Thanks to the efforts of the Ghana Project Coordinator Dorcas Ansah, and the commitment of our partners, the Institute for Local Government Studies (ILGS), the StreetNet Ghana Alliance and the Indigenous Caterer's Association of Ghana, the OHS Project has moved from strength to strength in this country.

Informal Workers Win Concessions at Multi Stakeholder Workshop

In December 2011, a successful Multi Stakeholder Workshop (MSW) was held in Accra, facilitated by the Institute for Local Government Studies (ILGS). The MSW was designed as a forum for even-handed negotiation and discussion between informal worker associations and government institutions around health and safety issues.

Representatives from the StreetNet Ghana Alliance and the Indigenous Caterers Association attended. From government there were representatives from the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA – in some countries this would be called the city or municipal council and officials), the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), and the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI). Negotiations focused on the provision of fire extinguishers in publicly owned markets, improving waste management, and on the clearing of clogged drains in and around market areas. With their newly acquired negotiations skills, developed through a capacity-building process, the workers gained some important concessions from government:

  • A commitment to fit fire extinguishers in public markets was made. Market fires are common in Ghana, and can cause severe and lasting damage to the livelihoods of traders. Earlier this year one of Ghana’s national television stations, TV3, ran a news item on the challenge of fires in Accra’s Makola Market.
  • A promise was made to clear a large, clogged drain that has plagued textiles traders in Makola Market. The drain is a source of terrible smells, and is also a breeding ground for many diseases, including malaria.
  • The AMA asked for a monitoring committee to be formed among the trader associations to report on theeffectiveness of private waste management companies contracted by the AMA. This will assist the AMA in ensuring the companies perform their duties. Traders had complained that these companies do not clean the market effectively, and some said employees even dump rubbish near trading sites and then demand extra money to take it away.

Worker organizations are monitoring the situation to ensure these commitments from the AMA happen.  

Madame Emma Boateng of the Kantamanto Banana Sellers Association addresses the MSW in Accra.

Kayayei win commitments at Health Policy Dialogue

A Health Policy Dialogues held in Accra, Ghana in July 2012 helped more than 1,500 informal workers gain access to health care services through the Ghanaian National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Most of those who benefitted were headload porters known as Kayayei. Read more.

Informal Workers Take the Airwaves in Ghana

In 2011 an external evaluation of the capacity-building part of the OHS project in Ghana was done by Erika Osae, an independent consultant. Erika recommended that the project engage more with the media around the topic of OHS and informal workers. Dorcas Ansah quickly followed up and arranged for representatives from the StreetNet Ghana Alliance and the Indigenous Caterers Association to appear on a popular women’s programme called Mmaa Nkomo, which airs on Ghana Television (GTV). Representatives of the AMA were also invited to attend along with the workers, but refused this invitation.

Over 400 informal workers attended the event on the 4 December 2011. It was an opportunity for the workers to air their grievances about the health and safety situation in and around markets in Accra. They congratulated the AMA on some of the efforts that have been made to improve health and safety, but called on them to enter into further dialogue with the worker associations in order to ensure that this progress could continue. Afterward, another national television station, TV3, has expressed an interest in showing a weekly half hour programme focused on the work and working conditions of urban traders. 

Related publications


Alfers, Laura and Ruth Abban
Occupational Health & Safety for Indigenous Caterers in Accra, Ghana. 2011. WIEGO.

(also available in French, Spanish and Portuguese)