Linkages are the social and material links and networks that connect migrants to their places of origin. Linkages are employed by migrants to sustain relations as well as improve the socio-economic status of their places of origin. It is against this backdrop that the study sought to assess origin-destination linkages as livelihood strategy among migrants from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions of Ghana who are resident in the Cape Coast Metropolis. To accomplish this, a descriptive cross-sectional survey design involving quantitative and qualitative approaches were adopted for the study. The study was grounded in four theories: The New Economics of Labour Migration (NELM), Migration Networks Theory, Migration Systems Theory and Social Exchange Theory. A sample size of 297 was derived from a population of 1,287 using Raosoft Calculator. A self-developed interview schedule and interview guide were used for the data collection. The data were analysed with both descriptive and inferential statistics such as frequencies and Chi-square. The study revealed that majority of the migrants had some form of linkages with their families at their places of origin. Some of these linkages included attending funerals, cash remittances, non-cash remittances, communication and child fostering. Further, the results showed that origin-destination linkages influence migrants’ livelihoods both positively and negatively but the positives influence far outweigh the negative ones. It was, therefore, recommended that the various forms of origin-destination linkages be encouraged among migrants.

Background to the Study
Human migration has existed since time immemorial (Bhawana, 2013). According to the 2015 Migration Report of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), there were 232 million international migrants and 740 million internal migrants in the world (IOM, 2015). This mobility can be attributed to people’s quest for better and more secured livelihoods (Waddington, 2003).

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) 2017, defines migration as the permanent or temporal change in the usual resident of an individual from one geographical area to another (www.unesco.org/shs/migration/glossary, 2017). For migration to take place, there should be a migrant (the individual engaging in migration), an origin (where the individual is migrating from) and a destination (where the individual is migrating to). Depending on the characteristics of the origin and destination, migration patterns could be classified as rural-rural, rural-urban, urban-urban and urban-rural. The movement could be either voluntary (migrants) or involuntary (refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons). This movement is either within a country or across international boundaries. Research has shown that more people migrate within borders of their countries than across them (King, Skeldon, & Vullnetari, 2008).

Livelihood, according to Chambers and Conway (1992), comprises the capabilities, assets (including both material and social resources) and activities required for a means of living. In simple terms, livelihood is a way in which people make a living and build their worlds (Whitehead, 2002). Migration serves as an important livelihood strategy for most households in developing countries (Ellis, 2003; Mcdowell & Haan, 1997; Tanle, 2010; Tanle, 2015). For example, international migration to India serves as a livelihood strategy for Nepalese through remittances from Nepalese migrants (Poertner, Junginger, & Müller-Böker, 2011). Ghanaian health professionals and other professionals emigrate to Europe for economic improvement and educational attainment and this is also a form of livelihood strategy since they are able to improve on their human as well as their financial assets (Anarfi, Quartey & Agyei, 2010).

In addition, households may engage in migration through putting together their resources (financial, advice, care-giving to migrants’ family left behind) so as to sponsor the migrant in order to increase their access to assets and mediate risks (Ellis, 2003; Tacoli, 2002; Waddington, 2003). For instance, De Haan (2002) found that migrants in Bihar, India, migrate to reduce the uncertainty of family income, and provide investment funds.

Migration, thus, can be considered as a means of compensation for lack of employment opportunities; reduction of pressure on household food stocks; reduction in seasonal income variability, especially in the dry seasons; and a means to raise food security through remittances in cash and in kind, educational opportunities and availability of infrastructural development (Goh, Arlini & Yen, 2016; Qin, 2016). This is probably through the linkages migrants establish with their origin (Akkoyunlu, 2015).

Linkages are the social and material links and networks that connect migrants to their places of origin (De Haas, 2007). Linkages could be socio-cultural, economic (Akkoyunle, 2015) and political. Economic linkage is conceptualised as any support (monetary and non-monetary) rendered to migrants’ households or the migrants themselves. It includes remittances of cash and non-cash from migrants to relatives or from relatives of migrants to migrants and child fostering. Among the Moroccan migrants, for instance, migrants build houses and settle in the urban centres and later bring in their family members (who largely reside in the rural areas) to settle with them in the urban centres (Jonsson, 2009). The most popular form of migrants’ linkages with their places of origin is remittances (Ambrosius, 2016; De Haan &Yaqub, 2010). Sending remittances home by migrants increases their social prestige and improves the wellbeing of their households (Poertner et al., 2011).

Social linkages involve belonging to social groups so that migrants at destinations may still be committed to their places of origin in many ways (Castles, De Haas, & Miller, 2014). Household and kinship networks shape the movement of individuals by providing them with some independence while at the same time retaining them within these networks (De Haan et al., 2002; Waddington, 2003). Social networks make new migrants feel like they are still at their places of origin though at a destination (Waddington, 2003). In Surma Devi Samas (India), Bajhangi (Nepal) immigrants provide services and security to the Bajhangi community in India and arrange rituals to maintain and unite Bajhangi networks. Also, these immigrants have a published document of all their households’ location in India (Poertner et al., 2011).

Culturally, migrants attend funerals, marriage ceremonies and festivities as a form of linkages. During these ceremonies and festivities, migrants bring with them ‘life’ at the destination to their places of origin. This is shown in their dressing, the type of food they eat and new and improved ways of doing things (Akkoyunle, 2015; Cassiman, 2010).

The flow is not always from the destination to the origin because there are also material and money transfers from families of migrants from places of origin to migrants at destinations either within or across national boundaries (Frayne, 2007; Mazzucato, 2009). But migrant linkages to their places of origin include much more than these material exchanges from destination. Other writers explore a variety of discrete behaviours beyond remittances that link migrants to their places of origin. These discrete behaviours are social, political, or economic in nature and they include activities located both in the destination and the homeland (Gugler 2002; Portes & Sensenbrenner 1993; Smith 2008; Trager 1998). Families of migrants also remit cash and non-cash items to migrants at destination (Tanle & Abane, n.d)

Some researchers have attempted to expand the definition of remittances to include “social remittances,” which is the exchange between migrants and sending communities of ideas, skills, and social obligations (Adam & Page, 2005; Levitt 1998; Newland & Patrick, 2004). Researchers have also studied more temporary aspects of migrant linkages, such as identities and social spaces (Bryceson & Vuorela 2002; Wiles, 2008).

In Ghana, various patterns of migration have existed from pre-colonial times through the colonial times and now to the post-colonial time. However, rural-urban has been identified as the commonest form of north-south migration (Anarfi & Kwankye, 2003; Cassiman, 2010). The pre-colonial times saw crop farmers venturing into new farm lands and trade activities between the north and the coastal regions. Migrating for trade became popular during the colonial periods. Also, gold mines and farms in the south attracted migrants from the Northern Territories. Currently, factors that influence migration in Ghana include shortage of fertile land, emergence and expansion of industries in the urban centres, urban-biased policies, attractive wages and provision of transport and communication networks (Anarfi & Kwankye, 2003; Awumbila & Ardayfio-Schandorf, 2008; Cassiman, 2010). This study seeks to investigate origin-destination linkages as livelihood strategy of migrants from the three northern regions (Upper East, Upper West and Northern) resident in the Cape Coast Metropolis.

Statement of the Problem
Ghana is usually divided into a North–South dichotomy based on development and for purposes of spatial comparison (Vanderpuye-Orgle, 2008). The Greater Accra, Central, Volta, Western, Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, and Eastern regions constitute southern Ghana while the Northern, Upper East, and Upper West regions form Northern Ghana. North-South migration appears to be the most visible and perhaps the most studied. This movement is triggered by factors such as scarcity of fertile land, famine, social demands, unfavourable weather conditions, ethnic conflicts, and under development of the northern sector which can be traced to the British colonial policy of making the northern sector a labour reserve for the south (Anarfi, Kwankye, Ababio, &Tiemoko, 2003; Awumbila & Ardayfio-Schandorf, 2008; Tanle & Awusabo-Asare, 2012).

Social networks, that is the presence of kinsmen in the south, to some extent influence north-south migration. This makes integration at destination easier and faster, confirming this assertion, Van De Geest (2011), stated that one in every five people born in the north resides in the south.

Over the years, studies on North-South Migration in Ghana focused on causes, benefits, implications associated with migration, local perception on migration, and livelihood status of migrant’s family at the origin (Anarfi, et al, 2003, Tanle, 2010; Tanle & Awusabo-Asare, 2012; Van Der Geest, 2010). For instance, a study conducted by Edwin and Glover (2016) concluded that chronic poverty, inability of parents to play their roles, increasing population and inadequate jobs in the rural areas as well as the collapse of the extended family support system that served as a cushion against disaster and odds serve as the motivating factors for north-south migration. Other causes outlined by this study included lack of social amenities like portable drinking water, paved streets and modern toilet facilities, and early marriages for females especially.

similar study conducted by Anarfi, Awusabo-Asare and Nsowah-Nuamah (2000) also identified that more females are pushed to the south because of reasons such as early marriages. On the other hand, males are pushed to the south in other to find means by which they can pay the dowry of their wives (Anarfi et al, 2003).

Not many studies have been done on linkages that exist between migrants at destination and their relatives at their places of origin. A study by Tanle and Abane (n.d) concluded that there is some form of interaction between permanent migrants from the three northern regions who are resident at Obuasi and Techiman Municipalities and their close relations in the north, and these forms of interactions have the potential of reducing poverty and vulnerability in the Northern parts of the country.

Geographical distance also shapes patterns of mobility in Ghana and, to some extent, can influence origin-destination linkages. Migrants from Upper West and Upper East regions more often go to relatively nearby regions of Brong Ahafo and Ashanti, rather than to the far distant regions of the coastal belt (Ackah & Medvedev, 2012). The traditional destination communities of migrants from the three northern regions are Greater Accra (Accra) because it is the capital of Ghana, Ashanti (Obuasi) and Brong Ahafo (Techiman) which can be traced to the colonial times for farming and mining purposes (Ackah & Medvedev, 2012). Also, Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions are the two most developed regions in Ghana noted for all modern infrastructural facilities (GSS, 2012; Yendaw, Dakyaga, Tanle, & Tampah-Naah, 2016).

The Central Region (Cape Coast) is noted for its crucial role during the colonial times in the history of Ghana. It was once the capital of the then Gold Coast until 1877. It had a long exposure with European trade and it is also the hub of education. This has attracted and continues to attract migrants from all over the country (GSS, 2013). With this background, the current study sought to assess origin-destination linkages as livelihood strategy of migrants from the northern sector of the country who are resident in the Cape Coast Metropolis.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Topic  |  Size: 133 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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