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Free housing, free training, free money for ‘kayayei’ …as Bawumia kick start empowerment programme

The Kayayei Empowerment Programme launched by Vice President Mahamadu Bawumia in Accra yesterday May 21, would enable some 5000 head porters, commonly referred to as ‘kakayei’ enroll for free on a practical hands-on employable skills training programme between now and end of year.

During the programme they are to receive an amount of GHC1000 per head per month as a form of livelihood support because they would not be on the streets to make a living from carrying loads all through the training session.

In addition to the free training and free cash incentives, some of the trainees would be accommodated for free at the newly unveiled hostels unveiled by Dr. Bawumia under the Kayayei Empowerment Programme.

The initiative was made possible through the collaborative efforts and strategic partnerships forged between government agencies including the  Youth Employment Agency (YEA), the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF),  the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) among others.

“This noble endeavour resonates profoundly with the core values of our  mission, as it squarely addresses the pressing needs of a marginalized segment of our society that has long been relegated to the shadows of neglect and indifference…

“Crucially, the provision of post-training support and implementation of a track and trace model, serves 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 do not return to being head porters”, Dr. Bawumia noted in his address at the unveiling ceremony.

He said “this unwavering commitment to ongoing support is buttressed by a robust framework of continuous monitoring and evaluation, ensuring dynamic program enhancement and personalized assistance for further education and entrepreneurial endeavors.”

Dr. Bawumia lauded  Madam Irene Naa Torshie Addo, the Administrator of the DACF for the support she as a person and her office have given to make the initiative a success.

The Vice President revealed that after the CIVOD-19 lockdown, he appealed  to Irene Naa Torshie for support to make the Kayayei Empowerment Programme a success and her contribution is what has resulted in the success story.

Naa Torshie

Irene Naa Torshie Addo, in a speech during the commissioning ceremony stressed the profound struggles faced by kayayeis and praised Dr. Bawumia for his visionary leadership, compassion and the significant stride towards empowering the most vulnerable women in Ghana.

“For too long, the story of our kayayeis has been one of struggle, resilience, courage, and determination.”

“The streets of our cities, which they expected to serve as promising avenues of opportunity, have become harsh realities, denying them the dignity and security they deserve,” she said.

Naa Torshie Addo recounted the journey that led to the establishment of the Kayayeis Empowerment Programme.

“Moved by their plight, Dr. Bawumia promised to change their situation for good. He initiated actions to roll out a comprehensive initiative aimed at providing kayayeis with essential vocational skills.”

The programme, funded by the District Assemblies Common Fund, will offer training in various trades, including catering, soap making, tie and dye, hairdressing, and kente weaving.

Naa Torshie emphasized the potential of these skills to break the cycle of poverty and foster entrepreneurship and financial stability among kayayeis.Central to the programme is the provision of decent shelter.

Kofi Agyapong

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Youth Employment Agency (YEA), Kofi Adjei Agyepong said head potters (Kayayes) across the country are faced with numerous problems including lack of shelter, harassment, depression, lack of good quality medical care, inadequate source of income hence the initiative designed to empower and provide solutions for them and provide descent accommodation and job training skills.

According to him, through the Kayayei Empowerment Programme, government through the YEA will provide decent accommodation and equip these women with vital skills, enabling them to secure dignified jobs and support their families.

“Our programme adopts a rigorous recruitment process, offering training in crucial skills such as baking, beading, soap making, and more. Additionally, we cover essential soft skills like personal health care and financial literacy to ensure holistic development.”

“The initial training phase aims to empower 5,000 head porters, starting with batches of 600 at our dedicated residential facilities in Madina and Ashaiman. Participants will receive stipends during their training to offset any loss of income from their usual trade, ensuring they can fully commit to their new journey without financial strain. The Youth Employment Agency (YEA) will be committed to the payment of these monthly stipends of GHS 1,000 per month for every Kayeyei trainee. Trust YEA, that as at today, 21st of May, 2024, we do not owe any of our beneficiaries and each of them has been duly and fully paid and are regularly paid.

Also, upon successful completion of the training, participants will receive starter packs, enabling them to venture into new economic opportunities.

He said their commitment does not end there as they would continuously monitor and evaluate the programme, providing ongoing support as these women explore further educational and business opportunities.

Government’s resolve to empower young people through skills training has been phenomenal. Sincerely, for we at YEA, we find skills training as the best antidote to the never-ending unemployment challenges we find ourselves as a country.

Kofi Agyepong also mentioned that the Kayayes will be registered and undergo training in entrepreneurial skills towards skilled jobs and employment whilst they grasp the opportunities for life changing skills.

According to him, the training comes along with some incentives as the registered trainees will be given a monthly allowance of GHC500.00 and after the program, receive starter packs, and product specifications to guide them set up businesses on their own.


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