogue organised by the foundation owned by former Gender Minister, Otiko Djaba, there are about 100,000 kayayei in Ghana and Accra holds about 70% of that population. However, interventions to address challenges of accommodation, skills training, and security for these women are usually not state-led.

Before the 2016 election, Dr. Bawumia and President Nana Akufo-Addo promised to build seven accommodation centers for the kayayei. They did fulfil that promise in 2024, but it’s only in two areas of the Greater Accra Region (Madina and Ashaiman). Dr. Bawumia now says the hotels will also serve as training centers under his Kayayei Empowerment Programme.


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