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Address gaps in migration policies — Study

By: Ama Amankwah Baafi
Participants in the knowledge-sharing workshop in Accra

A study on migration and social transformation in Northern Ghana has revealed gaps in the implementation of migration policies in the country.

The study also found that some institutions charged with the responsibility of preventing negative forms of migration and their effects had not been up to the task in performing their duties as expected.

Consequently, migration was driven mainly by social networks, climate change — erratic rainfall and low soil fertility, among others — and teenage pregnancy which forces them to drop out of school to look for jobs.

The study conducted by a team of researchers on Resilience Against Climate Change: Social Transformation Research and Policy Advocacy in Northern Ghana (REACH-STR) project, was conducted in four areas, namely Wa West District, Lawra and Jirapa municipalities and the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba District.

The findings of the study were presented at a knowledge-sharing workshop on ‘Policies on Migration, Climate Change and Changes in Gender Roles in Northern Ghana’ under the REACH-STR.

At a one-day participatory and knowledge-sharing workshop as part of the REACH-STRA Research, a scientist at the Science, Technology and Policy Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-STEPRI), Dr Dickson Okoree Mireku, noted that there was a connection between migration and social transformation — structural change in the economic and social relations that surrounded individuals, households and communities.

He said since policies could not be implemented without institutions, there was the need to look at institutions put in place by government and given roles to support the implementation of policies on migration.

These include the Ghana National Commission on Migration, the ministries of Employment and Labour Relations, and Gender, Women and Social Protection.

                                               "The National Migration Policy, anchored on the Africa Union (AU), 2006, Strategic Framework for Migration and the ECOWAS Common Approach on Migration, 2008, represents a bold attempt to provide a comprehensive framework to manage migration for Ghana’s sustainable development. "

He noted that the National Migration Policy (NMP) was launched in 2016 with a focus to promote harmonious labour relations and workplace safety to monitor and evaluate policies and programmes for accelerated employment creation for national development.

However, he said, “when people come to the south, they are not getting employment. So, has the expectation of the NMP been met when people are stranded in the cities and when people have moved from the north to the south and are facing challenges?”

He added that migration had caused rural depopulation and was affecting labour in agriculture.

“Once there are gaps, the institutions are not playing their roles well and government must make them work through some kind of strict supervision so that migration, which is causing social transformation, can be controlled,” he said.

The workshop
The CSIR-STEPRI organised the one-day participatory and knowledge-sharing workshop as part of the REACH-STR, which is one of the three projects under the European Union Agricultural Programme, ‘Productive investment for agriculture in the savannah ecological zones of Ghana’.

It is a research collaboration between the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), University of Ghana-Centre for Migration Studies (CMS), the University of Development Studies (UDS) and the STEPRI of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

The objective of the workshop was to give participants, the opportunity to assess how policies implemented by government had addressed challenges related to migration changes in gender roles and climate that constantly perpetuate social transformation in northern Ghana.

The Researcher-Project Coordinator, REACH-STR, Dr Mrs Charity Osei-Amponsah, said the project was being conducted in the Upper West, Savannah and the North East regions.

She said the STR was necessary because it would produce some kind of analysis and tools which would help decision makers within the areas to understand better the issues transforming and how to address the challenges faced by the area in a better way.

“We hope to generate knowledge from the research and also some guidelines for doing STR. At the end, we hope that this knowledge will help social transformation conditions that promote sustainable and inclusive rural development and also the adoption of climate change adaptation and mitigation of practices,” she stated.

The Director of STEPRI, Dr Mrs Wilhemina Quaye, said science, technology and innovation (STI), was a cross-cutting issue and so, STEPRI was also focused on how to transform technology to generate income by the youth.

She said the institute conducted research into policy-related issues particularly to deal with STI and so had a lot of projects in terms of generating the policy evidence, including research on gender studies and sustainable agric intensification.