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Department of Anthropology

Academic Staff

Publication details for Professor Gina Porter

Porter, G., Hampshire, K., Abane, A., Tanle, A., Esia-Donkoh, K., Amoako S., Agblorti, R. & Owusu, S. (2011). Mobility, education and livelihood trajectories for young people in rural Ghana: a gender perspective. Children's Geographies 9(3-4): 395-410.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

This paper examines the gendered implications of Africa's transport gap (the lack of cheap, regular and reliable transport) for young people in rural Ghana, with particular reference to the linkages between restricted mobility, household work demands, access to education and livelihood potential. Our aim is to show how mobility constraints, especially as these interact with household labour demands, restrict young people's access to education and livelihood opportunities. Firstly, the paper considers the implications of the direct constraints on young people's mobility potential as they travel to school. Then it examines young people's (mostly unpaid) labour contributions, which are commonly crucial to family household production and reproduction, including those associated with the transport gap. This has especially important implications for girls, on whom the principal onus lies to help adult women carry the heavy burden of water, firewood, and agricultural products required for household use. Such work can impact significantly on their educational attendance and performance in school and thus has potential knock-on impacts for livelihoods. Distance from school, when coupled with a heavy workload at home will affect attendance, punctuality and performance at school: it may ultimately represent the tipping point resulting in a decision to withdraw from formal education. Moreover, the heavy burden of work and restricted mobility contributes to young people's negative attitudes to agriculture and rural life and encourages urban migration. Drawing on research from rural case study sites in two regions of Ghana, we discuss ethnographic material from recent interviews with children and young people, their parents, teachers and other key informants, supported by information from an associated survey with children ca. 9–18 years.