Internal Migration, Vulnerability and Female Porters in Accra, Ghana

Mariama Awumbila, University of Ghana

In recent times, a dominant migration stream from north to south in Ghana has been that of female adolescents, moving independent of family, largely towards the cities of Accra and Kumasi. Young girls from rural areas, particularly the northern regions move to markets in urban centers to serve as kayayei, girl porters who carry goods on their heads for a negotiated fee. Away from support from their home communities and families, most end up living and working under very poor conditions and are exposed to both physical and reproductive health risks. The paper examines the characteristics of kayayei in three markets in Accra and the impact of migration on their vulnerability. It discusses the survival strategies used to overcome poverty and to deal with issues of risk and vulnerability especially in respect of their reproductive and health rights. The implications for migration policies and poverty reduction strategies are discussed.

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Presented in Poster Session 4