The Livelihood and Survival Strategies of Migrant Children in Bahir Dar Town

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Addis Ababa University


Many of the street children in the study area, Bahir Dar, are rural-urban migrants. The present study investigates the livelihood and survival strategies of migrant street children. It further looks at the causes of migration of children and the social networks they maintain among themselves and to their rural villages. Structuration Theory and Livelihood Approach are adopted to look at the issues to get insights about how street children are making a living in the study area. Structuration Theory has been appliedto look at the research problem from different perspectives. It is employed to realize the factors that shape the life of street children in the urban social system. Children make part of the structure of the urban life and as actors are striving to adjust themselves to livelihood outcomes. Livelihood approach has been adapted to look at the diverse street based economic activities of children and how they adapt survival mechanisms to meet their basic needs. In this study qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection .are used. The qualitative method is used to understand the view of migrant street children and their lived experience while the quantitative method is us?d to supplement the data collected through qualitative one. Interviews, focus group discussion, and observation are used as instruments of data collection. Migrant street children' as the subjects of this study were selected Ji'om Bahir Dar TQwn, using purposive snowball sampling to get insights about their lives. The data collected are triangulated and cross-checked to check reliability and validity of information. The study shows that children driftedfrom different pacts of the country into the study area and the children left their rural villages Qn their O1'Vn and without a,ny parental say on their decision to migrate. They also come from families with large size in their rU(al localities, Migration does not lead them to lose contpct with their rural fQlk except in few cases. Children migrate into the study area as a result of interwoven and var.ious factors including poverty, disagreement with their families, death of parents (either ~oth or one of their parents), in search of education and others, It has been found that increased migration of rural children was aggravated due to rural po~erty, This study also shows that street children are engaged in div~rse liyelihood activities that req1!ire different types of assets of which labor is the most decisive one that enables them to earn income either directly in wage employment .or indirectly through the production of goods and services sold in the informal market, 111 day 1.0 dqy survival scel?ario, street children interact among themselves through various informal social networks characterized by hierarchies. Th~ir sodal networks are also important to stre,ngthen the capability of groups' members to reduce vulnerability and be more beneficial to livelihood outcomes. Key- Words: Livelihood, Survival Strategy, Strcturatiol1 Theory



Livelihood, Survival Strategy, Strcturation Theory