Migration is an important part of living in the Bongo District. It is a routine activity that occurs during specific times of the year. It is also used for many purposes in the district. Some people in the district see migration as an important coping strategy. They migrate to various destinations within and outside the country in order to find Jobs and earn incomes to meet various needs.
All categories of people including women and men, married and singles, youth and middle-aged migrate during the difficult times of the year in order to seek jobs that would earn them incomes. Women often migrate to the Northern Region during the harvest times in order to render services on farms in return for money and food payment such as corn, millet, guinea corn and ground nuts.
Women also, pick sheanuts which, is sold or processed in order to earn incomes to support their families. Men migrate to farming areas in the south such as Kintampo, Ejura, Atebubu, where they render services for cash payment and also obtain corn for their families. Some other people in the district also view migration as adventure especially the male youth.
They travel annually, largely to cities and big towns for adventure. In such town and cities they work in service sectors as potters, meat sellers, cleaners, fufu pounders where they are paid. In resent times, young people migrate to cities and towns in order to experience modern life styles and demonstrate that they have come of age. They want to enjoy the relatively better conditions of the cities and towns such as traveling in trotros and taxis, 24 hours nights, music, potable water, modern toilets, paved streets, beautiful buildings. They want to attend night clubs, eat out and wear fancy cloths and hair styles.
Above all, people in the district view migration as a means to well- being. It has been used as means to the improvement of well being. There is a general perception that through migration people can improve their impoverished situation. They claim that returnees come back home with money and physical resources such as bicycles, boom boxes, clothing, roofing sheets which, enhances their status in the community. There is also the general perception that those living in the communities without migrating could not obtain such items.
In the Bongo District, educational background does not seem to be a major determining factor for migration. Both literate and non literates migrate. Many non-literate youth and adults migrate every year during the off-season period in other to find new occupations elsewhere. Literates who seek alternate work environments, educational Opportunities non-existent in the District also migrate.
Literates are however, more likely to migrate across borders and especially to far away destinations in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Non-literates dominate domestic migration. However, school leavers are likely to migrate. Junior and senior secondary school leavers migrate either to seek permanent jobs or temporary jobs before they continue schooling. Some school going youth migrate down south during the long vacation period to work and return during school time.
Some are unable to return and stay for good. There are cases where some school going youth has been lured to migrate and have been out of school. when all weeding The migration of persons from the Bongo District generally occurs during the off-farm season period- It starts from the end of the raining season when farming activities is slowing down. For the males, it begins is done.
Young males in particular will move away to farming areas in Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions, where the raining season is long and farming activities more prolonged, to work on farmlands. At the end of harvest, some migrating females move to the Northern Region while others go to Brong-Ahafo and Ashanti Regions to offer services in crop harvests. This kind of migration is to farming areas and rural areas and is patronized by those who seek foodstuff to support their families.
The main period of migration, however, occurs during the Dry season from October to April, This off farm season period is the peak period where there is massive movement of all categories of persons to various parts of the country and beyond. Migration during the dry season is very high.
The direction of migration in the District is very complex web of multi-dimensional routes. Several routes are used to various destinations or even to one destination. In-Country migration is generally south ward bound through diverse routes. Out-Country migration however, is two-dimensional. Southern and northern bound routes. Migration Routes
Causes of Migration
- Southern Route
- Category 1: In - Country i. Bongo - Bolgatanga - Kumasi/Accra Bongo -Bolgatanga - Tamale - Kumasi - Accra
- Category 2: Cross Boarder
- Bongo -Bolgatanga-Kumasi-Takordi-La Cote D’voria Europe/Americas/Asia by water Bongo-Bolgatanga-Techiman/Kintampo/Kumasi-La Cote D’voire Bongo-Bolgatanga-Accra-Aflao-Togo/ Nigeria/ Southern Africa
- Northern Route
- Category 1: Cross Border North Bound
- Bongo-Yelwongo-Ouagadougou/Abidjan ii) Bongo-Yelwongo-Pugu-Ouagadougou
- Category 2: Cross Border East Bound
Diverse factors and forces are responsible for the migration of people from the District to various destinations. Push Factors The push factors comprise factors within the Bongo District Area that with motivate people to migrate. They include the following.Unemployment
Unemployment as a push factor is explained to stem from the lack or low level of employment opportunities. This also stems from the fact that most people in the District lack employment skills and as such they migrate to the south to look for greener pastures. In Bongo District, apart from opportunities for training in mechanical repairs, food processing and garment making mostly informal, there are no avenues for formal skills training.
Young school leavers and school disengaged youth have to seek training outside the District migrate to big towns and cities elsewhere. Added to the above is the low level of formal level jobs within the district. There are no private enterprises such as industries to absorb people hence the subsistent agricultural system becomes the main source of employment for many categories of people.
Peculiar Climatic /Weather Condition: The Bongo District which lies within the savanna belt experiences very challenging weather conditions with socio economic consequences the long dry season compromising the cold, windy, and dry harmattan, hot and humid heat period present diseases such as influenza, Pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
During the hot and humid period also presents the cerebral spinal meningitis epidermis. During the ruing season malaria and other water borne diseases are common. Each period of the year, the people are plagued with various weather related challenges that causes them to migrate. The very difficult and extreme weather condition slow down agricultural and other productive activities.Limited Agricultural Activities
Closely related to climatic/weather condition is the problem of limited agricultural activities. The climatic/weather conditions make it impossible for the active employment of the majority of people, who engage in agricultural activities, to support themselves all year round.
Famine is a yearly occurrence in the district. The short rainy season covering about five months of the year from May to September, results in a prolonged off season period during which farmers remain largely idle. During this period young people seek occupations elsewhere. They often move to Southern Ghana in particular where they engage in various temporary jobs for the period. The few dug-outs in selected communities which were expected to open opportunities for dry season gardening and animal rearing are not only inadequate but also dry out.
The rocky nature of the topography as well as the near desert conditions of the Bongo District leave very limited agricultural activities. Too many people share very small lands resulting in each person getting small portions that are unable to support their food needs. These lands can only support subsistent and not large-scale production.Socio-Cultural Factors
Numerous socio-cultural factors such as large family sizes, social obligations and belief systems and practices. The highly pro-natal Bongo communities place emphasis on the number of children one is able to produce. Young people are encouraged to marry early and reproduction continues until nature takes its cause. This means family sizes are large and with the limited land space some have to seek better fortunes elsewhere. Some young people are forced into marriage without the necessary resources and have to travel to find support. Some also travel to work for money that can help in dowry funds and family care.The Rural Nature Of The District
The Bongo District is largely a rural area without modern facilities such as entertainment outlets, electrical power, good roads, potable water, good educational facilities and health services. Some young people travel out of the District in other to experience the modern living that is absent in the communities. Pull FactorsUnlimited Opportunities
Some destinations are perceived as places of limitless opportunities. These are areas where all dreams could be made true. Easily available jobs, high paying jobs, fast ways of making money, easy access to social amenities and beautiful things to see and enjoy.Better Climatic/Weather Conditions
The weather conditions of destinations in southern Ghana make them particularly attractive to young people. The relatively mild weather conditions fostered by the two times a year rainy season and the milder dry spells are preferred to the harsh weather conditions of Bongo.Booming Agricultural Sector
For those who travel to seek food supplements and jobs in agriculture, difference in the weather conditions which makes it possible for the southern sector to cultivate crops during the off farm periods in Bongo enables them to access jobs of which they receive payments. Also, the existence of plantation/commercial agricultural means the hiring of farm hands and also higher wages of which they can avail their services. The cocoa and oil palm plantations attract many migrants.
Variety of Job Opportunities: The availability of varied job opportunities for both skilled and unskilled labour also makes destinations in southern Ghana attractive. Mining centers, commercial centers, industrial centers and cosmopolitan centers are particularly attractive. Jobs in food, garments, building, retail and haulage have
appeal.Implication for Development
It is apparent that there is high out-migration in the District and this has implications for the district. In the first place, the young and energetic ones who can contribute to the development of the District all move out leaving the aged. For instance, the Agric sector is seriously affected since the aged cannot contribute significantly to food production in the District.
In addition, the situation has also affected the construction industry since the aged cannot work in the industry. Migration also has its own attendant health implications. Most of the migrants return with diseases such as guinea worm, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. All reported guinea worm cases in the District so far are imported into the District.Housing
The District’s population of 91, 949 live in dispersed settlements and compound houses throughout the District. Majority of households within the District live in more or less permanent structures. Ninety-nine percent (99%) of the people in Bongo live in permanent structures. The type of dwelling is compound houses as pertains in other parts of the region. A few others live in separate and semi-detached houses. Modern flats and apartments are very rare in the District. Such facilities are usually official Government accommodation, which are located in Bongo the District capital, and Gowrie.
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