Coping strategies of independent child migrants from northern Ghana to southern cities

Type Working Paper - Issued by the Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty
Title Coping strategies of independent child migrants from northern Ghana to southern cities
Volume 23
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
Page numbers 1-27
Migration in Ghana, like migration anywhere else in the world, is in response to imbalances in development existing between origin and destination areas. It is also a strategy for survival. Migration within West Africa, and between the region and the rest of the continent goes back a long way (Arhin 1978). The trans-Saharan caravan routes are among the earliest evidence of major interaction between West and North Africa for trading and exchange of scholars (Boahen 1966). Migratory movements in Ghana have always been strongly determined by the distribution of economic opportunities. Literature on internal migration in Ghana has focused mainly on male adults from the northern regions who moved either alone or with their dependents to the middle and southern belts of the country to take advantage of opportunities in the mining and cocoa-growing areas of the south. These movements were initially more seasonal in nature. In contemporary times, however, these movements are all-year round, and have involved young children and particularly females who migrate independently from the northern parts of the country to cities and large urban centres in the south, notably Accra-Tema, Kumasi and Sekondi-Takoradi, to engage in various economic activities, including as kayayei or porters, carrying heavy loads on their heads (see also Riisøen, Hatløy and Bjerkan 2004). Indeed, there is a strong tradition in Ghana of children leaving on their own initiative to find work (ibid.)

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