Journal of Social Development in Africa

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Kayayei: the women head porters of southern Ghana

James Adu Opare


For over a decade now, southern Ghana has witnessed a growing influx of young women and teenage girls whose sole business is to engage in the head porterage of goods. This paper offers information on who these women and girls are, why they migrate from their places of origin, why they engage in that business and the plans they have for the future. A non-random sample of 700 subjects were selected for the study. Unstructured interviews and personal observation were used as the tools for data collection. It was found that most of the woman porters hail from the savanna zones of northern Ghana and adjoining areas of Burkina Faso and Togo. They move down south to work and save money for various forms of investment. The paper attributes the push factor, poverty, to the interplay of natural phenomena and human agency. Suggestions for policy measures are offered.

African Journal of Social Work Vol.18(2) 2003: 33-49
AJOL African Journals Online