A political discussion has recently erupted over the return of migrant kayayei (head porters) from Northern Ghana. Return migrants were studied meagrely with regard to their reintegration process, skills acquired at their destinations, and chances for productive engagement. These chances allow the return migrants to pursue socially desirable goals. This study attempts to answer the questions pertaining to why migrants remain at home in terms of their experiences in the reintegration process and the reasons for re-migration. The purpose of this study was to explore how the socioeconomic environment of home communities aids the reintegration of return migrants from Ghana's Northern Region. Eighty-nine (89) return migrants from eight districts in Northern Ghana were selected using snowball sampling and their reintegration processes investigated. To analyze the process of reintegration of return migrants, the study adopted the interpretivist and ethnography research design under which qualitative case study approach was used to collect data. Thematic analysis was applied in analysing the qualitative data. The study discovered that some return migrants were eager to stay in their home communities after returning home, not because of greater economic prospects, but because of improved social considerations. They will re-migrate, however, if the individual places a high value on economic factors and the destination offers greater economic possibilities. However, if we want return migrants to stay in their hometowns, government has to increase the job opportunities in their home communities with healthy economic possibilities.


return migrants, social networks, reintegration, Northern Ghana, Kayayei, qualitative study, interpretivist approach

Author Bio(s)

Rev. Dr. Benzies Isaac Adu-Okoree holds a PhD in Development Studies with research expertise in migration and rural development. He is currently a senior lecturer at the Presbyterian University College Ghana. Please direct correspondence to aduokoree@pucg.edu.gh.

Dr. Daniella Delali Sedegah is a senior lecturer and holds a PhD in Development Studies. Her research interests are in issues of gender in policy and planning, community development and water resource governance. Please direct correspondence to ddsedegah@uesd.edu.gh.

Philippa Jilly Joel Premkumar holds a PhD in Women’s Studies and is a senior lecturer. Her research interest borders on women vulnerability issues and qualitative research. Please direct correspondence to jpremkumar@uesd.edu.gh.

Dr. Prize Fourthson McApreko is a senior lecturer and holds a PhD in Peace Studies. His expertise is in conflict resolution and gender in development. Please direct correspondence to pfymcapreko@uesd.edu.gh.


The team are grateful to the Ethical Committee of the Presbyterian University College, Ghana for providing the ethical clearance for this study to be undertaken.

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