Internal migration of girls in Ghana, a consequence of enclosures.


The issue of girl child migration from the North to South of Ghana has gain publicity lately. Kayayei is a term for girls who work in the streets and markets in the cities of Accra, Kumasi and other towns by carrying heavy loads of shopping on their heads from one place to another. These are predominantly migrants from the North to South in search of greener pastures. Girls age as young as 8 to 24 years, sometimes with permission of parents, live and work in the streets and markets in order to feed themselves and send money home for the rest of the family. These girls are vulnerable and expose to physical and and financial abuse, as well as sexual exploitation, including rape. They are at risk of contracting infectious diseases from living in slums without sanitation, sexually transmitted diseases and the deadly HIV/AIDS. Teenage pregnancies are on the increase in these area, and babies live and grow in the streets. The job does not provide regular income, leaving them without food or medical care assistance if they fall ill. Some get rejected by their families if they return home with babies or without income.

All these difficulties are a result of extreme poverty in Northern Ghana, the root of which is several years of enclosures. Ghana is endowed with natural resources such as gold, diamond, minerals, vast of rain forest, and recent the discovery of oil. These have been enclosed from the period of colonialism under British rule where income from these resources was not used for the improvement of live of the people. The north is particularly deprived because it lack most of these rich resources. Most people are peasant farmers without formal education. Most so called development infrastructure was concentrated in the south and continued after independence in 1957. Structural Adjustment Program imposed on Ghana by the World Bank in the 1980s also exacerbated the plight of the northern poor because the few health and educational facilities became inaccessible due to payment of user fees. Environmental degradation from deforestation, climate change has resulted in decreased rainfall from 8 months a year to 2months, often erratic and unreliable for farmers. For these reasons, people source of livelihood is no longer sustainable.

  The question is, how will Ghana develop and meet its MDGs when the youth who will be future leaders are uneducated. How will gender equality ever materialise when young girls are in the streets and getting infected with HIV. Some child right groups are calling on government to treat the problem as a child right problem by enforcing the basic education rules.

The dilemma is that how can parent be compelled to enrol and keep children in school if they can not feed them. A proactive program is required by government and NGOs to provide people with a source of livelihood so they can look after their child. Family Planning programs must also be intensified to curb the ever increasing population.



4 Responses to “Internal migration of girls in Ghana, a consequence of enclosures.”

  1. nmpira Says:

    I do share the same views about educating our children as it is one way we will be on equal status with the rest of the world. Poverty in Africa and other developing countries is shocking and you are right it has made our children unworth. Their rights have been ripped off them so they have to work to earn a living instead of enjoying the benefit of learning.

  2. u1059279 Says:

    I do feel your concern on this issues of the girl child.Why is it common in Africa?Where is the development Ghana’s preaching? The government need to focus on how to rehabilitate and integrate these girls into society.What is Africa turning into,parent running away from their responsibilities.

  3. u0953238 Says:

    Ghana is not alone on this thorny issue.

  4. u0950028 Says:

    Many Africans in any case become integrated into the societies where they work . A Ghanian engineer in the the US,says: ” I have an American wife who has her academic career, and eight year old son at school. In theory, we are morally obliged to return to Africa. In reality, an African professional will not resign from his $50,000 a year job to accept $500 a year job in Africa”. The African Union has tried to rise above barriers between the diaspora and those who stay at home.

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