GREATER ACCRA REGION – In line with its mandate to alleviate poverty and empower the vulnerable in society, the Coastal Development Authority (CODA) has rolled out a policy to improve the lives of head porters, popularly known as ‘kayayei’. This was revealed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Authority, Lawyer Jerry Ahmed Shaib on Sunday 4th October, 2020 when about two thousand “kayayei” participated in a free health screening, NHIS registration and skills development forum. The mammoth event was attended by “kayayei” from Tema Station, CMB, Agbogbloshie, Tudu, Makola; representatives of youth development groups, NGOs and government officials including CEO of Bulk Oil Storage and Distribution (BOST, Mr. Edwin Provencal and the Deputy Director General of the National Information technology Agency (NITA).
In his address to participants, the CEO revealed that CODA has an objective to support and guide kayayei holistically to enable them transit to more viable and sustainable livelihoods. According to him, President Nana Akuffo-Addo has “directed the Authority to intervene in the plight of kayayei and empower them to improve their lives through skills training and formal education”.
A Deputy CEO of CODA, Mr. Kingsley Kofi Karikari-Bondzie, reaffirmed the commitment of CODA to give necessary attention to vulnerable groups to lift them out of poverty and place them on a path of wealth creation.
*PORTERS EMPOWERMENT POLICY*
It is human development policy to protect and empower kayayei and their children which provides a career development framework that acts as a transition platform for kayayei girls to improve their personal development, and progress from being kayayei to attain more and better social and economic benefits. Kayayei and their children suffer due to their vulnerabilities, usually resulting in:
A. Loss of educational opportunities by kayayei and their children
B. Loss of/risk of losing parental care for kayayei girls and their children who are made vulnerable
C. Lack of access to quality healthcare for kayayei girls and their children
D. Physical abuse suffered by kayayei and their children
E. Psychological/emotional abuse
F. Sexual abuse i.e. rape, defilement and others
G. Child, early and forced marriages
H. Poor community social standards based on their residence
CODA will collaborate with public, private, non-profit sector and communities to ensure that kayayei and their children do not suffer abuse and deprivation. Also, based on needs assessment and the peculiar circumstances of each kayayo household, CODA may provide support to make provision for food, clothing, shelter, medical expenses, education etc. CODA and partners will provide coaching for kayayei to educate and guide them on personal, career, family and community development issues.
*Kayayo Career Pathways*
CODA will support kayayei to undergo basic vocational skills such as beadmaking, dressmaking, hairdressing, soapmaking etc. Kayayei will also be encouraged and supported to undertake alternative trades with greater economic and social benefits. CODA will provide financial and business management support to individual and groups of kayayei to engage in alternative trades while they pursue formal education.
Under the policy, kayayei girls who have the requisite qualification or requirements may be guided to apply for positions in the private and public sector including government-funded youth employment schemes such as YEA, NEIP, NABCO, Planting for Food and Jobs etc.
CODA will also institute a multi-stakeholder effort that will work towards the enforcement of child rights, particularly the rights of kayayei and their children. It will outline the system and structures as that will guide local efforts in child protection. Activities may include outreach, intervention in case of abuse, family/institutional based care, etc.