Social Capital as Survival Mechanism: The Case of Selected Female Street Children and Youth in Bole and Kirkos Sub-Cities, Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa University


The purpose of this study is to explore the role of social capital in the survival mechanisms of female street children/youth, and challenges they encounter on the streets and how they manage to survive regardless of the challenges they are facing. The study employed qualitative research design, which is suitable for studying complex issues like social capital. The methodological inquiry was a phenomenological approach. This research approach was appropriate to understand the complexities of the phenomenon in the course of the experiences, perceptions and perspectives from a holistic standpoint. Data collection through Semi structured question, focus group discussions and observation were used to contextualize their everyday lives to reveal their abilities as citizens. The sample size for this study especially for the in depth interviews was 10 female street children and youth age between 15-24 years who live in around ‘Kirkos’ and ‘Bole’ Sub-cities streets in Addis Ababa. The data was analyzed using the themes and categories that have emerged from fieldwork and research questions using triangulation. Triangulation for this research was employed in a number of ways: in terms of the different theoretical perspectives discussed in the literature; in terms of the different methods of data collection used; in terms of the diversity of sources of information; and in terms of the different methods of analysis used. The research finding shows that through their social network, seen as social capital, female street children and youth are able to develop survival mechanisms that sustain their lives in the absence of parents. Based on the accounts from females, the study documents that cultural norms and gender labels put females at an inconvenience position as they have limited social capital and they are generally more vulnerable than males. Considering the finding of this study, the researcher recommended that the need of social work intervention in the advocacy of female street children and youth as a venerable street group. While influencing the policy maker to issue a new policy and to suggest needs of establishing a self-governing agency and need further study for fully understand their life in order to guide the service provided for them and in the long run to move them out from the streets



Social capital; survival mechanism; street; female street children and youth