16th July 2024

The New Kayayei Hostel

Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia yesterday commissioned a hostel facility for head porters, popularly known as ‘kayayei,’ in Accra, fulfilling a campaign promise made by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) ahead of the 2016 general elections.

The hostel facility, which will accommodate about 300 beneficiaries, also includes training centers designed to train 5,000 girls this year, provide them with post-training support, and give them starter packs to facilitate their seamless integration into new economic opportunities. This initiative is part of the government’s Kayayei Empowerment Programme, dedicated to empowering head porters, offering transitional job pathways, and enhancing their socio-economic status.

Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia commissions the hostel facility

Speaking at the launch, Dr. Bawumia noted that this endeavor resonates with the core values of the government’s political mission as it addresses the pressing needs of a marginalized segment of society that has long been neglected. He emphasized that the programme is a cause close to his heart since statistics reveal that over 100,000 head porters in Ghana endure unimaginable hardships such as lack of shelter, inadequate medical care, and harassment in urban centers daily.

He highlighted the harsh realities of homelessness, inadequate medical care, and pervasive urban harassment faced by kayayeis, underscoring the moral imperative for urgent intervention to uplift and transform their lives. He called on Ghanaians to collectively pledge their commitment and solidarity to ensure the success of the Empowerment Programme.

Empowerment Programme

The Kayayei Empowerment Programme is a collaborative effort and strategic partnership between government agencies, private enterprises, and civil society organizations, conceived and crafted to provide holistic and sustainable economic empowerment to head porters. The programme involves the recruitment of an initial 5,000 head porters, who, over three weeks, will be immersed in a transformative learning experience. This includes essential modules such as baking and beading, supplemented by invaluable soft skills training in personal health care, financial management, and entrepreneurial acumen.

Additionally, the partners will provide post-training support and implement a track and trace model, serving as the linchpin of the programme’s efficacy. Participants will receive starter packs tailored to facilitate their integration into new economic opportunities, ensuring that beneficiaries do not return to being head porters.

According to the Vice-President, two hostels have been designed to accommodate and cater to the needs of 300 girls. Additional hostels are currently under construction in the Ashanti and Bono East regions. These hostels are equipped with modern training facilities, sanitary washrooms, and bathing areas, exemplifying the government’s commitment to safeguarding the dignity and well-being of all participants.

The goal is to empower kayayei across Ghana through the transformative power of technical and vocational education and training (TVET).

Dr. Bawumia also announced that discussions are ongoing with Metro Mass Transit and Ayalolo to teach the young ladies how to drive, while the government is in talks with the Accra Digital Centre to provide ICT training to expand the horizons of the Empowerment Programme.

Manifesto promise

The Kayayei Empowerment Programme and the building of the hostels fulfill the NPP’s manifesto promise in 2016. On page 129 of its 2016 manifesto, the NPP promised to reduce the kayayei phenomenon by providing alternate life skills training and seed capital, as well as partnering with the private sector, NGOs, and charities to provide temporary hostel facilities for them.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, speaking at the manifesto launch, stated that as he traveled the country over the years, he saw the pain and sacrifices made by the kayayei, who have no opportunities or shelter and are forced to sleep on the streets of our cities. He noted, “It is for these people that I am running for President—for ordinary Ghanaians who have been betrayed by a government that does not care. It is to them that my Government will be dedicated.”

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