Hand-to-mouth work culture and the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions: experiences of selected informal sector workers in Kumasi, Ghana



  • Dickson Adom Department of Educational Innovations in Science and Technology, Kwame Nkrumah University
  • Jephthar Adu-Mensah Association of African Universities, Ghana
  • Paul Appiah Sekyere Department of Chemistry, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana


COVID-19, economic impacts, hand-to-mouth, informal sector workers, lockdown, work culture


This study investigated the economic impacts of the COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and livelihoods. Study participants included 25 informal sector workers who were sampled purposively and conveniently. Qualitative thematic analysis was used for interpreting the data generated from the study. The findings revealed that these workers were adversely affected economically by the COVID-19 lockdown and other restrictions, disrupting their business operations, and plunging their livelihoods into extreme poverty. It was also revealed that the high number of informal sector workers in the 'hand-to-mouth' work culture category in Kumasi cited to have flouted the COVID-19 lockdown regulation due to the unbearable economic surge it had inflicted on their livelihood support systems. The study suggests that immediate economic mitigation strategies set out by the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) as well as financial agencies must factor the economic needs of the informal sector workers in the hand-to-mouth work culture category and offer them robust financial relief to assist them recover from economic impacts due to the COVID-19.


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Author Biographies

Dickson Adom, Department of Educational Innovations in Science and Technology, Kwame Nkrumah University

Dickson Adom is a researcher in the Department of Educational Innovations in Science and Technology, K.N.U.S.T., Ghana, and holds an extraordinary researcher position in the School of Economic Sciences at the Northwest University, South Africa. He has specialized in the use of Traditional Ecological Knowledge Systems for Biodiversity Conservation. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of his education and training, his current research interests are in African Art and Culture, Cultural Tourism/e-Tourism, Cultural Economics, Art History, TEK for Biodiversity Conservation, Agricultural Anthropology, General Education, Environmental Sustainability Education, and Research and Academic Writing.  

Jephthar Adu-Mensah, Association of African Universities, Ghana

Jephtar Adu-Mensah works with the Ghana Psychology Council and the Association of African Universities, Accra. He holds an MPhil in Educational Assessment and Evaluation from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. His research interests are in Educational Assessment, Educational Evaluation, Educational Economics, Educational Psychology, and Higher Education.

Paul Appiah Sekyere, Department of Chemistry, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana

Paul Appiah Sekyere holds an MSc in Chemistry from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. His research fields include Ethnomedicine, Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Higher Education.


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How to Cite

Adom, D. ., Adu-Mensah, J., & Sekyere, P. A. (2020). Hand-to-mouth work culture and the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions: experiences of selected informal sector workers in Kumasi, Ghana. Research Journal in Advanced Humanities, 1(2), 45-63. https://doi.org/10.58256/rjah.v1i2.237