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Bawumia launches ‘kayeyei’ empowerment programme with hostels, training facilities

An initiative dedicated to empowering a total of 5000 female head porters, offering transitional job pathways and enhancing their socio-economic status has been launched in Accra.

Known as the ‘kayayei’ (female head porters) Empowerment Programme, it has an overarching goal to empower kayayei across the country through the transformative power of Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

It was launched in Accra on Tuesday, May 21, 2024.

The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia who launched the programme and also inaugurated two newly built hostels at Madina in the La Nkwantanang Municipality and another in the Ashaiman Municipality of the Greater Accra Region to house the participants said the programme had been meticulously conceived and crafted to provide holistic and sustainable economic empowerment to these “resilient” young women.

Recruitment

He said the multi-faceted programme was characterised by a rigorous and exhaustive recruitment process, culminating in the selection of initial training cohorts comprising 5,000 head porters.

According to the Vice-President, the beneficiaries would in the span of three weeks be immersed in a transformative learning experience, encompassing essential modules such as baking and beading which was supplemented by soft skills training in personal health care, financial management and entrepreneurial acumen.

He announced that aside from the two hostels established in Madina and Ashaiman, others are under construction and would be established in Ashanti and Bono East regions.

Dr Bawumia said each of the hostels had been meticulously designed to accommodate and cater to the needs of 300 girls.

“The hostels are equipped with modern training facilities, sanitary washrooms, and bathing areas, these hostels exemplify our unwavering commitment to safeguarding the dignity and well-being of all participants,” he added.

Collaboration

The entire programme was made possible through the collaborative efforts and strategic partnerships forged between government agencies, private enterprises, and esteemed civil society organisations such as; the Ghana Enterprises Agency  (GEA), National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP), Youth Employment Agency (YEA), Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET), Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), the Father Campbell Foundation, BEST, and the Ghana National Gas Company and the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport (BOST).

Describing the programme as a cause close to his heart because it addresses the plight of a marginalised segment of the society, Dr Bawumia who is also the flag bearer of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) said, “this noble endeavour resonates profoundly with the core values of our mission, as it squarely addresses the pressing needs of a marginalised segment of our society that has long been relegated to the shadows of neglect and indifference.”

He said there are over 100,000 head porters in the country who endured unimaginable hardships such as lack of shelter, inadequate medical care and harassment in urban centres on a daily basis.

From the harsh realities of homelessness to the glaring deficiencies in access to adequate health care and the pervasive scourge of urban harassment, Dr Bawumia said, the plight of the kayayei stood as a stark testament to the moral imperative of urgent intervention to uplift and transform their lives.

More crucial, he said, would be the provision of post-training support and implementation of a track and trace model which would serve as the linchpin of the program’s efficacy, with participants receiving starter packs tailored to facilitate their seamless integration into new economic opportunities and further ensure that beneficiaries did not return to being head porters.

He said that unwavering commitment to ongoing support was buttressed by a robust framework of continuous monitoring and evaluation, ensuring dynamic programme enhancement and personalised assistance for further education and entrepreneurial endeavours.

Drivers

“In addition to the strides already made, I’m thrilled to announce that discussions are ongoing with Metro Mass and Ayalolo to teach them driving. Furthermore, we are in talks to provide them with Information Communication and Technology (ICT ) training,” Dr Bawumia announced saying these partnerships would further expand the horizons of the Kayayie Empowerment Programme, offering even more avenues for skills development and economic empowerment.

He, therefore, urged all stakeholders to collectively pledge their unwavering commitment and solidarity as they embarked on such a transformative journey to ensure the resounding success of the Kayayie Empowerment Programme.

The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Titus Nii Kwartei Glover, said the projects were a testament to the commitment of the government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia.

He said the facilities were a significant milestone in the effort of the government to provide safe and dignified housing and skills training for kayayei who had come into the cities in search of better economic opportunities.

“These facilities will provide them with a safe and secured place to live while acquiring the requisite Vocational skills for life-long productive ventures,” Mr Glover stressed.

He further charged the la Nkwantanang Madina and the  Ashaiman Municipal Assemblies respectively to manage and maintain the facilities and ensure it continued to serve the purpose.

The Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), Naa Torshie Addo, indicated that while there were myriad challenges and needs, there was no doubt that the plight of Kayayei was some of the registered plight over the decade and no one did anything about it.

In total, she said, “We are going to build about eight of these resources in Accra, six in Ashanti Region and two in Bono, Techiman which is going to be the first and second phases.

Challenges

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), Kofi Baah Agyapong, for his part highlighted some of the challenges of female head porters such as lack of shelter, maltreatment, harassment, depression, poor medical care and inadequate child support system.

He said the launch of the programme and inauguration of the two hostels marked a huge step forward to change that narrative.

To that end, he said, the kayayei programme was a comprehensive response of the YEA and for that matter government to the urgent needs of the female head porters.

The YEA CEO said the Kayayei Empowerment Programme, would provide decent accommodation and equip the women with vital skills enabling them to secure dignified jobs and support their families.

He said participants would be given GHC1000 each by YEA upon completion of the training.

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