Tackling the Kayaye Menace Through Girls Clubs

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The “Kayaye” is the name given a girl or a woman in Ghana who works in the market places of large a head potter carrying the loads of shoppers either in basins, baskets or buckets balanced on their heads for a fee (UNFPA,2011).

This issue is continuously increasing at an alarming rate among young girls of school going age; even though it is not a new phenomenon. Dating back to the colonial era and the early post-independence of Ghana, it was mainly a practice of elderly women and young men who saw it as their temporal livelihood activity in the face of unemployment (UNFPA, 2011).

Today, more than 7,787 Kayaye are in Accra and elsewhere ranging from the ages of 10-35 with majority of them coming from the northern part of Ghana and only a few from other parts.a72a03a3-e82a-4445-adf3-517569cf42f1

Available research conducted with a sample of 90 Kayayes in the Malata, Makola and Agbogbloshie markets revealed that, 38.9% were aged 20-24, 32.2% were aged 15-19 and 28.9 were aged 10-14 of which most  of them were from Tamale, Kumbungu, sandema, Navrongo, Walewale, Wanyima and So on. Meanwhile, only a few of them have had a full course in primary and secondary education. The average daily earnings of a kayaye are between 10 and 30 Ghana cedis (about 2-6 USD) (UNFPA, 2011).

CALID through its Girls Club intervention which promotes the welfare of young girls has been working to reduce/ alleviate this Kayaye phenomenon. CALID has been working to challenge barriers like the Kayaye that keep girls out of school through the formation of 32 Girls clubs in the Tamale Metro, Sawla Tuna Kalba and Sagnarigu districts in the Northern Region of Ghana. These Girls Clubs provide safe spaces for girls to discuss the issues that affect them. Creating spaces for girls to learn and form support networks can help them progress to higher levels of education and overcome the challenges they face in school, at home, and in their community.

Clubs meet once, sometimes twice a week for the girls to participate in fun and educational activities. They participate in learning activities such as debates, quizzes and drama competitions, games, sports, singing and dancing, and storytelling. Club matrons and patrons guide discussions on a number of important issues including girl-child education, child rights, early marriage, sex education, HIV/AIDs and STDs, reproductive health, sanitation, personal hygiene, respecting parents and elders, and career guidance, and so on.

By participating in these clubs, girls have been able to improve their academic performance, improve their confidence and desire to remain in school, learn about their sexual and reproductive health, and participate more in school activities.

CALID is also using this platform to discourage girls from embarking on the dangerous journey of the Kayaye. We have through the girls clubs invited returnees from Kayaye to give testimonies and share their experiences of the difficulties they had to encounter in their journey and work as Kayaye.

Also, through National Girls camps organized in Accra with funding support from ActionAid, Girls were sent to the Major Markets in Accra where these Kayayes operate in for girls to see the poor living conditions that they are in to serve as deterrent to those girls intending to embark on that journey. Girls also had an opportunity to share what they saw with other peers when they got back home.

Tackling this phenomenon requires adopting  a preventive approach thus sensitizing girls on its dangers and disadvantages. By so doing, girls realize the need to stay back in their communities and continue their schooling. This is what CALID is doing through these girls clubs. However, funding for these clubs to continue implementing activities and also expansion of the intervention to other districts has been a challenge recently. There is the need for more support from other organizations and individuals to keep this intervention running to help fight the Kayaye menace.

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