The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) says it is having plans to build creches at market centres to enable market women to educate their children and still have time to go about their economic activities.
In Ghana, most market women prefer carrying their children to their places of work in the market rather than sending them to school due to long distances from the schools to the markets and other inconveniences.
Addressing market women in Accra at a policy dialogue on the inclusiveness of market women in national development through partnership, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisah Djaba said there is no excuse for any Ghanaian child to be denied education.
She said the Ministry has the mandate to protect the rights of children and also secure a better future for them.
Ms. Otiko Djaba also advised traders who have no formal education to educate themselves including the head porters (kayayei) in order to help serve their customers well and contribute to national development.
"If you are a 'kayayo' [head porter] and you dropped out of school, there is free SHS and, therefore, you can go back to school. Market women can also go to evening schools to learn skills and to also know about the policies of the Ministry to empower themselves," she added.
She also disclosed that 1,000 'kayayei' [head poters] would be given skills training by the Ministry in various forms to become self-reliant.
"'Kaya' is not a job. We are working with KNUST to develop shopping trolleys for shoppers to use. If they want to use it, then they will have to pay someone to push it for them. We must end 'Kaya' so that those who are involved will leave the streets," she added.
The Gender Minister advised the market women to come together or form unions to invest in processing factories to prevent excess foodstuffs from going waste.
The Market women conference which brought together various trade unions, including the Queen mothers association, UNIWA, Informal Hawkers and Vendors Association of Ghana (IHVAG), 'Kayayei' Association and the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), was organized by WIEGO in collaboration with National Market Women’s Conference with support from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.
Participants at the conference deliberated on challenges confronting their businesses and suggested ways of tackling them.
President of the Greater Accra Market Association, Ms Mercy Naa Afrowa Needjan, on her part called on the government to build modern markets for traders in Accra.
According to her, shopping malls were increasing in the country and, therefore, the need for market women to compete with shopping malls in running their businesses in modern structures.
Ms Mercy Needjan said tourists who came to buy African products preferred local markets. However, conditions at the local market centres were unfavourable for them, compelling them to turn to the shopping malls for their stuff.