Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

What is the name of your solution?

Kayayei Insight Initiative

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Empowering the Kayayei community through data-driven insights to enhance sexual and reproductive health, education, and economic opportunities.

What is your solution?

The Kayayei Insight Initiative is a pioneering solution aimed at alleviating the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) challenges faced by the Kayayei community in Ghana through a blend of data analytics, behavioural sciences, and community engagement. The solution is structured in a phased approach to ensure precision, relevance, and efficacy. Here's an outline of our solution:

1. Preliminary Research and Survey Design:

    • Conduct initial engagements with community leaders and a sample of Kayayei to comprehend their key concerns and information relevance.
    • Design a culturally sensitive and comprehensive survey tool to collect pertinent data.

2. Data Collection:

    • Deploy trained field workers to gather data using the designed survey tools.
    • Utilize technology platforms for real-time data collection and monitoring, ensuring accuracy and efficiency.

3. Data Validation and Cleaning:

    • Run validation checks to ensure data quality and consistency.
    • Rectify any anomalies or discrepancies in the data to maintain its integrity.

4. Analytics and Behavioral Analysis:

    • Employ advanced analytics tools to derive insightful findings from the collected data.
    • Apply behavioural science principles to understand the underlying behaviours, motivations, and barriers affecting the Kayayei community’s SRHR.

5. Publication of Learnings & Stakeholder Engagement:

    • Document key findings and insights in a comprehensive report.
    • Organize workshops with stakeholders to disseminate findings and collaboratively brainstorm intervention strategies.

6. Pilot Intervention Design and Implementation:

    • Design pilot interventions targeting specific SRHR challenges based on derived insights.
    • Engage the community in the co-design process to ensure relevance and buy-in.
    • Implement the designed interventions in selected segments of the community, continuously monitoring their impact and gathering feedback.

7. Review and Scale:

    • Analyze the success and challenges of the pilot interventions.
    • Modify and scale successful pilots to reach a broader segment of the Kayayei community.

8. Periodic Updates to Data:

    • Update the database continuously as the community evolves, using these periodic data updates to refine and adapt interventions.

9. Technology Utilization:

    • Leverage data analytics platforms for processing and analyzing the collected data.
    • Use mobile technology for real-time data collection, monitoring, and feedback gathering.

10. Behavioural Insights Integration:

    • Go beyond mere data collection by integrating behavioural sciences to deeply understand factors moulding community behaviour, choices, and group dynamics.

11. Iterative Monitoring and Evaluation:

    • Establish a robust system for monitoring, evaluation, and feedback integration, ensuring iterative improvement and adaptation of interventions based on real-time insights.

12. Strategic Partnerships:

    • Collaborate with local organizations, community influencers, and policymakers to ensure integrated impact and holistic addressing of SRHR challenges.

Our solution envisions a cyclic assessment mechanism, where continuous measurement of intervention efficacy and iterative adaptations foster a sustainable and impactful improvement in the SRHR conditions of the Kayayei community. Through this data-driven, community-engaged, and behavioural science-integrated approach, we aim to set a precedent for addressing SRHR challenges not only in Ghana but in similarly marginalized communities globally.

What specific problem are you solving?

The specific problem we are addressing falls within the broader scope of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) challenges faced by the marginalized and economically disadvantaged Kayayei community in Ghana. The plight of Kayayei, predominantly composed of female head porters, unveils a multifaceted issue intertwining gender inequality, poverty, limited educational and economic opportunities, and inadequate access to essential healthcare services. These challenges are exacerbated for Women in Fertility Age (WIFA) within this community.

SRHR Challenges:

    • Limited Access to Reproductive Health Services: Many WIFA among the Kayayei lack access to reproductive health education, contraceptives, or safe abortion services, leading to unplanned pregnancies and exposure to sexually transmitted infections.
    • Maternal Health Risks: The strenuous physical labour coupled with limited prenatal care poses heightened complications for pregnant Kayayei women, potentially leading to premature births, low birth weights, and other related complications.

The scale of the Problem:

    • The scale of this problem extends beyond the Kayayei community in Ghana, mirroring similar SRHR challenges faced by marginalized female groups in other low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The inadequacy of SRHR services is a pressing global concern, as underscored by Sustainable Development Goal 3.7.

Affected Population:

    • While the exact number of Kayayei is elusive due to data deficiencies, it's estimated that thousands of women and girls are engaged in this informal sector. The ripple effects of the SRHR challenges they face impact not only them but also their children and broader communities.

Contributing Factors:

    • Economic Disparities: Economic exclusion and the lack of viable employment opportunities in rural regions drive these women to urban centres, where they face harsh working conditions with minimal income.
    • Cultural Stigmatization: Stigma and societal taboos discourage them from seeking essential SRHR care due to fear of judgment, social, and financial repercussions, and loss of confidentiality.
    • Educational Barriers: The lack of comprehensive sex education exacerbates the SRHR challenges faced by the Kayayei community.
    • Healthcare Infrastructure: Inadequate healthcare infrastructure and services in urban markets further limit their access to essential SRHR services.

Global Relevance:

  • The issues faced by the Kayayei resonate globally, reflecting the broader SRHR challenges prevalent in many LMICs. Globally, over 200 million women want to avoid pregnancy but are not using modern contraception, and every day, approximately 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, 99% of which occur in LMICs.

Unsuccessful Past Interventions:

    • Despite significant financial investments (over US$10 million between 2019 to 2022), targeted interventions for the Kayayei community have largely fallen short due to homogenized assumptions, data deficiencies, and non-targeted policy directions.

Our solution aims to bridge these gaps through a data-driven approach, striving for a holistic understanding of the Kayayei community’s unique challenges and needs. By synthesizing empirical data with human stories, we aspire to inform tailored interventions that can significantly improve SRHR outcomes for the Kayayei community, setting a precedent for addressing similar challenges in other marginalized communities globally.

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Our solution is primarily tailored to serve the Kayayei community in Ghana, particularly focusing on Women in Fertility Age (WIFA) within this group. The Kayayei are female head porters, often migrating from impoverished rural regions in northern Ghana to urban areas, seeking better employment prospects amidst a scarcity of economic opportunities in their home regions.

1. Demographic Profile:

    • The Kayayei are predominantly young women and girls, some of whom are of school-going age or have children of school-going age. Their migratory patterns are driven by agricultural seasons, market demand, and major festivals, which also influence their return to home communities.

2. Current Underservicing:

    • The Kayayei are gravely underserved in many aspects, particularly in terms of access to essential sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services, education, and economic opportunities.
    • They face deplorable working conditions, minimal earnings, and poor hygiene and nutritional conditions. The lack of access to reproductive health education and services compounds their vulnerability, leading to unplanned pregnancies, exposure to sexually transmitted infections, and heightened maternal health risks.

3. Impact on Their Lives:

    • Improved SRHR Services: Our solution aims to bridge the gap in access to crucial SRHR information, commodities, and services. By leveraging data-driven insights to tailor interventions, we envision enhanced access to reproductive health education, contraceptives, prenatal care, and safe abortion services for the Kayayei.
    • Economic Empowerment: Insights derived from our project could inform the design of economic empowerment programs, potentially offering alternative employment opportunities or skills training to the Kayayei, thus improving their income levels and living conditions.
    • Educational Opportunities: By understanding the barriers to education within this community, our initiative could pave the way for programs that enhance educational access for Kayayei women and their children, breaking the cycle of poverty and marginalization.
    • Nutritional Well-being: Addressing nutritional deficiencies is crucial, especially for pregnant and lactating Kayayei women. Our project will inform nutrition support programs ensuring better health outcomes for both mothers and their offspring.

4. Addressing Structural Issues:

    • Through continuous monitoring, evaluation, and stakeholder engagement, we aim to address structural issues perpetuating the SRHR challenges faced by the Kayayei, including cultural stigmatization, healthcare infrastructure inadequacies, and educational barriers.

5. Community Engagement:

    • Engaging the Kayayei community in the co-design and implementation process ensures that the interventions are culturally sensitive, relevant, and embraced by the community. This participatory approach fosters a sense of ownership and empowerment among the Kayayei.

6. Feedback and Iteration:

    • Establishing a feedback loop allows for real-time assessment and adaptation of interventions, ensuring they remain effective and relevant to the evolving needs and aspirations of the Kayayei community.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

The intrinsic connection we share with the Kayayei community significantly positions us as a trusted and understanding entity to design and deliver this solution. Our initiative is spearheaded by a northern Ghanaian woman whose life narrative resonates deeply with the experiences of the Kayayei. This shared heritage and understanding transcend academic and professional credentials, forging a genuine connection based on empathy, respect, and a profound desire for transformative change.

1. Proximity to the Community:

    • Our team lead's roots in northern Ghana, the same geographic and cultural landscape from which many Kayayei migrate, offer us an authentic understanding and empathy towards the challenges faced by this community. This proximity fosters a natural sense of trust and mutual respect, enabling open communication and cooperation.

2. Community Engagement:

    • The co-design process of our solution actively involves the Kayayei community. By avoiding reliance on translations and embracing shared experiences, we ensure that the community's voice is central to the design and implementation of our solution. Their input, ideas, and agendas meaningfully guide every phase of our initiative, from data collection to pilot intervention design and implementation.

3. Cultural Sensitivity:

    • Our deep cultural acumen enables us to grasp the nuances, decode unspoken sentiments, and genuinely empathize with the Kayayei community. This understanding is crucial in designing culturally harmonized and impactful interventions.

4. Commitment to Adaptive Methodologies:

    • While our foundational connection provides a great starting point, our strategies are agile, integrating feedback, embracing innovation, and are ever-responsive to the changing needs and aspirations of the Kayayei community.

5. Building on Shared Aspirations:

    • Our shared aspirations for a better life, and the challenges faced in urban terrains, create a bond that transcends transactional interactions, making our endeavor deeply personal and rooted in shared human experiences.

6. Transparency and Open Dialogue:

    • We maintain a transparent and open dialogue with the Kayayei community, ensuring they are informed, engaged, and active participants in the journey towards improving their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Our shared heritage, genuine engagement with the community, strategic local alliances, and adaptive methodologies, coupled with a relentless commitment to transformative change, profoundly position us as the ideal custodians of this initiative aimed at uplifting the Kayayei community. Through the Kayayei Insight Initiative, we are not just providing a solution; we are forging a collaborative pathway towards a better, healthier, and economically empowered life for the Kayayei community.

Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Improve the SRH outcomes of young people and address root cause barriers to SRHR care.

In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Accra, Ghana

In what country is your solution team headquartered?

  • Ghana

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model, but which is not yet serving anyone

Please share details about what makes your solution a Prototype rather than a Concept.

Our venture into solving the multi-dimensional challenges faced by the Kayayei community has already moved past the conceptual stage into a prototype phase. We've initiated hands-on work with the Kayayei communities in three major markets in Accra: Mallam Attah Market, Tema Station, and Madina Market. Through this engagement, we've successfully collected and analyzed data from 105 Kayayei individuals, encompassing over 847 distinct data points. This comprehensive data spans bio information, home communities, length of time engaged in Kayaye, gender distribution, access to SRHR services, knowledge, and use of contraceptives.

The data collected has been instrumental in aiding several organizations to conduct more impactful SRHR outreach programs. A prime example of this is the Pay4Period Campaign undertaken by the Thriving Woman Foundation, which zeroes in on Menstrual Hygiene Education and the provision of Menstrual Products to the Kayayei community. Utilizing the data we provided, they were able to identify the most suitable target group of Kayayei women in Mallam Attah Market, which in turn significantly enhanced the effectiveness and impact of their outreach program. Moreover, our data played a pivotal role in monitoring the progress of the program and devising robust strategies to measure its impact accurately.

One of the standout utilities of our data was the empowerment it granted the Thriving Woman Foundation in tracking the specific cohort of girls that participated in the program. This tracking ability is invaluable as it allows for a progressive update on the information initially provided to the participants, ensuring a sustained impact and continuous education.

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Samiha Yunus

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Our solution, the Kayayei Insight Initiative, embodies innovation on multiple fronts, addressing the SRHR challenges faced by the Kayayei community in Ghana in a nuanced, data-driven, and community-centric manner. Here are the innovative facets of our solution:

  1. Holistic Data Collection:
    • Unlike traditional interventions that may rely on surface-level data or broad assumptions, our approach dives deep into the socio-economic, cultural, linguistic, and behavioral nuances of the Kayayei community. By blending technology with grassroots engagement, we aim to curate a comprehensive database that paints a holistic picture of the Kayayei's lives, struggles, and aspirations.

2. Integration of Behavioral Sciences:

    • Our methodology transcends mere data collection by integrating behavioral sciences to understand the factors molding community behavior, choices, and group dynamics. This empowers us to discern key patterns and archetypes, fostering the design of targeted, relevant interventions as opposed to generic programs.

3. Community Engagement and Co-Design:

    • Our solution values the Kayayei community as active participants in the design and implementation process, rather than passive beneficiaries. This co-design approach ensures that interventions are culturally sensitive, relevant, and embraced by the community, which is a shift from traditional top-down intervention models.

4. Potential for Scalability:

    • The blueprint created through this initiative can serve as a model for addressing similar SRHR challenges in other marginalized communities, not only in Ghana but potentially across other Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). The iterative, data-driven, and community-centric approach could catalyze broader positive impacts from other stakeholders in this space, creating a ripple effect of change.

5. Leveraging Technology:

    • Utilizing technology platforms for real-time data collection, monitoring, and analysis accelerates the pace at which insights can be derived and interventions can be designed, implemented, and evaluated. The fusion of technology with behavioral sciences and grassroots engagement is a novel approach to addressing SRHR challenges.

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

Impact Goals for the Next Year:

  1. Detailed Community Profile:

    • Complete the comprehensive data collection and analysis to create a detailed profile of the Kayayei community, identifying their SRHR needs, behaviours, and barriers to access.
  2. Community Engagement:

    • Establish strong relationships with community leaders, Kayayei members, and local stakeholders to foster a collaborative environment for intervention design and implementation.
  3. Pilot Interventions:

    • Design, implement, and evaluate pilot interventions targeting specific SRHR challenges faced by the Kayayei, utilizing the insights derived from the data.

Impact Goals for the Next Five Years:

  1. Sustainable SRHR Access:

    • Establish sustainable channels for the Kayayei community to access essential SRHR information, commodities, and services, leading to improved SRHR outcomes.
  2. Education and Economic Empowerment:

    • Enhance access to education and economic opportunities for the Kayayei community, especially for Women in Fertility Age (WIFA) and their children, breaking the cycle of poverty and marginalization.
  3. Policy Advocacy:

    • Engage with policymakers to advocate for inclusive and supportive policies addressing the SRHR needs and rights of the Kayayei community.
  4. Scalability and Replication:

    • Scale successful interventions to reach a broader segment of the Kayayei community and replicate the model in other marginalized communities facing similar SRHR challenges.
  5. Community Leadership:

    • Foster leadership within the Kayayei community to ensure the sustainability and continued growth of interventions, empowering them to lead initiatives addressing their SRHR needs.
  6. Knowledge Sharing:

    • Share learnings, methodologies, and successful interventions with SRHR stakeholders globally, catalyzing broader positive impacts in the SRHR domain.

Strategies to Achieve Impact Goals:

  1. Community-Centric Approach:

    • Engage the Kayayei community in every phase of the initiative, ensuring interventions are culturally sensitive, relevant, and embraced.
  2. Data-Driven Decision Making:

    • Utilize the comprehensive database and behavioural insights to design and implement targeted, effective interventions.
  3. Cross-Sector Collaboration:

    • Collaborate with local organizations, community influencers, and policymakers to create an integrated impact, pooling resources, expertise, and networks.
  4. Iterative Evaluation and Adaptation:

    • Establish a robust monitoring, evaluation, and feedback system to continuously assess intervention efficacy, adapt strategies, and improve outcomes.
  5. Capacity Building:

    • Invest in capacity building within the Kayayei community and among our team to ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of interventions.
  6. Dissemination of Learnings:

    • Actively share insights, methodologies, and successes with the broader SRHR community to foster a collaborative ecosystem of change-makers addressing SRHR challenges globally.

Describe in simple terms how and why you expect your solution to have an impact on the problem.

The Theory of Change for the Kayayei Insights Project revolves around employing a holistic, data-driven approach to unravel and address the core SRHR challenges faced by the Kayayei community in Ghana. Here's a breakdown of our Theory of Change:


  1. Data Collection and Analysis:

    • Gathering comprehensive data on the Kayayei community’s demographics, health, economic conditions, migration patterns, and cultural nuances.
  2. Community Engagement:

    • Building trust and collaboration with the community members, leaders, and local stakeholders through continuous engagement.
  3. Pilot Interventions:

    • Designing and implementing pilot interventions based on the insights derived from the data.
  4. Monitoring, Evaluation, and Feedback:

    • Continuously monitoring the interventions, evaluating their impact, and integrating feedback for iterative improvement.


  1. Insightful Database:

    • A rich database providing a detailed understanding of the Kayayei community's SRHR needs and barriers to access.
  2. Community Trust and Collaboration:

    • Established trust and a collaborative relationship with the Kayayei community and local stakeholders.
  3. Tested Interventions:

    • Evidence-based interventions addressing specific SRHR challenges faced by the Kayayei community.
  4. Feedback Mechanism:

    • A robust feedback mechanism that allows for real-time adaptation of interventions based on community feedback.


  1. Improved SRHR Access:

    • Enhanced access to essential SRHR information, commodities, and services for the Kayayei community.
  2. Economic and Educational Empowerment:

    • Better economic opportunities and educational access for the Kayayei community, breaking the cycle of poverty and marginalization.
  3. Policy Advocacy:

    • Influenced policies that are inclusive and supportive of the Kayayei community's SRHR needs and rights.
  4. Changed Societal Perceptions:

    • Shifted societal perceptions towards a more respectful and understanding stance on the Kayayei community and their SRHR needs.

Evidence Supporting the Theory of Change:

The links between activities, outputs, and outcomes are grounded in a mix of third-party research, findings from similar initiatives, and preliminary engagements with the target population:

  1. Third-Party Research:

    • Research on SRHR challenges in LMICs underscores the importance of a data-driven, community-centric approach to address the nuanced needs and barriers faced by marginalized communities like the Kayayei.
  2. Findings from Similar Initiatives:

    • Evidence from other successful SRHR interventions demonstrates the efficacy of engaging the community in the design, implementation, and evaluation of interventions.
  3. Preliminary Community Engagement:

    • Initial dialogues with the Kayayei community and local stakeholders have reiterated the need for a nuanced, respectful, and collaborative approach to address their SRHR challenges.
  4. Historical Interventions Analysis:

    • Analysis of past interventions and their shortcomings highlights the critical need for a more tailored, data-driven, and iterative approach to address the SRHR challenges faced by the Kayayei community.

In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Ghana

In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Ghana
Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?


How long have you been working on your solution?

1 year

Your Business Model & Funding

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)

What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?

The financial sustainability of the Kayayei Insights Project is critical to its long-term impact and success. The plan for achieving financial sustainability is multi-faceted, incorporating a mix of revenue streams to support the project’s activities and growth. Here’s a breakdown of the plan:

  1. Grants and Donations:

    • Initially, the project will seek grants and donations from philanthropic organizations, international development agencies, and CSR initiatives of corporations interested in SRHR, gender equality, and poverty alleviation.
  2. Impact Investment:

    • Attract impact investors who are keen on investing in social ventures that aim to make a meaningful difference in the lives of marginalized communities.
  3. Service Contracts and Partnerships:

    • Engage in service contracts with governmental and non-governmental organizations to provide data, insights, and consultancy services regarding SRHR interventions for marginalized communities.
  4. Subscription Model:

    • Offer subscription-based access to the comprehensive database and analytical reports generated from the project, for academia, researchers, policymakers, and SRHR stakeholders.
  5. Training and Workshops:

    • Conduct paid training sessions and workshops for organizations, community health workers, and other stakeholders on community engagement, cultural sensitivity, and effective SRHR intervention strategies.
  6. Scalable Solutions:

    • Develop scalable solutions based on successful pilot interventions, and offer them to other regions or countries facing similar challenges, possibly generating revenue through licensing or consultancy.
  7. Local Fundraising and Community Contributions:

    • Organize local fundraising events and campaigns to garner support from individuals and local businesses. Exploring community contributions, where feasible, to ensure community buy-in and ownership.
  8. Technology Platforms:

    • Explore the development of technology platforms facilitating real-time data collection, analysis, and monitoring of SRHR interventions, which can be offered as a service to other organizations.
  9. Publication and Dissemination:

    • Generate revenue through the publication of research findings, case studies, and best practice guides, catering to a wide array of stakeholders within the SRHR and development sectors.
  10. Endowment Fund:

    • Establish an endowment fund to create a financial cushion that can generate interest income to support the project’s operations in the long term.

By diversifying the revenue streams and continuously exploring innovative financial models, the aim is to build a resilient financial foundation that not only covers the expected expenses but also enables the expansion and scaling of the project to create a broader impact over time.

Solution Team

  • Samiha Yunus Founder, ILMIHA Labs
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