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Are street children beyond rehabilitation?: Understanding the life situation of street boys through ethnographic methods in Nakuru, Kenya
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health. (Internationell barnhälsa och Nutrition/Persson)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health. (Internationell kvinno-& mödrahälsovård/Essén)
2008 (English)In: Children and youth services review, ISSN 0190-7409, E-ISSN 1873-7765, Vol. 30, no 12, 1345-1354 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper describes the social organisation of street boys, the complexities and dilemmas of accessing them for interview, and removing the youngest and most vulnerable from the streets. The data were collected from three groups of street boys over a period of eight months: 20 “market boys”; four “plastic bag sellers” and their group leader; and twelve “begging boys” and their group leader. The study employed a reflexive ethnographic approach with participant observation, informal interviews and group discussions as data collection strategies. A participatory workshop was arranged for the highly mobile “begging boys” who could not be interviewed directly on the streets. Key informants helped in gaining access to the three groups of street boys, providing “insider information” about the boys and their contexts as well as in building trust. Through this research process, a deeper understanding of the street culture emerged, showing who the street boys are as well as how they are organised, their hierarchies and socialisation; patterns of substance use, home spaces in the streets, and networks of support.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 30, no 12, 1345-1354 p.
Keyword [en]
Street boys, Street children, Reflexive ethnography, Research methodology, Child participation, Kenya
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-86661DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2008.04.003ISI: 000261256900001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-86661DiVA: diva2:126831
Available from: 2008-11-26 Created: 2008-11-24 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. From Children of the Garbage Bins to Citizens: A reflexive ethnographic study on the care of “street children”
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From Children of the Garbage Bins to Citizens: A reflexive ethnographic study on the care of “street children”
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of the study on which this thesis is based was to gain an understanding of the life situation of street children in Kenya and to investigate how caring institutions care for these children.  A reflexive ethnographic approach was used to facilitate entry into the children’s sub-culture and the work contexts of the caregivers to better understand how the children live on the streets and how the caregivers work with the children. A fundamental aim of the research was to develop interventions to care; one of the reasons why we also used the interpretive description approach. Method and data source triangulation was used. Field notes, tape, video, and photography were used to record the data.  Participant observation, group discussions, individual interviews, home visits, key informant interviews, participatory workshops and clinical findings were used for data collection in Studies I and II.  In addition to observation, interviews were conducted with caregivers for study III, while written narratives from learners attending adult education developed and implemented during the research period provided data for study IV.  Study I indicated that food, shelter and education were the main concerns for the children and that they had strong social bonds and used support networks as a survival strategy.  Study II provided a deeper understanding of the street culture, revealing how the boys are organised, patterns of substance use, home spaces in the streets and networks of support. The boys indicated that they wanted to leave the streets but opposed being moved to existing institutions of care. A group home was therefore developed in collaboration with members of the category “begging boys”.  Study III indicated how the caregivers’ interactions with the children were crucial in children’s decisions to leave the streets, to be initiated into residential care, undergo rehabilitation and to be reintegrated into society.  Caregivers who attempted to use participatory approaches and took time to establish rapport were more successful with the children.  Study IV suggested that the composition of learners, course content grounded on research, caregivers’ reflections and discursive role of researchers and facilitators, all contributed to adult learning that transformed the learners’ perspectives and practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2012. 55 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 790
Keyword
Health care seeking behaviour; Child participation; Re(habilitation); Street children; Caregiver; Reflexive ethnography; Transformative learning; Kenya; Africa; Southeast Asia
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Health Sciences Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-178166 (URN)978-91-554-8410-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-09-14, Sal IX, Universitetshuset, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-08-24 Created: 2012-07-30 Last updated: 2013-01-24Bibliographically approved

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