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									          THE STORY OF
CHILDREN LIVING AND WORKING ON
    THE STREETS OF NAIROBI




ORDINARY JUST LIKE ANY OTHER PERSON


                                Kenya, 2002
                  SNV/Kenya and GTZ PROSYR
 Linking Research to Advocacy and Action




This report consists of two volumes and was compiled by:


 Women Educational Researchers of Kenya (WERK) for
 SNV/Kenya and German Technical Cooperation (GTZ)
Table of Content
CHAPTER ONE................................................................... 1
INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY..................................... 1
 1.0   BACKGROUND ...................................................................................................................... 1
 1.1   AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY ................................................................................. 2
 1.2   CONCEPTUALISATION OF THE RESEARCH POPULATION ........................................................ 2
 1.3   THE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND GEOGRAPHICAL COVERAGE ....................................... 4
 1.4   TIME FRAME ......................................................................................................................... 4
 1.5   ORGANISATION OF THE REPORT ........................................................................................... 4

CHAPTER TWO.................................................................. 5
THE RESEARCH PROCESS ............................................... 5
 2.0   INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................... 5
 2.1   THE RESEARCH FRAMEWORK ............................................................................................... 5
 2.2   THE DATA SOURCES AND INSTRUMENTS .............................................................................. 6
 2.3   THE COMPOSITION OF THE RESEARCH TEAMS ...................................................................... 6
 2.4   THE RESEARCH PROCESS ...................................................................................................... 7
           The Preparatory Phase: Ensuring Participation......................................................... 7
           Stakeholders’ Meetings ................................................................................................ 7
           Drafting the Instruments ............................................................................................ 10
           Building Research Capacity ...................................................................................... 10
           Acquiring Knowledge and Skills in Research Methods ............................................. 12
           Mapping ..................................................................................................................... 12
           Training in Qualitative Research............................................................................... 13
           Developing the Work Plan ......................................................................................... 14
       DATA COLLECTION.............................................................................................................. 14
       MONITORING THE PROCESS ................................................................................................. 15
           The Feedback Sessions .............................................................................................. 15
           Field Monitoring........................................................................................................ 16
       DATA ANALYSIS AND REPORT WRITING ............................................................................. 17

CHAPTER THREE ............................................................ 18
THE REVIEW OF LITERATURE ..................................... 18
 3.0   INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................... 18
 3.1   EMERGING ISSUES .............................................................................................................. 19
           Conceptual Issues ...................................................................................................... 19
           Gender Sensitivity ...................................................................................................... 22
           The Issue of Rights and Children’s Participation...................................................... 25
           Methodological Issues ............................................................................................... 26
           Quality of Research on Street Children in Kenya...................................................... 27
Table of Content
 3.1    KEY FINDINGS .................................................................................................................. 28
          Establishing the Magnitude of the Problem............................................................... 28
          The Age of the Children:............................................................................................ 29
          Ethnicity of the Children............................................................................................ 30
          The Pull and Push factors.......................................................................................... 30
          Public Perceptions of Street Children ....................................................................... 31
          Greater Vulnerability of Girls ................................................................................... 31
          Activities Engaged in by Street Children ................................................................... 31
          Interventions and Organisations................................................................................ 32
 3.5    SUMMARY ........................................................................................................................ 33

CHAPTER FOUR .............................................................. 34
COUNTING THE NUMBERS ............................................ 34
 4.0   INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................... 34
 4.1   COUNTING THE CHILDREN .................................................................................................. 35
           The Age Profile of the Children ................................................................................. 36
           The Gender Composition ........................................................................................... 38
           Ethnicity ..................................................................................................................... 40
           Language Use ............................................................................................................ 41
           Schooling.................................................................................................................... 41
           Parents Occupation ................................................................................................... 43
 4.2   CARE, SUBSISTENCE AND HOME ........................................................................................ 44
           Children ‘of’ and ‘on’ the Street................................................................................ 45
           Years Spent on the Streets.......................................................................................... 46
           Profile of Caretakers of the Young ............................................................................ 48
 4.3   REASONS FOR STREETISM ................................................................................................... 49
 4.4   SUMMARY .......................................................................................................................... 53

CHAPTER FIVE ................................................................ 55
LIFE ON THE STREETS OF NAIROBI ............................ 55
 5.0    INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................. 55
 5.1   LEAVING HOME .................................................................................................................. 56
            Children “On” the Streets ......................................................................................... 59
 5.2   LIFE ON THE STREETS ......................................................................................................... 60
            Work and Subsistence ................................................................................................ 63
            Non-work and Friendship Activities .......................................................................... 66
            Time Use Patterns...................................................................................................... 72
            Denial of Their Rights................................................................................................ 72
 5.3   PERCEPTIONS AND ASPIRATIONS ........................................................................................ 76
       ATTITUDES TO SEX AND SEXUALITY .................................................................................. 78
       DEFINITION OF RIGHTS ....................................................................................................... 80
 5.4   INTERVENING ON BEHALF OF THE CHILDREN ...................................................................... 81
Table of Content
  5.5        SUMMARY .......................................................................................................................... 84

CHAPTER SIX .................................................................. 86
THE SILVER LINING: MOVING FORWARD.................. 86
  6.0        INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................... 86
  6.1        THE STUDY HIGHLIGHTS .................................................................................................... 86
  6.2         THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD ................................................................................................ 91
  6.3        LESSONS LEARNED ............................................................................................................. 92
                 Perspectives of the Research Consultants and Monitors........................................... 92
                 The Researchers’ Perspectives .................................................................................. 95
  6.4        POLICY IMPLICATIONS ........................................................................................................ 96
  6.5        RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ACTION ...................................................................................... 97
                 Using Education as a Key Strategy ........................................................................... 97
                 Girl Friendly Facilities and Structures...................................................................... 97
                 Insisting on Life Skills................................................................................................ 98
                 Promoting Transformative Pedagogy........................................................................ 98
                 Gender Responsive Vocational Skills Training and Income Generating Activities .. 99
                 Provision of Day Care for the Very Young................................................................ 99
                 Advocacy and Lobbying ............................................................................................. 99
                 Capacity-Building .................................................................................................... 100
                 Monitoring and Evaluation...................................................................................... 100
                 Disseminating the Study Findings ........................................................................... 100
  6.6        RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH ................................................................ 100

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................... 101
  KENYA.......................................................................................................................................... 101
  AFRICA ......................................................................................................................................... 102

ANNEXES …………………………………………….105
 Annex 1: Headcount Questionnaire (Kiswahili Version)
 Annex 2: Headcount Questionnaire (English Version)
 Annex 3: Under Five Headcount Questionnaire (Kiswahili Version)
 Annex 4: Under Five Headcount Questionnaire (English Version)
 Annex 5: Survey Questionnaire (Kiswahili Version)
 Annex 6: Survey Questionnaire (English Version)
 Annex 7: Organisations and Services Offered as Perceived by Respondents by Gender
 Annex 8: Data collection and field monitoring teams
Table of Content
List of Tables
Table 1: Roles and Responsibilities of Research Team Members ...................................................... 7
Table 2: Distribution of research sites per group .............................................................................. 11
Table 3: Number and Percentage of Children Living and Working on Nairobi Streets
         Disaggregated by Age ........................................................................................................ 36
Table 4: Age of Children Living and Working on the Streets by Locale and Gender ...................... 38
Table 5: Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi by Ethnicity ...................................... 40
Table 6: Number and Percentage of Children in School .................................................................. 42
Table 7: Number and Percentage of Children 'Of' the Streets of Nairobi ......................................... 45
Table 8: Age of person with child under the age of 5 ....................................................................... 48
Table 9: Reasons for Coming to the Streets by Locale and Gender (Pull Factors)........................... 50
Table 10: Number of Children who responded to being Orphans .................................................... 53
Table 11: Reasons for Leaving Home ............................................................................................... 56
Table 12: Reasons for coming to the streets...................................................................................... 57
Table 13: Children "On" the Streets by Gender and Locale.............................................................. 60
Table 14: Areas of Concentration of Children in Research Locales ................................................. 63
Table 15: Children's Work-Related Activities................................................................................... 63
Table 16: Recreational Activities of Girls and Boys ......................................................................... 67
Table 17: Activities done with friends disaggregated by gender of respondents.............................. 68
Table 18: Place of Worship by Gender ............................................................................................. 68
Table 19: Level of Schooling by Gender........................................................................................... 69
Table 20: Skills Training by Gender ................................................................................................. 71
Table 21: Problems Faced By Children on the Streets ..................................................................... 72
Table 22: People Feared Most by Children Living and Working in the Streets ............................... 75
Table 23: Public Perceptions and labelling of “Street” Children ...................................................... 76
Table 24: Perceptions of Street Children on Ways of Contracting AIDS ......................................... 79
Table 25: Future Plans of the Children for the Next One-Year ........................................................ 81
Table 26: Beneficiaries by Gender and Age...................................................................................... 82
Table 27: Evaluating Interventions.................................................................................................... 83

List of Figures
Figure 1: Distribution of Children by Research Locale .................................................................... 35
Figure 2: Distribution of Children by Age and Locale...................................................................... 37
Figure 3: Proportion of Children in the Under-Five Population by Gender...................................... 39
Figure 4: Percentage Distribution of Children by Ethnicity.............................................................. 41
Figure 5: Percent Distribution of Children in School........................................................................ 42
Figure 6: Mother’s Occupation by Gender of Respondent................................................................ 43
Figure 7: Father’s Occupation by Gender of Respondent ................................................................. 44
Figure 8: Numbers of Years Spent on the Street by % of respondents ............................................. 46
Figure 9: No. of Years Spent (in single years) on the Street by Gender ........................................... 47
Figure 10: Reasons for Coming to the Streets................................................................................... 49
Figure 11: The Gender Ratio of “Child-Beggars” counted in 12 locales in Nairobi......................... 64
Figure 12: Children Scavenging on the Streets by Gender ............................................................... 64
Figure 13: Level of Schooling by gender in %.................................................................................. 70
Table of Content
List of Textboxes
Box 1: Ice-Breaker............................................................................................................................... 8
Box 2: Lessons Learnt from the Presentations .................................................................................. 14
Box 3: Problems identified and highlighted during feedback sessions ............................................. 15
Box 4: A Street Child by any other name.......................................................................................... 22
Box 5: A Poem .................................................................................................................................. 59
Box 6: How we survive ..................................................................................................................... 61
Box 7: Chokora Mwana wa Pipa ....................................................................................................... 62
Box 8: Earning a Living from the Streets.......................................................................................... 65
Box 9: Sex syndicates........................................................................................................................ 66
Box 10: The Mungiki Factor ............................................................................................................. 69
Box 11: Police Harassment................................................................................................................ 73
Box 12 Promoting Positive Self-Images ........................................................................................... 77
Box 13: Takers and Beggars.............................................................................................................. 78
Box 14: In Case I Cough-----............................................................................................................. 80
Box 15: Perception of Organisations................................................................................................. 83
Box 16: The Friendly Street People .................................................................................................. 95


List of Annexes
Annex 1: Headcount Questionnaire (Kiswahili Version)
Annex 2: Headcount Questionnaire (English Version)
Annex 3: Under Five Headcount Questionnaire (Kiswahili Version)
Annex 4: Under Five Headcount Questionnaire
Annex 5: Survey Questionnaire (Kiswahili Version)
Annex 6: Survey Questionnaire (English Version)
Annex 7: Organisations and Services Offered as Perceived by Respondents by Gender
Annex 8: Data collection and field monitoring teams
Acronyms
AIDS      Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
AMREF     Africa Medical Research Foundation
CBs       Community Based
CBOs      Community Based Organisations
CNSP      Children in need of special protection
CRC       Convention on the Rights of the Child
FGD       Focus Group Discussion
GOK       Government of Kenya
GTZ       German Technical Cooperation
HIV       Human Immune Virus
ID        Identification Card
KCC       Kenya Cooperative Creameries
KSCP      Korogocho Street Children Programme
NCBDA     Nairobi Central Business District Association
NCNN      National Children in Need Network
NCPD      National Council for Population and Development
NGO       Non-Governmental Organisation
NR        No Response
PROSYR    Integrated Promotion of Street Children and Youth at Risk Project
PACR      Participatory Action Research with Children
SC – UK   Save the Children Alliance (United Kingdom)
SNV       The Netherlands Development Organisation
SPSS      Statistical Package for Social Sciences
STDs      Sexually Transmitted Diseases
STIs      Sexually Transmitted Infections
UNCRC     United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
UNICEF    United Nations Children’s Fund
WERK      Women Educational Researchers of Kenya
WWL       Watoto wa Lwanga
Acknowledgements

SNV/Kenya Street Children Programme together with GTZ/GoK-Project ‘Integrated Promotion of
Street Children and Youth at Risk’ acknowledge:


        The tireless efforts made by Partner Organisations, namely Baraka Za Ibrahim, Boma
        Rescue Centre- Dandora, Creative Learning Centre - Pumwani, Comima Covenant Centre
        - Kariobangi, Edelvale Home, GOAL Kenya, Imani Children’s Home, Korogocho Street
        Children Program (KSCP), Made in the Streets, Make a Better World, Mathare Hope
        Family Centre, Mukuru Promotion Centre, Pendekezo Letu, Rescue Dada, Sisters of
        Mercy DKA- office, Source of Solution Integrations Programme, Stars for Jesus/Kasarani,
        Slum Dolphin-Korogocho, Save the Children Centre, Tunza Dada Center/Kasarani,
        UNDUGU Society of Kenya, UNGANA Friends of AMREF, Watoto Wa Lwanga (WWL)
        and Youth against Drugs who provided staff to assist in the data collection in the field.

        Appreciate the efforts each one of the fifty-five social workers who spent four months
        tirelessly talking and questioning children – both day and night

        Sammy Mwangi and Jocelyn Muraya for your tireless efforts in coordinating and handling
        the administration of the research process, your personal effort was admirable

        WERK for taking on this challenging assignment on our behalf

        WERK members and friends who helped with data entry and report writing

        The community members and especially the children, parents and guardians who agreed to
        participate in the headcount and the survey.
Executive Summary
The study sought to look at the complex lives of the children living and or working in the streets of
12 selected locations of Nairobi, namely: Kibera, Korogocho, Kasarani, Nairobi West/Wilson
Airport/Madaraka, Pumwani/Ziwani/Kariakor/Majengo, City Centre, Buru Buru/Kariobangi
South/KCC,        Dandora/Maili     Saba,    Huruma/Kariobangi,       Embakasi,      Mukuru      and
Mathare/Eastleigh/Pangani by adopting a broad-based, two pronged approach. It sought to do a
headcount of these children profiling their lives in detail. Unlike previous studies that include
children from the sprawling slums this study only dealt with those children either living or working
on the streets. The study also attempted to go beyond the numbers to reconstuct their lives as they
live it on a daily basis.

The broad objectives of the study were: to generate information useful for project planning, to map
out the situation of street children in different areas of Nairobi, to distinguish the proportions of the
different categories of street children in Nairobi, to give the children an opportunity to express their
views regarding their lives on the street and to provide partner organisations with a situational
analysis of the children that they work with.

Providing Accurate Numbers: One of the most disputed aspects of knowledge on children living
and working on the streets of Nairobi is that related to their numbers. What is the magnitude of the
problem, quantitatively speaking? Official estimates talk of about 250,000 countrywide and about
50,000 to 60,000 in Nairobi alone; none these estimates has been substantiated through physical
enumeration of the children concerned.

The figure of 10,424 children counted and revealed by the present study is based on the headcount
of children who live and work in the streets of the above-mentioned 12 selected locales within
Nairobi District. To some, the number counted may appear to be rather conservative. While it is
true that there could be some element of under-counting, the findings may be validated on the basis
of the following:

           One of the greatest strength of the study is derived from the fact that the figures
           proposed are neither “guesstimates” nor even estimates of street children. They are
           based on the physical count of children including those under 5 years of age depended
           on their caretakers giving consent to be counted and interviewed.
           Though the research locales selected represent a large part of Nairobi District, other key
           areas such as Westlands, Dagoretti, Kawangware and Karen/Langata, believed to have
           large concentrations of the targeted children, were not covered. Thus the numbers
           presented refer to the population of the children in the study locales only and not to the
           whole of Nairobi.
           The major focus of the study was on children as defined by the CRC, that is, people
           eighteen years and below. Only about 18.2 percent of the numbers counted were youth
           aged between 18-25 years. According to key informants as well as the researchers, it is
           believed that full inclusion of this older age category would have pushed the total count
           upwards, since more and more street families and gangs of young men can be found in
           the city.
Making Girls Visible: Girls generally tend to be invisible in most studies on street children. The
recent study of street families in Nairobi’s central business district commissioned by the NCBDA in
2001 states that boys outnumber girls nine to one. However, according to the findings of this study
that covered 12 locales in Nairobi District girls constitute on average about 25 percent of the
population of children counted in Nairobi District. In Mukuru, Dandora/Maili Saba and
Mathare/Eastleigh/Pangani, the proportions are even higher (40%, 31% and 28% respectively).

Disaggregation of the findings by age reveals a narrower gender gap in the under-five age bracket.
As many as 45 percent of the under-five children were found to be females.

The Age Profile: The research reveals the dominance of eleven to fifteen year olds on the streets of
Nairobi, constituting over 50 percent of the valid 10,424 cases recorded. The children below the age
of five constitute 7 percent of the total study sample.

The Ethnic Factor: The study exposed that the majority of the children, regardless of gender,
identify themselves as Agikuyu. However, it also suggests that the population of Gikuyus among
the street children may have been grossly exaggerated in other studies. While the Gikuyus
constitute a significant proportion (46%) of all ethnic groups represented among the street children,
the non-Gikuyus in the street children population, put together, are more in number. This
notwithstanding, most of the children on the streets can speak the Kikuyu language. Other than
Kikuyu, knowledge of Kiswahili was found to be almost universal next the ‘Sheng’ – their own
street language.

Schooling: Overall, only 39.5 percent of the children counted and interviewed were attending
school while an overwhelming number of children were not participating in any form of formal or
non-formal education. Nevertheless a total of 48.5 percent of the girls and 36.5 percent of the boys
claimed to be involved in some form of educational programme. Interestingly in Korogocho 56.2
percent of the boys claimed to be going to school. The highest number of children who claimed to
be going to school fell within the age bracket of 11-15 years translating to 56.71 percent of the total
number of respondents.

Parental Occupation and Streetism: Unemployment among parents of the respondents was quite
high. Almost a quarter of the respondents claimed that their mothers did not work whereas less than
a tenth said their fathers did not. Analyses of the parental occupations mentioned suggest that these
are menial, poorly paying and often highly labour intensive jobs. The implications of this may be
many including inability to meet basic family obligations leading to broken homes, high incidences
of child neglect and abandonment, absentee parenthood and a tendency to encourage children to
obtain employment by any means in order to supplement the family income. This view is supported
by the findings that indicate that children are sent out to the streets to earn a living for themselves
and even to support other members of the family.

Most employed mothers were said to be engaged in petty trading while the fathers were reportedly
doing more skilled but also unskilled manual work. Some parents also engaged in household and
domestic work, farming, illicit brewing, and begging for a living. Others did professional /
managerial/technical or clerical work, proprietorship, guarding homes/premises, thievery/robbery or
engaged in commercial sex work for a living. The percentage of girls with non-working parents was
higher than that of boys (6.8% of the female responses and 17.1% of the male responses for the
mother’s occupation; 2.8% of the female and 6.9% of the male responses). A number of children
did not know anything about their parents’ occupations.

Children ‘Of’ and ‘On’ the Streets: Many of the children claimed that their parents were either
deceased or had abandoned them. Abandonment by or death of fathers was found to be more
common than abandonment by or death of mothers. The implication is that there were more single
mothers than there were fathers. The death of either or both parent and abandonment in turn
increases the likelihood of children turning or being turned out to the streets because of limited or
no resources for their sustenance within the extended family setting. Children either orphaned or
abandoned were found to be among those who had found permanent residence on the streets
(approximately 14% of the total sample). Among the children ‘of’ the streets, over 65 percent were
male. Most of the children who identified themselves fully with the streets were to be found in
Mukuru and City Centre.

Time spent on the Streets: About 63 percent of the children had been on the streets either on a part
time or full time basis for up to 5 years. Over 12 percent had been on the streets for between 6-10
years while another 13 percent could not remember when they had started to frequent the streets.

Caretakers of the Very Young: Two issues with regard to the characteristics of the caretakers of
infants on the streets stand out. Firstly, the bulk of the caretakers are females, particularly mothers
(56%) and sisters (12%); secondly, the age of the caretakers - who are either children (37%)
themselves or are youth below the age of thirty (36%). An additional point of interest is the
presence of young boys (7%) on the streets who take care of their younger siblings. Though fewer
in numbers than their female counterparts, their role in the looking after the even younger children
should not be ignored.

Reasons for Streetism: The study found that children were on the streets for a variety of reasons the
major ones being, in order of frequency: to earn money, search for food and/or look for recreation---
all described in the literature on street children as “pull” factors. These “pull” factors are
symptomatic for children from economically poor families who suffer from lack of adequate
attention and care at home as their parents spend most of their time and energy in securing the mere
survival. It is also not surprising that “domestic conflicts” and “domestic violence” featured as one
key “push” factor for streetism.

Significantly none of the children cited ‘sex’ as a reason for being on the streets. It is probable that
of necessity rather than on their own volition, once on the streets children are introduced into sexual
activity either for recreation or money or they are being forced into it and/or raped.

The Street Sub-Culture: Once on the streets others initiate the children into streetism in order for
them to survive. Children’s rights are violated constantly as they are often harassed and exploited
and they exploit others in turn. In absence of adult care and guidance they are forced to assume
adult responsibilities and take care of themselves and sometimes their siblings and fellow children
at a tender age. Out of necessity they have to look for work and they are easy to exploit through
meagre or sometimes no pay. They are thrust into a bleak, harsh and depraved environment often
fraught with constant and sustained danger in various forms such as:
•   Harassment
•   Violence amongst themselves and towards others
•   Drug taking and trafficking
•   Sexual exploitation accompanied by a high risk of contracting STIs and HIV/AIDS
•   Loneliness and fear
•   Physical and emotional abuse and neglect
•   Starvation
•   Exposure to the elements
•   Early, unplanned and uncontrolled pregnancy and parenthood
•   Poor hygienic and sanitation conditions

The Vicious Cycle of Negativity and Violence: During interviews with the members of the security
forces and the public and the children themselves during the three children’s workshops held it
emerged that children felt that they were unfairly blamed by members of the public for theft,
robbery and other infractions of the law. Often they were beaten and harassed for real of imagined
misdemeanours. The younger children, especially boys identified the police as among the persons
feared most because they continually harassed them. Girls feared the older street boys the most
because they organised gang rapes sometimes ‘to teach them a lesson” if they declined to have sex
with someone, break up with someone or as mere punishment. The girls reported that they could be
taken advantage of and being gang raped if they merely visited another base and they were known
to be unmarried [without a boyfriend protecting them].

Younger children expressed fears of being stolen/abducted and often felt insecure when strangers
approached them. The older girls cited incidents of colleagues who had been sexually molested and
subjected to bestiality. These experiences heightened their sense of insecurity and vulnerability.

Recreation and Socialisation Activities: Life on the streets is not all about violence and abuse. The
children develop strong friendships and spirit of mutual support and assistance. They play, sing,
watch videos, tell each other stories and go to church together among other activities. Many of the
recreational activities that girls and boys engage in are similar, but there are gender-based
differences too. More boys than girls admitted to aggressive behaviour and the usage of a wider
variety of drugs.

Defending Street Life: Some of the children even went to the extent of defending street life. They
rationalised that the streets provide them with food, drinks and money. They enjoy the freedom to
move around, not to be commanded around, to smoke, sniff glue, and for the boys, to have girl
friends.

Attitudes to Sex and Sexuality: Though boys tend to see sex as recreation, for girls it often turns
into a commercial activity or a way to secure a sense of belonging and/even protection through their
‘boy friends’. Both genders are aware that unprotected sex may lead to death and disease but few
stated to be using protection/condoms. Their awareness of the causes of STIs and HIV/AIDS is
tempered by a mix of facts and fiction.
Children’s perceptions of existing interventions: About half of children interviewed had some
knowledge about various organisations that offer services to street children. However, this
awareness did not necessarily translate into utilisation of and/or participation in the same. Education
tops the list of benefits that the children said they derived from their involvement with these
organisations, followed by food and clothes. Few had benefited from medical assistance or
recreational activities such as football. Among the main reason for non-participation was the dislike
of the mode and degree of discipline enforced in schools and centres including rigid rules and
regulations, and the curtailment of their freedom of movement and association. Both boys and girls
also noted that while some organisations should be appropriately rewarded for the good work they
were doing, others should be scrutinised, as their activities did not benefit the street children.

The following policy recommendations were suggested; policy planners must adopt multi-faceted,
multi-targeted and multi-tiered approaches if they have to make an impact on the lives of children
on the streets. It is necessary to have clear policy guidelines regarding working with children on the
streets to ensure that they are not exploited, their problems are not aggravated and their rights
protected.

As for recommendations for action the following suggestions were given: child-friendliness of
institutions working with street children whether formal or non-formal should be increased and so
should the provision of psychosocial life skills and the application of transformative pedagogy that
is learner-centred, interactive and participatory.

Other suggestions given are, provision of day care for the very young so as to enable their
caretakers (often teenage mothers) to attend classes and engage in income generation activities;
advocacy and lobbying at different levels for the implementation of the rights of children pushed
and pulled to the streets by various factors; and capacity building targeting a variety of service
providers including teachers, law enforcement agents and social workers on relevant knowledge and
skills.
                                                                       Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




                                           CHAPTER ONE
                         INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY

1.0     Background
The appearance of children who seemed to spend most of their time on the street in Nairobi city can
be traced back to the late 1960’s. Since the 1980s, such children have become increasingly visible.
Today, their presence in the streets of Nairobi is recognised to be a serious problem that requires
urgent redress. Not only have their numbers grown over the years, their lifestyles and the display of
overtly aggressive behaviour make them the subjects of suspicion and hostility by the public at
large and the law enforcement agencies in particular. These notwithstanding there are an estimated
250 organisations in the city that claim to be intervening on behalf of children living and working
on the streets. A quick assessment of these efforts indicates that most of these organisations are
focused more on the symptoms rather than on prevention or eradication of the deeper structural
causes of the problem.

Part of the problem of designing effective interventions is the lack of adequate and reliable
information. Current projections of the population of children living and working on the streets of
Nairobi and other urban and rural areas are at best “guesstimates”. There has hardly been any
initiative geared towards collecting and consolidating data on these children. The recent survey
conducted by AMREF, though focusing on the Dagoretti Division of Nairobi only, is an exception1.

Moreover, the little data that is available tends not to be disaggregated, tending to categorise all
poor urban children as “street children”. But clustering all poor urban children under the generic
descriptor of “street children” distorts reality. In addition, such clustering cloaks the diversity of
age, gender, ethnicity, religion and even sub-cultures that characterise children living and working
on the streets. Consequently, the programme designer is unable to make any distinctions with regard
to the peculiar characteristics and specific needs of the various groups of children thus running the
danger of developing inappropriate interventions.

It is in view of the above weaknesses in available information on “street children” that SNV/Kenya
Street Children Programme and GTZ/Integrated Promotion of Street Children and Youth at Risk
Project (PROSYR) in partnership with various other interested organisations decided to undertake a
study of those groups of urban children commonly referred to as “street children”. The Women
Educational Researchers of Kenya (WERK), a Nairobi-based professional association dedicated to
gender equity and equality through linking research to action and advocacy, was contracted to co-
ordinate the research process and provide technical in-put into the study.


1
 Unfortunately, it was not possible to get more than a draft Executive Summary of the report despite several attempts to
obtain the full report.




                                                                                                                      1
                                                                         Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




1.1        Aims and Objectives of the Study
Aims and objectives of the study, as formulated by the contracting agencies, were to:
            a) Generate information-quantitative and qualitative-useful for project planning by
               service providers of street children in Nairobi
            b) Map out the situation of street children in the different areas of Nairobi
            c) Distinguish the proportions of the different categories of street children in
               Nairobi
            d) Give the children an opportunity to express their views regarding their lives on
               the street
            e) Provide partner organisations with a situational analysis of the children that they
               work with
            f) Give an indication of the exact numbers of street children to form the basis for
               well-informed planning at policy level
            g) Build the research capacity of members of organisations providing services to
               street children and document this process.


1.2        Conceptualisation of the Research Population
For the purpose of the study, the research population was perceived to be children living and
working on the streets. This definition was deliberately adopted to include all groups of children
who, whether on a full-time or part-time basis, regard the streets of Nairobi, at a minimum, as the
place where they get their subsistence. Some of these children, it was recognised from the outset,
would be school-goers and have homes and families that they go back to on a daily basis. Others
have no homes to go back to and therefore would be residing full time on the streets.

From the onset, key stakeholders involved in the research process agreed that children living and
working on the streets are usually to be found in the following areas2:
            •     Garbage dumps
            •     Next to the Nairobi river
            •     Market areas
            •     Abandoned vehicles and houses
            •     Playgrounds and open fields
            •     Shopping centres, hotels and bars
            •     Mosques, especially on Fridays where they might converge to get alms from the
                  Muslim devotees after prayers
            •     Scrap paper and metal collection and selling points
            •     Remand homes, cells and courts
            •     Slaughter houses
            •     Drop-in centres
            •     Fuel stations
            •     Car parks

2
    These locations were identified during an initial stakeholders’ meeting described in more detail in Chapter Two.


                                                                                                                        2
                                                                       Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



         •      Bus stops
         •      Churches
         •      Cinema/video halls
         •      Public toilets
         •      Street junctions and traffic lights
         •      Chuoms3 and bases4

In the current study, most of the above locations were visited within the various sites to count the
children. However, there were some notable exceptions. For example, remand homes, cells and
courts were considered to be restricted areas and as such out of reach to the researchers.

The definition of “children” agreed upon in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is
those people below the age of eighteen. This definition was used in the study. However, it was
recognised that subjective definitions of children may exist in the streets, and who we perceive to be
children may not be so considered by the research population itself. Subjective definitions of
children would most likely be influenced by African traditions like circumcision for boys, and
marriage and motherhood for girls.

It was also recognised that sometimes it would not be possible to adhere to the upper age limit of
eighteen years very strictly. In the first place, the children may not themselves be sure about their
age. In the second place, researchers may interview some who appear to be under eighteen years
only to find out later that the respondent is actually older than estimated. In situations of
malnutrition, the likelihood of people appearing younger than their biological age is quite real. At
the end of the day, the age of the children was bound to be subjective based on what they believed
their age was since we had no objective way of verifying it.

Eventually, it was agreed that theoretically, the primary focus of the study would be on children as
defined by the CRC, that is, individuals between the ages of 0-185 as perceived by the research
subjects themselves or in the case of the under-five age group, as estimated by their caretakers.
Young people (19-25) would constitute a secondary target of the research.

Another term that posed a problem in defining was that of “street”. In the present context street was
taken to refer to not only the main thoroughfares and side roads within the research locales, but also
the alleyways whether tarmacked or otherwise.

These were negotiated definitions. As recounted in chapter two, the key terms were discussed and
the definitional parameters agreed upon between the research co-ordinating team represented by the
WERK members and members of organisations working with street children nominated to be part
of the field team.



3
  Places designated as residences by the street children.
4
  Locations where there is a concentration of economic activities by street chilldren.
5
  In practical terms, it was of course not possible to count children who were below the age of zero. Generally, however,
babies and infants below the age of five years found with older children or parents/guardians were included in the
sample as long as the care-takers gave their consent to give information pertaining to them.


                                                                                                                       3
                                                            Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



A term that provokes debate is “street children”. The present study recognises the derision with
which many people regard children so classified. Given this negative connotation it is used with
caution, shorn of any negative qualities that the concept tends to conjure in the minds of the most
people.


1.3    The Research Methodology and geographical coverage
With Nairobi as the principal study locale, twelve sites were purposively selected for the
quantitative component, namely: Kibera, Korogocho, Kasarani, Nairobi West/Wilson
Airport/Madaraka, Pumwani/Ziwani/Kariakor/Majengo, City Centre, Buru Buru/Kariobangi
South/KCC,      Dandora/Maili      Saba,    Huruma/Kariobangi,     Embakasi,     Mukuru       and
Mathare/Eastleigh/Pangani and three of these for the qualitative part, namely: City Centre,
Korogocho and Mukuru. The data collection exercise was conducted mainly by staff seconded to
the research project by organisations involved with the protection and care of children living or
working on the streets. The research design was developed by WERK with participation of the
partner organisations and in-put from the initiating agencies (SNV and GTZ). Details of the
research methodology and process are captured in Chapter Two.


1.4    Time Frame
The study was conducted in two phases. Phase I which consisted of the quantitative component and
included the headcount of children living and working on the streets as well as the administration of
the survey questionnaire, took place between September 2001 and February 2002. The second
phase focusing on the qualitative research overlapped with the end of the first phase, the process
beginning in the third week of January and continuing into the second week of February 2002. This
was due to an extension of the quantitative fieldwork. (See section on Lessons Learnt in Chapter
6.3)


1.5    Organisation of the Report
The research is presented in two volumes: Volume one contains the analytical report while volume
two presents the quantitative data in form of tables. This is the first of the two volumes.

Volume one is divided into six substantive chapters. Chapter One provides the background to the
study; Chapter two describes the process of instrument development, training for the fieldwork, data
collection and analysis; and Chapter Three reviews literature pertinent to the research. The research
findings are presented in Chapters Four and Five with the former summarising the findings of the
Head Count questionnaire, and the latter integrating the data derived from the Survey Questionnaire
and obtained through qualitative methods. Finally, in the third part of the volume, comprising
Chapter Six, the conclusions, including the lessons learnt (incorporating the experiences of the field
researchers) are drawn and recommendations made.

In addition to the main body of the report is a comprehensive bibliography of the literature
reviewed. The annexes present copies of the various research instruments that were used during the
data                                      collection                                      process.



                                                                                                           4
                                                            Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




                                    CHAPTER TWO
                          THE RESEARCH PROCESS

2.0     Introduction
As mentioned in the previous chapter, the study was guided by the twin principles of inclusiveness
and participation. This was reflected in the entire process: in the composition of the research teams,
developing the design, the collection of data and finally analysis and report writing. Both
quantitative and qualitative components of the study were conducted within the qualitative research
paradigm. This chapter recapitulates the research process, describing how the study was
conceptualised, definitions negotiated, instruments developed and data collected among other
issues.


2.1    The Research Framework
There are fundamental differences between quantitative and qualitative research paradigms that go
beyond just numbers or the absence of them. The two types of research are based on contrasting
assumptions about the nature of the social world and social reality. The quantitative research
paradigm, on the one hand, assumes that the social world and social reality may be studied in the
same way as the natural world of elements, trees and animals. The qualitative research paradigm, on
the other hand, perceives social reality, actively constructed (and deconstructed) by human beings,
to be strikingly different and therefore requiring very different methods of study. It also recognises
that social reality is not monolithic and homogenous; instead, one may talk of multiple realities
operating within the same broad socio-cultural and economic contexts.

Traditionally, the quantitative research paradigm had dominated the social sciences claiming to be
more “objective” and hence “scientific”. There had been a tendency to dismiss research conducted
within the qualitative paradigm as being anecdotal and inferior. In recent years, these views have
convincingly been challenged. It is increasingly being realised that to adequately understand the
social world of human beings, and develop relevant interventions, qualitative research is necessary
and appropriate. This is particularly true in the case of the study of minority groups, such as the
subjects of the present assessment, whose voices tend to remain inaudible and spirit shackled within
the more conventional research traditions.

The adoption of a qualitative research framework in the present study may thus be justified on
several grounds:
    1.      It allows for a flexible research design;
    2.      It allows visibility of the dispossessed and deprived and their voices to be heard;
    3.      It allows the collection of sociologically significant data (statistical data
            obtained within a quantitative research paradigm may not be sociologically
            significant); and
    4.      It allows capturing multiple realities rather than a monolithic view of the social
            world


                                                                                                           5
                                                             Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



It may be argued that the present research used two quantitative instruments to obtain the bulk of
the data. While this is true, it must be pointed out that the instruments were developed and
administered within the qualitative paradigm. In addition, more overtly qualitative methods
including workshopping, key informant interviewing, games and focus group discussions were also
used for the collection of data. The qualitative framework also guided the selection of the sample
and data analysis processes.


2.2    The Data Sources and Instruments
The research used multiple methods of data collection and various sources of data, both primary and
secondary. Among the methods used were:

       •   Document analysis using a document review guide. The review included the
           review of published and unpublished literature (See Chapter Three)
       •   Head count using a brief researcher administered questionnaire for the over-five
           children. A total of 9,412 interviewer-assisted questionnaires were administered.
       •   Another questionnaire, even shorter than the one for the Headcount, to identify
           those less than five years of age in all the twelve research locales were
           administered to any street person found with a child below the age of five. A
           total of 727 questionnaires were completed in this category.
       •   Survey using a semi-structured questionnaire administered to children who
           volunteered to give detailed information about themselves in all the twelve
           research sites. A total of 606 survey questionnaires were completed, assisted by
           the interviewers.
       •   Children’s workshops conducted in three selected sites (i.e. City Centre,
           Korogocho and Mukuru) on the 13th, 14th and 16th February respectively.
           Majority of the workshop participants were boys ranging in age between the ages
           of 10-24. (More details provided in Chapter Five).
       •   Interviews using interview guides to obtain additional information from children
           as well as adults working in relevant organisations.
       •   Essays written by some of the researchers reflecting on their fieldwork
           experiences.



2.3        The Composition of the Research Teams
The combination of a multi-site study with a participatory process resulted in a research team that
was both broad-based and large. The initiating agencies, SNV and GTZ, WERK members and the
staff of partner organisations and volunteers were all part of the team albeit in different capacities.
Specifically, SNV-Kenyan Street Children Programme provided the overall co-ordination and
technical insight. Technical insight was also provided by GTZ that also ensured logistical support.
The roles and responsibilities of the various key actors comprising the team are summarised in
Table 1.




                                                                                                            6
                                                            Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




Table 1: Roles and Responsibilities of Research Team Members


   The Team Members            Roles and Responsibilities
   GTZ, SNV                            •   Conceptualising the research
                                       •   Commissioning and funding of research
                                       •   Management of process especially in terms of
                                           providing logistical support
                                       •   Negotiating broad technical guidelines for
                                           implementation of research
                                       •   Participating in monitoring of process
   Partner Organisations               •   Providing staff and volunteers to conduct the field
                                           work
                                       •   Participating in the capacity-building workshops
                                       •   Collecting the data (quantitative and qualitative)
                                       •   Participating in the feedback sessions
                                       •   Submitting self-reflections on research experiences
                                           (optional)
   WERK                                •   Developing research framework and design
                                       •   Developing draft instruments and guiding process
                                           for finalisation of the same
                                       •   Capacity-building field researchers in data
                                           collections methods and ethics
                                       •   Monitoring the data-collection process
                                       •   Providing personnel for data collection as and when
                                           necessary
                                       •   Cleaning, coding, entering and analysing the data
                                       •   Writing the study report




2.4    The Research Process

The Preparatory Phase: Ensuring Participation
The preparatory phase of the project was participatory and comprised several interrelated and
sometimes overlapping components. Each of the components is described in some detail in the
following pages.

Stakeholders’ Meetings
An initial meeting with various stakeholders initiated by SNV was held on 28th August 2001. The
meeting was attended by thirty-four individuals, most of whom were heads of various organisations
drawn from the eight administrative divisions of Nairobi working with children living and working
on the streets. At this meeting, SNV invited interested organisations to work together in establishing
the magnitude of the problem confronting them. Following discussions that took place, it was
agreed that:


                                                                                                           7
                                                                    Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



        •   Since many of the partner organisations were already involved in street work in
            their localities, it would make sense for them to be involved in the process of
            data collection.
        •   This involvement would gain legitimacy and also ensure ownership of the
            research process.
        •   The participating organisations would essentially be the primary consumers of
            the data emanating from the study
        •   The staff involved in the study would receive training in research skills and be
            awarded certificates at the end of the exercise.

The meeting established the interest and the theoretical commitment at least of the partner
organisations in participating in the research.

A second stakeholders’ meeting was held in September 2001. It was at this meeting that WERK
was brought on board. About seventy social workers nominated by various Nairobi-based
organisations working with street children to participate in the Head Count attended the meeting. It
was chaired by SNV while two senior WERK researchers acted as facilitators.

The purpose of the meeting was:
        (a) to introduce WERK, the research co-ordinators, to SNV/GTZ partner organisations
            involved with street work;
        (b) to agree together on the broad participatory research framework and the roles and
            responsibilities of the various partners;
        (c) to establish the knowledge level that partners had on research methods including
            exposure to the different data collection techniques;
        (d) to provide space for brainstorming and agreeing on the criteria for the recruitment of
            researchers from partner organisations; and
        (e) to map out the geographical areas that partner organisations present would prefer to
            operate in relation to the proposed study.


Participatory facilitation was
used to achieve the above                                     Box 1: Ice-Breaker
objectives. After general
                                   a) Sketch a map to your house
introductions,     participants
                                   b) Pair up with the person seated next to you. If that person
were assigned an activity (see
                                      happens to be your friend, or colleague and knows your house,
Box 1). The purpose of the
                                      then pair up with somebody who does not know where you stay
activity was manifold. First,
                                   c) Explain the directions (of your places of residence) to each
it was designed to break the
                                      other
ice between the various
participants, many of who
                                   This exercise helped to highlight the importance of rapport building and utilising ones
were meeting for the first         observational skills (including skills of listening and remembering) in the process of
time. Second, it was meant to      research.
                                                                                      Source: Second Stakeholder Meeting
highlight the importance of
rapport building, having good
observation skills and following   instructions, all ingredients of good researching. The activity thus


                                                                                                                         8
                                                            Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



served as an introduction to conducting field research, and provided the focal point for further
discussions on the research techniques and issues.

This meeting was thus crucial from the perspective of the study on children living and working on
the streets. It allowed the research co-ordinators to assess the level of exposure of those present to
various research methods. In this respect, it was found that the vast majority of the participants had
little or no knowledge of what research entails. A very few had been involved as assistants in
quantitative surveys and/or taking notes in focus group discussions (FGDs). The information gained
from the meeting consequently helped to design the training for the fieldwork based on an
assessment of their needs.

During this meeting, consensus was negotiated on the qualities expected in those aspiring to join the
research teams. These qualities included:

        •   Ability to speak one or more languages used by the research subjects
        •   Good interpersonal skills
        •   Willingness to learn and to work long hours
        •   Ability to capture views/opinions without imposing one’s own perspectives
        •   Ability to be team players

It was agreed that the every effort would be made to achieve gender and age balances in the
composition of the research teams.

The criteria for selecting the sites for research were also identified during this meeting. Already,
during the first stakeholders meeting, fourteen potential sites had been identified. Partner
organisations interested in participating in the field-work phase of the study were required to choose
from among these the site that
        •   They felt most comfortable working in
        •   Was closest to one’s place of residence and/or operations
        •   They were already working in.

This process helped to re-cluster and reduce the number of proposed research sites from fourteen to
twelve. There were two main reasons that emerged for the exclusion of some of the sites identified
during the first stakeholders meeting from the study, viz.
        1. Karen, Langata, Mwiki and Ruai were excluded because partner organisations
           operating in those areas could not be identified.
        2. Dagoretti, Riruta and Kawangware were not included to avoid duplication
           because AMREF had just concluded a study on vulnerable children, including
           street children.

It also helped the organisers to allocate volunteers from Ungana (Young friends of AMREF) to the
sites that had very few researchers.




                                                                                                           9
                                                           Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



Drafting the Instruments
The next step in the process was drafting the instruments. For this WERK nominated an internal
technical committee (See Annex for list of members) to construct the initial drafts of the Headcount
and Survey questionnaires. These drafts, constructed in English, were presented for critical
discussion at the Orientation Workshops (see section below), together with a Kiswahili version.
WERK members had initially done the translation.

The Research Team went through the two questionnaires, item by item reviewing them for
relevance, language and length. This was done in three stages: (a) in break-out groups; (b) in the
two parallel workshop groups; and (c) finally in a joint plenary where they debated the aspects they
considered to be contentious. It was agreed that the Kiswahili version, revised according to the
recommendations of the participants, would be administered to the research subjects, keeping in
mind that the interviewers would possibly have to “translate” the instruments into the specific
dialect used by the children in particular research sites.

It was also recommended that the Research Consultants should develop a third instrument to be
administered to the care-takers of children under five. This instrument, together with the other two,
was piloted the week of 8-12 October 2001. Based on the experiences of the researchers in using
them, the instruments were further modified. The English versions of the final questionnaires are
attached in Annex 7.

Building Research Capacity
Two orientation workshops for the researchers were held: first, before the commence-ment of the
quantitative data collection and the second, prior to the qualitative component. Three and two days
were spent on the quantitative and qualitative workshops respectively. Facilitated by the
consultants, these workshops served to build the capacity of the research team.

An additional one-day training was provided to researchers who were recruited into the team at a
later date to augment the numerical strength of the researchers. The new team members were
trained only on the administration of the Head Count and Under-Five questionnaires.

Participants at the first workshop, numbering some fifty participants were divided into two groups
based on the sites they had said they would work in. (See Table 2) In Group A, there were twenty-
six participants while in Group B there were twenty-four. Group A and B had parallel sessions
based on a common agenda developed by WERK prior to the workshop. Each group was facilitated
by two senior researchers from WERK assisted by others in capacity-building positions (see names
of Project Team Members).




                                                                                                        10
                                                           Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




Table 2: Distribution of research sites per group
                    GROUP A                                           GROUP B
   Research Sites                No of               Research Sites                   No of
                                 Researchers                                          Researcher
                                                                                      s
   Kibera                        5                   Mathare-Eastleigh-Pangani        6
   Nairobi West-Wilson-          2                   Korogocho                        5
   Madaraka
   City Centre                   5                   Pumwani-Kariokor-Ziwani-         3
                                                     Majengo
   Mukuru                        7                   Dandora-Maili Saba               3
   Embakasi                      4                   Kasarani                         3
   KCC-BuruBuru-Kariobangi       3                   Huruma-Kariobangi North          5
   South
   TOTAL                         26                  TOTAL                            25


   The workshop objectives, as set by the Research Consultants, were to
        •   develop common understanding of the purpose of the proposed study on
            children living and working in the streets;
        •   familiarise the research team members with research methods appropriate to
            such a study;
        •   give them practice with the use of the Head Count and Survey Questionnaires;
        •   solicit the input of the research teams in the finalisation of the quantitative
            instruments;
        •   map the concentrations of children living and working on the streets by site as
            perceived by the organisations working with street children in the site (locale);
            and
        •   draw the site boundaries.

These above objectives were negotiated and reformulated together with the workshop participants.
To attain the above objectives, the workshop used a dominantly participatory methodology. The
specific facilitation methods used included:
        •   Games and exercises
        •   Buzz groups discussions
        •   Break-out group discussions
        •   Simulations
        •   Oral presentations/lectures
        •   Mapping

The introductory part of the workshop comprised an icebreaking exercise, which was meant to
show how well one responds to questions. A word was written out on VIPP cards. These cards were
then cut into half. The participants were then asked to find the matching half of the word, introduce
themselves to the other partner, discuss the word, and come up with an agreed meaning of the word.


                                                                                                        11
                                                                Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



The partners were also required to write one expectation and one fear that each one of them had of
the workshop, recording them on VIPP cards, and posting the cards on the wall.

During the plenary, it was noted that some of the expectations and fears would actually be
addressed during the workshop such as gaining an understanding of research methods, while others
would be addressed immediately after the end of the workshop. Acquiring skills in doing research,
for example, was initiated during the workshop period through simulated interviews and later,
during the data collection process. Other expectations and fears were related to problems that they
anticipated might crop up during the research process and strategies for dealing with these. The
issue of safety and security of the field researchers was a recurring concern.


Acquiring Knowledge and Skills in Research Methods
As noted previously, the major focus of the first capacity-building workshop was to familiarise the
Research Team members with knowledge and skills in research methods. The workshop facilitators
presented a quick overview of social research. The overview included the following components:
            •    Definitions and explanations of quantitative and qualitative research paradigms
            •    Data collection techniques associated with each of the paradigms
            •    Different sampling types and methods
            •    Various sources of data
            •    Data analysis

A considerable amount of time was spent on giving the participants skills in building rapport with
research subjects as an essential part of the data collection process in general and in conducting
effective interviews in particular. The Research Team members were at the same time exposed to
ethical issues relating to fieldwork and reporting such as obtaining informed consent of the research
subjects, maintaining confidentiality and resolving personal and professional conflicts. As already
mentioned, the participants got opportunity to improve their interviewing skills by using the draft
Head Count Questionnaire.

Mapping
One of the anticipated problems was that of doing the headcount accurately in the absence of
adequate information about their places of residence and work. Therefore, it was felt that one of the
first steps would be to map the whereabouts of the children in each of the selected study sites. In
order to do this, each of the two parallel workshop participants were divided into groups based on
what they had identified as their work site. They were then asked to draw the boundaries of the sites
and indicate within these boundaries the following:
            •    The sleeping/living locations of the children (e.g. chuoms6)
            •    The work/subsistence locations (including dump sites)
            •    The recreational locations
            •    Major landmarks characterising the sites including the main roads and buildings
                 (churches, schools, hospitals etc).


6
    A place to sleep in the language of street children.


                                                                                                             12
                                                                             Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



Each group drew the preliminary maps on large sheets of brown paper (pasted together as required)
using coloured markers. During the joint plenary session, the maps were presented and discussed
for accuracy, overlap and gaps. In case of overlap, site boundaries were negotiated between the
concerned groups and consensus achieved. It should be pointed out that the site boundaries do not
necessarily coincide with official (Kenyan) administrative boundaries.

Where gaps in geographical coverage were identified, two alternatives were proposed:
            1. First, it was agreed that some of the gaps would be addressed by those within or
               near whose site boundaries they were appearing. For example, with the
               Pumwani and City Centre teams, it was agreed that the latter would incorporate
               a "base"7 that had been left out.
            2. Second, for specific sites, it was agreed that the gaps would remain as gaps for
               the time being given constraints in time and resources. This was especially so for
               the Embakasi team whose coverage included areas such as Mwiki and Ruai but
               which could not be visited due to the aforementioned constraints.

Once consensus on the boundaries was achieved, the maps were dated and handed over to SNV for
further processing after the workshop. A professional cartographer was contracted to reduce the
maps to A3 size to make them friendly for use by the field researchers. They were then distributed
to the field teams to guide the fieldwork process.

It is important to note that the maps drawn during the workshop were considered to be very
tentative drafts. The accuracy of the details were expected to be validated during the field work by
the researchers, and the corrections made so that by the end of the research period, the maps would
reflect the reality on the ground at the time the research was conducted. For example, in the case of
Embakasi, the locations noted on the map were found to be non-existent after piloting. In other
cases, it was found that children had moved on to other places because dumping sites had been
moved. [See Supplementary Annexes]


Training in Qualitative Research
A further two-day training in qualitative research methods was conducted on 21st and 22nd January
2002. The workshop had sixteen participants, drawn from the three sites selected for the qualitative
phase of the study. These sites were: City Centre, Korogocho and Mukuru. Initially, Kibera had
been identified as a possible site for the qualitative phase. However, it had to be dropped following
security concerns resulting from the violence that rocked the area during part of October and most
of November 2001.

During the workshop, the facilitators took the participants through the more common qualitative
research techniques (Focus Group Discussions, In-depth interviews and observations) as well as
creative methodologies (e.g. role plays, puppetry, poetry, song/music). The importance of detailed
note-taking, transcription and recording was emphasised.



7
    A place where economic activities of street children are concentrated.


                                                                                                                          13
                                                                     Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



Participants were given hands-on experience in developing and using creative qualitative techniques
of research. They were divided into the following thematic areas derived from assessment of the
issues arising from the quantitative research phase:
        •    Schooling
        •    Health challenges
        •    Sexuality and transition issues and relationships
        •    Conflict with the law
        •    Self-perception vis-à-vis community perceptions
Each group was assigned an issue that they were required to pursue using one of the creative
techniques discussed earlier in the workshop. The presentation by each group was critiqued by the
others and used as further learning points for improving their techniques of data collection using the
selected techniques.


       Box 2: Lessons Learnt from the Presentations
       •      Researchers should not pre-empt information
       •      They need to probe further for depth
       •      They need to use language that the children are familiar with. Rapport would be
              strengthened if the interviewers used a bit of sheng8
       •      The researchers would need to strengthen their interviewing techniques to ensure
              that they are able to guide the flow of the discussions in the desired direction
              without biasing the responses.
                                                                           Source: Qualitative Orientation Workshop



Developing the Work Plan
A tentative workplan was developed during the first training workshop to cover the quantitative
phase of the study. This workplan was subsequently revised and the time period extended to the
first two months of 2002. The qualitative phase of the research was similarly scheduled for
February 2002.


Data Collection
The collection of the data commenced after the pilot period though it was agreed that the
information obtained during the pilot phase (especially the Headcount component) would constitute
part of the findings. The actual period of data collection varied from site to site, depending on the
time available to the researchers as well as the situation on the ground. In most cases, the teams
worked three days a week with other competing duties taking up the remaining days of the week.
Time staggering was also done to ensure maximum access to the targeted children. For example, the
City Centre team worked during the night to include the children involved in night street work.
There were six sessions of night fieldwork between 7:00-11:00 p.m. over the data collection period.


8
 Comparable to pidgin, sheng is the jargon commonly used by street children in urban centres of Kenya, including
Nairobi. It uses adaptations of English, Kiswahili and other African indigenous languages.


                                                                                                                      14
                                                                        Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



With the exception of four sites (City Centre, Kibera, Huruma/Kariobangi North and Pumwani) all
the other sites concluded the collection of quantitative data by the third week of December. By the
time of conclusion of the exercise in December, researchers at most of the sites had estimated that
they had covered more than 90 percent of the targeted children in their areas. Among the external
factors that disrupted the field work were:

         •   The bloody rent dispute clashes in Kibera already referred to in an earlier section.
         •   The clashes between the revivalist Mungiki9 sect and matatu10 touts for the
             control of the bus terminals in Dandora. In Racecourse and Kamukunji areas,
             children and youth could not be counted as a result.


Monitoring the Process
Two mechanisms were put in place to monitor the fieldwork process, i.e. (a) feedback sessions and
(b) field monitoring.

The Feedback Sessions



    Box 3: Problems identified and highlighted during feedback sessions
    ♦   Hostility especially from the older children. A way of countering this problem was to
        interview the older children as an entry point to get to the target group.
    ♦   Lack of patience from the children (especially while interviewing them for the survey
        questionnaire) due to glue sniffing and other competing priorities.
    ♦   Children asking for money/food in exchange for being interviewed.
    ♦   Harassment especially of the female researchers by the male street children. This was
        countered by ensuring that the teams were gender balanced.
    ♦   Research vis-à-vis social work issues. At times, the children were too ill to be interviewed
        or the researcher was aware that the information being provided by a particular child
        was not true. Since most of the researchers also doubled up as social workers, it was
        difficult at times to draw the line between research and social work.
    ♦   Walking long distances in search of the children.
    ♦   The high rate of mobility of street children from one geographical area to another.
    ♦   The children wanted to know the immediate benefit of the research for them. This had
        implications in terms of whether the children would agree to be interviewed or not
    ♦   Poor weather conditions.
                                                                                        Source: Feedback Sessions 2001



The initial project design incorporated at least three feedback sessions scheduled to intersperse the
duration of the data collection period. The purpose of these sessions were to take stock of progress

9
  The Mungiki Sect is a revivalist cult advocating for a reversal to Kikuyu traditions including female genital mutilation.
Mungiki members have been known to use force to compel people to follow their ways and are often in conflict with
the law enforcement agencies.
10
   Privately owned public transportation, usually mini-buses.


                                                                                                                         15
                                                            Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



made in data collection per site, share experiences, identify problems encountered, develop possible
strategies to deal with the problems (as far as possible) and finally to review the research schedule
to be consistent with the reality on the ground. While the first feedback focused on the output of
researcher per site, in subsequent sessions, in addition to the total output per site, each researcher
was required to submit returns on their individual achievement.

The first feedback session took place two weeks after the piloting of the instruments while the last
was held on 19th December 2001. Box 3 summarises some of the problems that were identified
during the feedback sessions.

It should be pointed out that the researchers had already identified a number of these problems
during the orientation workshops as factors that might affect the conduct of data collection.

Field Monitoring
The need to monitor the researchers in the field in addition to the Feedback Sessions evolved as the
research progressed. Field monitoring began in late November and continued into early December
2001. The purpose of the field monitoring was two-fold:

       1. To ascertain reliability and timeliness of the data collection process: On the
          positive side, the monitoring exercise confirmed the skills of researchers in
          specific sites in establishing rapport with the children. The researchers
          demonstrated patience and empathy, thereby persuading the child respondents to
          answer the questions without fear or intimidation. In cases were entry into bases
          were difficult, the researchers established rapport with the base leaders who
          facilitated their access. During the night fieldwork, some children and youth
          volunteered to guide the researchers to the “chuoms”.

           The monitors also observed that the researchers had devised strategies for
           recording the information even under risky conditions. Researchers often worked
           in pairs enabling one partner to keep watch over their personal items as the other
           concentrated on interviewing the respondent This was to prevent older boys from
           stealing from them.

           Another strategy was to record the responses given by the children on ordinary
           paper and later transfer them to the questionnaire. This is because the
           questionnaire tended to attract unwelcome attention at times.

           Among the negative aspects noted, especially in terms of administering the
           questionnaires efficiently, was what appeared to be poor motivation on the part
           of a few of the researchers. Apparently, these researchers appeared to be unclear
           as to why they had been assigned the task of research by their
           organisations/employers. This resulted in procrastination and tardiness and
           slowed down the process of data collection.

       2. To assist researchers with troubleshooting problems that they might encounter in
          the field. One problem encountered by the researchers was that of accuracy of the


                                                                                                         16
                                                              Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



            mapping exercise. In Embakasi for instance, the researchers had to walk very
            long distances in search of the children. The map that had been drawn by the
            original Embakasi team was not very accurate, and in fact, did not reflect the
            reality on the ground. Furthermore, they would sometimes meet children from
            the neighbouring Mukuru slums so there was the fear of double counting. To
            ensure that double counting did not take place, the monitor emphasised the
            importance of first verifying from the children themselves whether any body else
            (read researcher) had interviewed them over the last few weeks.

            There was also the issue of not finding the children in the bases at the time they
            were visited. In another instance, children at the Dandora dumping site were not
            interviewed as the time that the researchers went there coincided with the
            working hours of the children. Given the limited time available to the
            researchers, it was not possible to revisit the sites to include these children in the
            sample.


Data Analysis and Report Writing
Data analysis involved development of the codebooks for the Head Count and Survey
Questionnaires, cleaning of the data, coding of the filled instruments, data entry and finally analysis
using SPSS Version nine. Given the overall qualitative thrust of the research, no attempt was made
to do sophisticated statistical inferences from the quantitative data; instead, simple percentages were
computed and presented in tabular and graphic forms. Some of the tables done on SPSS were later
converted to Microsoft Word and/or Excel.

The qualitative data, recorded on audio-tapes had to be transcribed first in the language of the
discussions and then transcribed and translated from Sheng and Kiswahili into English, a rather
tedious and difficult activity given that Sheng used by the children sometimes varied from one site
to another. The qualitative data were analysed manually using a thematic approach.

The data analysis took much longer time than originally anticipated. This was due to three main
reasons:
        •   The volume of data that was generated was massive (over 10,000 questionnaires
            were filled for the Head Count alone).
        •   The semi-structured nature of the instrument meant that the coding process was
            longer as the responses to specific questions were varied and many therefore it
            required collapsing into manageable categories before the codes could be
            finalised for entry.
        •   The extension of the fieldwork period meant that neither could the code book be
            finalised as and when expected nor data entry begun and completed as planned.

Given the magnitude of the task and the relatively short time in which to do the data analysis meant
that the original research team had to be expanded. This expansion was effected at the level of data
entry and analysis as well as report writing. This research was truly the result of a cooperative
venture and a victory for the spirit of teamwork.



                                                                                                           17
                                                             Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




                                       CHAPTER THREE
                             THE REVIEW OF LITERATURE

3.0        Introduction
All human beings have the right to a decent life free from all forms of abuse, exploitation and
deprivation and children living and working in the streets are no exception. Although issues of
human rights have long been recognised and provisions made for the enjoyment of the same
through international human rights instruments including the 1948 UN Charter, it was for a long
time assumed that this Charter protected children and adults equally. It is only recently that it was
realised that children are more vulnerable than adults and as such require special protection. This
led to the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1989 by the United
Nations. The Convention, ratified by all member-states of the United Nations except two11, is a
revolutionary document. For the first time in human history, children are recognised as legitimate
subjects of human rights. It guarantees four basic rights for all children regardless of their socio-
cultural and economic context:
               •   Right to development
               •   Right to survival
               •   Right to participation
               •   Right to protection

Incorporated in the above four are the rights to adequate shelter, nutrition, education, medical care,
parental love, clothing, social security and protection against drugs, exploitation, sexual abuse,
discrimination and disasters.

The CRC also acknowledges that children are not a homogenous group; indeed it identifies various
categories of children in need of special protection, including children living in the streets, working
children, disabled children, adolescent mothers and more recently, children affected and infected by
HIV/AIDS. It reiterates the right of all these children to development, survival, participation and
protection.

Though the phenomenon of children living and working on the streets is universal, it is most
pervasive in developing countries in Africa and Asia (Velis, 1995), as well as Latin America. A
number of research studies on these children exist, many commissioned by agencies that seek to
uphold the rights of the child and include NGOs, government departments and also individual
authors interested in the phenomenon. Also available are reports of conferences and workshops.
The ultimate aim of most of these researches and fora has often been to design or strengthen
informed interventions for the targeted children.


11
     Ironically, the USA and Somalia




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                                                             Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




In this chapter, selected literature, both published and unpublished on children living and working
on the streets, is reviewed. Special attention has been paid to relevant literature from Kenya.

The chapter is divided into three sections in addition to the introduction. In Section 3.1 some
emerging issues are discussed focusing on conceptual and methodological concerns. Key research
findings of the major studies reviewed are briefly recapitulated in Section 3.2.


3.1    Emerging Issues

Conceptual Issues
Any good literature should delineate the core issues pertinent to the problem under review,
regardless of whether it is based on research findings, workshop reports or simply a book. Of
concern are isolation of key concepts and how the authors define them in the relevant contexts,
gender sensitivity to and about the subjects and issues that relate to them as well as to the rights of
the child. In this section, a critique is presented of the material reviewed in relation to the above
issues.

Defining a “Child”
Who or what is a child? In most of the literature reviewed on street children either (a) the concept
“child” has not been defined, its meaning being taken for granted (Suda, 1995; Ruto, 1999;
NCBDA, 2001; Kudrati et.al., 2001); or (2) it has been defined in terms of age, usually under
eighteen. The latter definition is consistent with the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights
of the Child (CRC), which defines a child as anyone under the age of 18 years. This is the age at
which, in most countries of the world that an individual becomes a legal adult and a full citizen of
her/his country. In a few cases, children have been classified according to age groups, e.g. 0-5 or
infants, 6-15 or school aged, and 15-18 or youth. Particular studies have focused on a specific age
group only. For example, one study on street girls have concentrated on children between the ages
of 5 and 18 (Muraya, 1993) while another one on Nairobi street children has targeted children aged
6 to 16 (McCaffrey, 1999). Only 10 percent of the respondents (or seven to eight individuals) in the
NCBDA report (2001) would qualify to be children if the 18 years of age criterion is applied.

In a minority of cases, children are defined by what they are not and what they are. According to
Save the Children, U.K., children are “not workers, they are not sexual, not married, not parents,
they are not smokers, drinkers, …(Save the Children, U.K., Development Manual No. 4, 1994:8).
What they are, the manual says, is quite limited – they are in families, they go to school, they play.
They are preparing to become adults. Quite a challenging definition in any study on children and
especially one on the street children!

Defining “Street” Children
The concept of street children, however, has been the focus of more discussion in the literature than
that of the “child” as noted above. Variously termed as vagrants, homeless children, abandoned
children, or run-away children, the meaning of street children has evolved over time, as researchers
and street workers have increasingly become more sensitive to the issues of human rights.



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                                                             Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



Early definitions describe street children as those children who spend most of their waking and
sleeping hours on the streets. As Kudrati et.al. (2001) point out, “such an approach may lead to
limited interventions, as many other vulnerable children spend most of their waking hours on the
streets, but sleep at home” (pg. 2). A more recent approach has been to make a distinction between
children for whom the street is either full or part-time home (Gruber 1978; ANPPCAN, 1991;
Aptekar et.al. 1995; Mathenge, 1996; and Shorter, 1998). According to this perspective, full-time
street children work and live in the streets while the part-timers work on the streets returning home
in the evenings, taking their earnings to their families.

In a study commissioned by Save the Children (U.K) and conducted in the Democratic Republic of
Congo on the vulnerable groups of children in Kinshasa, varied definitions of the street children are
put forward. These definitions include

        •   A homogeneous group of children living on the streets without any adult support
        •   Visible children who can be seen working in the streets
        •   Those children whose family support base has become increasingly weakened
            and therefore must share in the responsibility for family survival by working on
            the city streets and market places. (Mdoe, 1999)

“Real” street children are defined by UNICEF as children for whom the street, (in the widest sense
of the word) more than their family, has become their real homes, a situation in which there is no
protection, supervision or direction from responsible adults.

It is important to note that the above definitions are based on care, support, dwelling and economic
contexts. The most used criteria for assessing vulnerability in the children is whether or not they
live with their family of origin. This definition assumes that children who live full time on the street
have no relations with adults or any means of protection. It is based on the concept that the best
placement for a child is within a home and family of origin.

A study by Save the Children Canada (1994) further identifies different categories of street children
as follows:

            Children of the street-homeless: These children live on the street, are
            independent of authority and have no contracts with their parents. They
            undertake different economic activities e.g. garbage re-cycling, begging, petty
            theft, etc.
            Children in conflict with the law: They include children who have a police
            record, have been to prison, in police lock ups or remand homes and those who
            are trying to resettle back in society.
            AIDS orphans: These are children whose both parents have died of AIDS.
            Child workers: Children doing odd jobs in the community and on the street. Most
            of them live at home and work largely to support themselves and/or contribute to
            their family’s income/survival
            Children living in institutions such as street children’s centres and religious
            centres



                                                                                                          20
                                                              Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



            Truant children: These are children found in communities working on the streets,
            playing games, sitting in corners and do not attend school regularly
            Child parents: Mainly found in communities working on the street and in some
            institutions. They have taken over care and responsibility for their children
            Child sex workers: Found in the community, street, bars, guesthouses and other
            places of leisure. They earn money by performing sexual services mostly to men
            passing by or to street dwellers.

The above groups of children are exposed to various forms of physical, sexual and psychological
violence and abuse, STD’s and HIV/AIDS scourge.

Similar studies conducted in and outside Kenya concur with the conceptual definitions of the street
children (GTZ Kenya, 1998; SCF-UK, 1999). The studies provide a two-pronged definition of a
street child. First, a child on the street meaning, that they stay on the streets to find work but at the
end of the day go back to their families and share what they have earned. The second group is that
of the children of the streets. These children have no home and the street is their only source of
income, protection and comfort. The studies further define a street child as one below the age of
eighteen. Kudrati et.al. (2001) also adopts a two-pronged definition, distinguishing between full-
time street children and working street children.

A UNICEF study on street children in Bujumbura further defines a street child as “one who either
spends 24 hours in the street or spends his or her days in the street”. (UNICEF, 1990:4). The
NCNN (2001) perspective concurs with the above definitions. This perspective views street
children as a social term that refers to those (children) for whom the street has replaced the family
and the home as the focal point of their existence and communal interactions. The children live in
circumstances devoid of any protection, supervision or direction from responsible adults. Further,
the study identifies four primary clusters of children whose existence revolves around the streets:

        •   Children on the street. These children maintain good family ties and often return
            home in the evening after spending the day on the street begging, working or
            engaging in petty offences.
        •   Children of the streets. They have loose family contacts, spend some nights or
            days on the streets and occasionally go back home.
        •   Children in the streets. These groups of children are completely detached from
            their families, leading a life in makeshift shelters.
        •   Children of street families. Consist of children who are born and bred on the
            streets.


Muraya (1993) identifies yet another category of children, i.e., those
        accompanied by a parent, usually the mother, onto the streets. The mother sits
        alone or with an infant on a pavement adjacent to a building begging for whatever
        little she can get. Meanwhile the children move around the building begging and in
        some instances carrying babies on their backs not necessarily theirs but to attract
        attention and sympathy from the public. All the earnings are taken to the mother
        who keeps count of what each child brings in. (P. 31)


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                                                                  Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




Newly emerging concepts are those of streetism and of street families. “Streetism” refers to the sub-
culture of the streets characterised by distinct language, initiation rituals and social norms peculiar
to members of the group (Ennew, 1995).

“Street families”, according to a recent study, are more than an aggregate of street children or street
people. They vary in structure and composition. Two main family structures may be discerned:
         • Real or blood families whose members are related biologically
         • Non-blood families whose members forge kinship ties on the streets with or
            without marital relationships and the exercise of conjugal rights.

Street families are characterised by common identity, sense of purpose, shelter and region or zones
within which they operate. An operational definition of street families would then be “A group of
people living together in the streets in an organised grouping be it children or otherwise, related by
blood or not, but who live in the streets permanently and have nowhere else to call their home”
(NCBDA, 2001:8).


Gender Sensitivity
An objective study of children living and working on the streets requires an investigation of not
only the causative and remedial factors, but also of the gender dynamics in the streets. The factors
accounting for the presence of boy and girl children is likely to be different. Similarly, the impact of
living and working on the street will be significantly different for the female and the male child on
the street. This review thus attempted to assess the level of gender sensitivity in the existing
literature on children working and living on the streets.

                                                      For a long time it was assumed that children living
      Box 4: A Street Child by any                    and working on the streets are only boys. This
      other name                                      attitude is reflected in the terminology used in
                                                      various parts of Kenya to refer to the street children,
      Parking boy: boys helping motorists find
                                                      viz. parking boys (in Nairobi), beach boys (in
      parking spaces in Nairobi city centre
                                                      Mombasa) and Njugu12 boys (in Kisumu). No doubt
      Beach boy: boys roaming the beaches in
                                                      this situation came about because of the greater
      coastal Kenya peddling drugs and
                                                      visibility of boys than girls, on the streets. In the
      souvenirs to tourists                           early literature and discourses on street children, it
      Njugu boy: In Kisumu usually selling            was hardly surprising that term “street children” was
      peanuts (and sometimes ice-cream) on            conceptually equated to “street boys”. Notice of girls
      the streets                                     on the streets began to be taken since the late 1980s.
                 Source: Adapted from Muraya (1993)   (Muraya, 1993; Dallape, 1987).


Unfortunately, an analysis of the literature reveals that despite this acknowledgement over the last
decade or so, much of the available research is not gender sensitive:


12
     A Kiswahili word meaning peanut.


                                                                                                               22
                                                                         Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



            •   There is evidence of research that is out rightly gender blind.
            •   Few of the reports provide gender-disaggregated data even when the study
                targets both girls and boys. Gender disaggregation in these reports is often
                confined to the presentation of the number and percentages of boys and girls in
                the study sample.
            •   In many of the studies, consideration of gender as a key variable is little more
                than cosmetic. In these studies, gender or empowerment perspectives are notably
                absent in the analysis of the data.

As a result, girls remain invisible or at best, in the periphery in many of the studies reviewed. For
example, in the seventy-three paged survey report13 on street children in the Nairobi business
district, information on street girls is presented briefly on the following pages:

            •   pg. 11/12 and pg. 70 as girls constituting a minority group vis-à-vis boys
            •   pg. 29 in Figure 10 indicating percentage of girls involved in criminal activities as
                perceived by adult respondents
            •   pg. 44 figure 21 where a breakdown of the gender profile of street children/families who
                responded to the survey questionnaire is presented

Suda (1993) may be commended for making a deliberate effort to maintain a gender balance in the
sample of the baseline survey she conducted for the Child Welfare Society of Kenya. As a result, 27
percent of the sample size was female. However, she does not proceed to disaggregate the rest of
the data by gender in the rest of the report, observing that “Apart from some variations in work
patterns between males and female children, there were no statistically significant differences in
views, perceptions and aspirations based on gender” (pg. 15). Unfortunately, even these variations
in work patterns are not identified in the report. Similarly, though the report mentions that some
rehabilitation programmes are gender specific, it is not mentioned which ones and how many are
catering for girls and how many for boys. Reference is made only to the fact that older girls are
trained in tailoring, knitting and embroidery while boys take up apprenticeship in carpentry,
mechanical work, masonry and shoe repair among other things. The recommendations that are
made (in this and most of the other reports reviewed) are not gender-specific.

However, it is important not to confuse gender insensitivity and gender specificity. The study by
Muraya (1993) and Ruto (1999) are examples of gender specific research focusing on street girls
and boys respectively. Done in pursuance of an academic degree, Muraya uses the paucity of
literature on street girls to justify her focus on them. Commissioned by the Kwetu Home of Peace
(1999) to do a baseline of street children in Nairobi, Ruto’s focus on street boys as informants was
precipitated by the Terms of Reference of the research. It should be noted that the Kwetu House of
Peace, located in Nairobi South, is an initiative that currently caters for street boys only. Initially, it
had opened its doors to both genders but reversed the move in mid-1994 due to various problems
experienced by the Home administration in managing girls and boys within the same premises
(Ruto, 1999).



13
     The page numbers refer to the substantive text and excludes preliminaries and annexes.


                                                                                                                      23
                                                             Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



Among the studies that utilise gender perspective is that by Kudrati et.al. (2001) describing the
street children of Khartoum. A qualitative study of children in need of special protection measures
provides information on both girls and boys in the streets of various urban areas of Somalia
(Wamahiu, 2000).

In his study on vulnerable groups of children in Kinshasa, Congo, Mdoe (1999) has provided
gender-disaggregated data that facilitates a clear understanding of the unique situation of the female
and male child on the street. The research population consisted of 54% boys and 46% girls. The
research reveals that due to the traditional gender division if labour, children who live on the street
are mainly sex workers. The research further observes that only the girls, despite the stigma, were
able to admit that they were involved in the sex trade. In contrast, only two boys admitted to the sex
trade. The study further discusses the different categories of children on the streets. Child sex
workers are identified as one of the categories with an observation that it is the girls, more than the
boys who are exposed to the most grievous forms of sexual violence and abuse, STD’s and AIDS.
This study creates the visibility for the girls and the boys on the street.

In another study of the street children and gangs in African cities, the phenomenon of single female-
headed households is identified as a significant contributory factor to the street child prevalence in
slum settlements (UMP Working Paper Series 18:2, 2000). In this study, which was conducted in
the sprawling Mathare and Korogocho slum settlements of Nairobi, single female-headed
households constitute between 60% and 80% of the population. The study further observes that
poor parents are likely to pull their children from school to supplement family income. More often
than not, the girl children become the ultimate casualties in favour of the boys. The study reveals
that the girls’ survival activities on the street are limited to begging and prostitution. Other studies
on the street girls in Nairobi found out that close to 90% of these girls come from households
suffering from physical and verbal abuse, and alcoholism. More than half of the girls originated
from single parent households in low income settlements (Ocholla, 1995; Ocholla, 1996).

The above study further describes the nature of gender relationships that exist between the boys and
the girls on the streets. Some of the children live in makeshift dwelling units “chuoms.” In these
dwelling units, street boys tend to take the responsibility of the girls by acting the role of
“husbands” to them. They provide their “wife” with protection and make sure they have sufficient
food and medicines. The girls must in return accord the boys emotional and sexual favours.

Available literature confirms that whereas both street boys and street girls live and work on the
streets, the girls are far less visible on the street than the boys. However, their problems are
desperately serious (CRDA News, Sept./Oct. 1993). In this publication, a survey of 38 girls
revealed that 37% had suffered sexual attacks and harassment by street boys who cannot afford
prostitute services. Wamahiu (2000) also reports alleged attack on street girls by street boys. Gary
(1991), observes that girls on the streets are more vulnerable than the boys as they are less able to
protect themselves and are subject to various forms of sexual abuse.

An early example of gender sensitivity in the literature is a publication entitled “You are a thief”
(Dallape, 1987). Recounting the experiences of Undugu Society, a pioneer in the area of working
with street children, the author captures the perspectives of children, both boys and girls. He
describes how the street boys and girls perceive themselves and the problems that are gender


                                                                                                          24
                                                             Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



specific. More significantly, it discusses how boys and girls can change their situations, thus
offering them the glimmer of hope.


The Issue of Rights and Children’s Participation
Several studies note the hostility of the general public towards Kenyan street children (Ruto, 1999;
Shorter, 1999; Were, 1998; Aptekar et.al. 1995; Dallape 1987). A publication by the Africa Chapter
of the Human Rights Watch (1997) describes the abuse and detention of street children in Kenya.
The report observes the routine violation of international law by law enforcing agencies in the
country as they round up street children, keep them for days and weeks in police lockups under
deplorable physical conditions. The report also records statements by street girls relating horrifying
tales of sexual violence perpetrated on them by members of the law enforcement agencies. One
survivor of rape had this to say:

         The police are always calling us names, threatening us, saying we’re whores,
         trash, homeless, and beating us. Sexual abuse happens too. It happened to me
         once, here in Jeevanjee [Gardens, a public park]. Four policemen came and
         arrested me near City Market. They started taking me to the Central Police
         Station, and brought me to the park. One of them hit me and I fell down, and he
         came down on top of me. Another held me down while the policeman raped me.
         After he raped me, they walked me over to central police station, and just let me
         go. (Pamela, Interviewed by Human Rights Watch and quoted in their
         publication 1997: 27)

Related studies on child rights confirm that child justice system is the most incapacitated and
neglected segment in Kenya’s judicial hierarchy. Noting that accessing justice is difficult enough for
adults in Kenya, NCNN (2001) observes that it can be a nightmare where children are involved.
The result is that many children continue to suffer monstrous violations of their rights, including
disinheritance and sexual abuse without effective legal redress or relief. The study further observed
that until April 2002 there was only one permanent juvenile court in Kenya located in the capital
Nairobi. However, the juvenile justice system improved tremendously with the enactment of the
Children Act No. 8 of 2001 and the subsequent gazettment of children magistrates between April
and August 2002. In all other areas, the normal criminal court had to occasionally convert to a
juvenile court. Baker (1991) and SNV-Kenya SCP (2001) concur with the above findings on child
rights issues pertaining to street children. Baker observes that there is evidence of “death squad
activity” or police violence directed at street children. These law enforcement officers also often
attack and sexually abuse the street girls. SNV/Kenya (2001) further confirms that until recently,
street children were not represented in court in Kenya and that it was the magistrate’s duty to ensure
that their rights were upheld without relinquishing the magistrate’s duty as an advocate.

While most of the studies recognise the rights of the street children, hostility towards them may still
be detected in some of the literature. Some of the materials reviewed tend to describe such children
in derogatory terms such as “vagrant” (NCBDA, 2001). In some of the other studies the voices of
the children remain mute.




                                                                                                          25
                                                             Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



An issue related to that of children’s rights is that of research ethics. Ennew (1994) recognise
children as “capable, resourceful people whose individual histories, feeling and opinions must be
respected” (pg. 3). She argues therefore, that projects must be considered as working with rather
than for the children, “encouraging and facilitating their fullest possible participation” (ibid). This
approach implies that children must agree to participate in the research process and that their
informed consent must be sought. With the notable exception of the study on children living and
working in Khartoum, all the other reports are silent on the issue. Kudrati et.al. (2001) go into
detailed explanations of how they managed to get the informed consent of children to participate in
the study.


Methodological Issues
The issue of children’s participation has methodological implications with regard to the overall
approach adopted for a study as well as the specific techniques selected. In this sub-section, we turn
to the consideration of some of the methodological issues that emerge from the review of literature.

Although there is a wide choice of investigative techniques, all are allied to either one of the two
paradigms of research, that is, qualitative or quantitative. For purposes of complementing the
deficiency of one paradigm, many researchers are prone to mixing the two for enriched information
and more valid results (UMP Working Paper Series 18, 2000). Moreover, some of the methods may
not be applicable in every context and must be selected according to the size and other
characteristics of the research site.

The unique nature of the street children phenomenon requires that both qualitative and quantitative
methods be employed in order to ensure objectivity and validity of the results (Kudrati et.al., 2001;
NCBDA, 2001). This is demonstrated in several of the studies reviewed. Among the quantitative
methods used is counting. The method consists of mapping of the study area, subdividing it into
manageable units and where possible, categorising areas with similar characteristics. In-depth
surveys and use of censuses are the other methods commonly used to collect quantitative data.
These techniques are useful for counts undertaken in large and diverse areas. They presuppose the
availability of maps indicating socio-economic areas, zones with specific functions and population
density by zone (UMP Working Paper Series 18; 2000).

Qualitative methods that have been used to research on children on the street include outreach and
animation, Participatory Action Research with Children (PACR), Rapid Open Assessment Surveys
and Risk mapping (Save the Children, U.K., 1999; SNV-Kenya SCP, 1998). Outreach and
animation involves visiting centres and talking to children on the street. The idea is to identify and
motivate children and organisations to participate in the study through picture drawing and reading
for children. This is a powerful method, which helps to break down barriers as children readily
identify with the process and are given the opportunity to express themselves through drawing.
Participatory Action Research with Children (PACR) is a child friendly qualitative research method
in which children identify and analyse their own problems, prioritise causes and formulate plans to
deal with the problems. The rapid open assessment survey method involves using a short open
questionnaire, which is used to collect qualitative data. This method requires that the researcher be
sensitive to the literacy levels of the research subjects. The questionnaire would need to be
administered directly. Risk mapping is usually conducted in form of Focussed Group Discussions


                                                                                                          26
                                                             Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



(FGDs) whereby the society is divided into two circles, the inner one representing where the most
affluent live and the outer one where the most vulnerable live. Children are asked to define or map
the locations of the different groups or units of children. The children mapped in the periphery of
the outer circle are the ones perceived by the children to be in most need. A good example of the
use of participatory techniques is Ruto’s study of Nairobi’s street children conducted on behalf of
Kwetu Home of Peace (1999).

An example of the use of the traditional anthropological participant-observation method may be
found in Muraya’s study of street girls (1993). One effective strategy that she employed to gather
meaningful data was “to constantly engage in conversation with the children…aimed at learning
more about their backgrounds, their life on the streets and the relationship between gangs” (pg. 5).

Sampling of the children on the street has been identified as problematic due to the fact that most of
the children are mobile, making it impractical to do any accurate accounting of the actual number.
The study by Save the Children, U.K. (1991) asserts that there is no logistical way of ensuring that
the same child had not been counted twice. In an attempt to overcome this problem, children are
selected randomly. Suda (1993) reports that all the research six assistants involved in data collection
“went to each area or location and did the interviews together before they could move to the next
place. This strategy”, according to the researcher, “was intended to avoid the possibility of
interviewing a child twice” (p. 9). Kudrati et.al. tried to circumvent double counting by asking
children whether they had been counted before, and verifying it by asking them for the number
assigned to them as respondents.

Data validity and reliability constitute an important component of any research. Data collection
tools need to be refined and pre-tested to ensure their validity. Data collected on children in the
streets can be verified in some countries where facilities are available by examining their health
records and files at local health centres (if they exist), clinics and children’s files at local
government children’s offices and local NGOs. Use of a control group is also important in
validating data especially in studies using experimental or quasi-experimental designs.


Quality of Research on Street Children in Kenya
A good number of research studies on street children in Kenya have been done through the
commissioning of either local or international NGOs or through local agencies and organisations
interested in or working with children in the street. Most commissioned researches usually contain
specific terms of reference against which the research is measured.

A review of the literature identified some major gaps, which ultimately affect the quality of the
researches. These include gender insensitivity in the design of the research instruments, and in data
analysis where in some cases the literature does not provide gender-disaggregated data. The
research findings do not bring out clearly the gender dynamics of the girls and the boys on the
streets. As a result, proposed interventions do not also target the gender specific needs of the
female and the male children.

Generally speaking, several of the studies reviewed were also found to be methodologically weak,
the study conducted by NCBDA (2001) study being a case in point. The study for example, talks of


                                                                                                          27
                                                           Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



using “judgmental random sampling …to get quality information”(pg. 4)! The concept “judgmental
random sample” is a contradiction in terms as by the very nature of randomness, a sample cannot be
judgmental and random at the same time. It is also difficult to understand how “friendship groups”
can be “held” as a method of data collection (pg. 3)!

The validity of information collected is crucial if appropriate, relevant and effective interventions
on street children are to be designed and implemented. There is need to assess the validity of the
data collected, looking particularly for contradictions between the data sets from different sources.
Such contradictions may be due to differences in definitions, or perspectives, or to different
methods of data collection. Studies so conducted should think of the underlying assumptions about
children, families, working children and street children that were made by the researchers. The
validity of such assumptions needs to be ascertained within their diverse social, economic and
political contexts.


3.1 Key Findings
What are the key findings of the various research studies and the conclusions of conferences and
workshops reviewed in this chapter? What are the trends and issues identified? In this section, we
turn our attention to addressing these questions. The significance of the findings cannot be overly
emphasised as they provide important entry points for researchers, children’s rights agencies and
activists, and policy makers in understanding and developing relevant actions to address the
problems and needs of children on the street.


Establishing the Magnitude of the Problem
From the literature reviewed, it is difficult to establish the magnitude of the problem. The review
reinforces the impression that most of the statistics quoted on the number of street children in
Kenya are little more than “guesstimates”. According to a study initiated by the Attorney-General’s
Office, there were 300,000 street children in the country by 1991 (ANPPCAN, 1995). The number
of children on the street was based on projections derived from secondary data sources including
available information on the 6-18 age group, school enrolment and drop-out rates. The authors of
the NCBDA report (2001) conclude that: “However, this was almost ten years ago and the figure is
expected to have increased astronomically” (pg. 11). No attempt is made to estimate the extent of
the increase nor is evidence produced to substantiate this statement.

About the same time as the Study by the Attorney-General’s Office, Undugu Society was
estimating the street children population in the country to be 130,000 while Munyakho (1992)
quotes a figure of 25,000 (both studies are cited in Muraya, 1993). A more recent estimate is
135,000 cited in the Standard Newspaper of April 20, 2001 following a joint statement between the
Government of Kenya and UNICEF (reported in AMREF, 2002).

Similarly, unsubstantiated statements on the population of street children in Nairobi are to be found
in some of the other studies. For example, “The number of street children in Nairobi has increased
considerably in the recent past” states Suda (1993). We are not told against what figures and date
this increase is being evaluated, and how much this increase has been. While the researcher reports



                                                                                                        28
                                                             Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



that her sample of street children comprised 400 individuals, no indication is given of what
proportion of the total population of street children in Nairobi this represents.

One breakthrough in trying to establish authentic figures is perhaps AMREF’s recent baseline study
(2002) on Children in Need of Special Protection (CNSP). This study, covering the Dagoretti
Division of Nairobi, included street children as one of the main categories of CNSP. It is important
to note that the AMREF sample included individuals up to the age of nineteen.

The above confusion regarding the magnitude of the problem in numerical terms is perhaps
understandable. Kudrati et.al. (2001), commissioned to do a head count of children in the streets of
Khartoum were only able to count a total of 2,037 full and part-time street children including those
who did not give their consent. They estimated that the figure was only a small percentage of the
total and projected that the actual numbers on the streets of the Sudanese capital could be
approximately 35,000. The study took almost one year to complete using both qualitative and
quantitative methods of data collection.

The researchers identified the following as obstacles to the counting exercise:

        •   The high mobility of the children living and working on the streets
        •   Lack of central registration or meeting points
        •   Seasonal fluctuations arising from school holiday periods, or during times when
            they may not be needed for farm work in their rural home
        •   Daily fluctuations depending on the presence of a kasha or an arrest campaign
            by the local health authorities.


The Age of the Children:
One of the key findings pertains to the age of the children on the streets. Save the Children, U.K.
(1991) indicate that 10% of the street children in Kinshasa are children under the age of ten,
meaning that they come to the street at a much younger age. In another study of street children in
Kumasi, Ghana, one half of the children interviewed were aged 15 or below (Korboe, 1997). Boys
constituted 51% of the sample and girls 49%.

Kudrati et.al. (2001) makes a distinction between the full time and working street children in
Khartoum. According to their study, 47 percent of the full-time children fell within the 15-18 age
bracket followed by 37 percent in the 11-14 age group. About 14 percent were under 10 years of
age. Gender disaggregation of the data reveal similar trends for both full-time street boys and girls.

The pattern changes somewhat when the age of the working children are examined. The highest
percentage of working children seem to belong to the 11-14 age group (44%) followed by the 15-18
year olds (35%) and under 10s (18%). The percentage of those below 10 years of age is higher in
the case of the working children than the full-time street children. The study also reveals significant
gender differences in the age of the working street children.

The NCBDA study does not present primary data on the age of street children. Instead they adopt
the findings of the study commissioned by the Attorney-General’s Office referred to earlier.


                                                                                                          29
                                                                       Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



According to that study the majority of the street children fall between 6-15 age range. Suda’s
(1993) baseline study confirms that 90 percent of the children fall within this age bracket. However,
the highest concentration of the children are to be found between the age ranges of 12-14 (64.3%).
No gender disaggregation of the data is provided in the latter study though the former states that 80
percent of the 6-15 year olds are female.


Ethnicity of the Children
All the Kenyan-based studies that were reviewed agree that the majority of the street children in
Nairobi are ethnically Kikuyu. Suda’s study place Kikuyu’s at 60 percent of the total sample of
street children with 30 percent of the latter saying that they were from the neighbouring Muranga
District. The other ethnic groups in the sample were the Kamba (12 percent), Luhya (12 %), Luo
(11.5%) and a combination of others (4.5%).

The NCBDA report, based on secondary sources of data, confirms Suda’s findings. However, it
does not give any precise figures beyond stating that the Kikuyus dominate given the proximity of
Nairobi to Kiambu District.14 Nor does it mention which other ethnic groups are represented among
the street children of Nairobi.


The Pull and Push factors
The literature attributes the presence of children on the streets to “push” factors such as poverty,
war, drought, family dysfunction and the death of a parent as well as “pull” factors like following
friends (peer influence), or believing that there were good things to discover on the streets. Kudrati
et.al. (2001) found that one quarter of the full-time street girls and a tenth of the boys came from
homeless families.

The findings relating to the Nairobi situation is similar. Ruto (1999) identifies the primary “push”
factor as the poor quality of family life (in terms of the provision of food, clothing, shelter and
emotional support). She writes:

             Various factors contribute to the ultimate family type the most crucial being the
             economic status and the will of the family to supersede the otherwise dependent
             environment. It is this that may explain the presence of the families in the slums,
             who depend on equally meagre sources of income but are able to retain their
             children in school and therefore curtail any intent at street life. These families, it is
             assumed, are able to feed their families and offer an emotional and psychological
             cushion to their children. Where alcoholism, commercial sex activities, negligence
             are rife children are bound to go to the streets. (pg. 35)

Other push factors identified by the researcher include the use of corporal punishment, occasional
escapades to the streets, truancy from school and idleness due to lack of schooling.




14
     The Kikuyu are the predominant ethnic group in Kiambu district.


                                                                                                                    30
                                                            Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



The strongest pull factors were identified as peer influence and the use of drugs in Ruto’s study.
The promise of freedom offered by the streets and the continued availability of basic provisions
apparently act as significant pull factors in the case of boys. Similarly, the influence of friends
emerges as the most critical factor pulling girls to the streets (Muraya, 1993).

“The Hearing on Street Children in Kenya” talks of poverty, family breakdown, child abuse
(particularly of girls), domestic violence, lack of communication at home and in school, and
problems relating to shelter and the environment as direct reasons for the street children
phenomenon. To this list may be added the issues of parental negligence, rejection and
abandonment (ANPPCAN, 1995). An increasingly significant factor contributing to streetism is
orphan hood caused by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.


Public Perceptions of Street Children
All the literature reviewed reveals the negative perceptions that the larger society has of street
children. They are regarded as deviants and criminals and “not as people who have been deprived of
their rights” (NCBDA, 2001). A substantially large proportion of children perceive that the public
views them negatively: 37 percent said that they are viewed with suspicion while another 18 percent
alleged that they are treated with contempt (Suda, 1993).

The negative public perception of street children is best exemplified by their relationship with the
police and other law enforcement officers. Children complain of constant harassment and abuse by
members of the law enforcement agencies and arrest for offences ranging from loitering, begging,
sniffing glue and stealing (NCBDA, 2001; Muraya, 1993). To resist arrest, the children apparently
hurl human faeces at the police or smear their bodies with foul smelling substance (NCBDA, 2001)


Greater Vulnerability of Girls
Street girls are more vulnerable than the street boys and are exposed to greater physical, emotional
and sexual abuse from fellow street boys and other male passers-by (SNV -SCP, 2001). Kudrati
et.al. (2001) similarly notes the physical and sexual abuse either from street boys or men in the
general public experienced by the girls on the streets of Khartoum. According to the study,
qualitative research revealed the fear of police and public security forces linked closely to physical
and sexual violence. Similar experiences in Kenya have already been noted in the section on gender
sensitivity.


Activities Engaged in by Street Children
The NCBDA report (2001) observes that street children engage in both positive and negative
activities. Among the positive activities notes are scavenging for waste materials for sale; guarding
and directing cars; assisting shoppers; and cleaning the environment. The negative activities
engaged in by them are listed as begging, drug abuse, stealing, unsafe sex, violent fights and acting
as spies for thieves.




                                                                                                         31
                                                             Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



Additional activities emerging from other studies include hawking, washing cars, selling
groundnuts and fruits, and the sale of drugs (Suda, 1993) and carrying luggage for people at a fee
(Ruto, 1999).

For girls, prostitution and begging appear to be the two most common income earning activities
regardless of the reason for coming to the streets. According to Muraya’s (1993) findings, 67
percent of the girls in her sample engaged in both these activities. Ruto (1999) reports the practice
of (homosexual) prostitution by boys.


Interventions and Organisations
The report of the conference on the rehabilitation of street children (SNV-SCP, 2001) reveals that in
Nairobi alone, there are more than 250 organisations focusing on both actual and potential street
children. Dependant on voluntarism and charity (SNV-SCP, 2001), many of these organisations
provide similar services, focusing on feeding, vocational training, medical care, shelter, counselling
and evangelism (Suda, 1993).

The provision of education is another common service provided to street children. Various
initiatives for non-formal and informal schools have been identified to provide basic and vocational
education to these children. Such initiative appears to have been stigmatised as alternatives that are
designed specifically for the poor, hence the street child stand the risk of further marginalisation
(Forum for Actors in Street Children Work, 2001). Informal schools often lack necessary
infrastructure, qualified teachers, teaching and learning equipment, and certification of those taught,
so they at risk of offering very low education. Skills training which is offered in most of these
institutions is meant to assist the children to become independent and self-reliant. Findings however
reveal that this training has become too monotonous and is not to the liking of most street children.
The challenge now is for such skills training to be more diversified and made more market/demand
oriented in terms of income generation for real effect (Forum for Actors in Street Children Work,
2001).

In addition, the studies reveal that street children suffer discrimination while trying to gain
admission to the public hospitals. Street children have relatively little access to health care and
there are no programmes in place specifically for them in public facilities. Studies have further
identified that since most street children initiatives rely on volunteerism and charity, this leads to
various constraints in the operations of children’s organizations, such as poor management, high
staff turn over, duplication of work and poor results in the rehabilitation of the children.

There are exceptions of course. An interesting intervention recorded in the literature is use of the
theatre to advocate for the rights of street children. A report on the Sambamba Street Theatre point
to a success story---the discipline and creativity of the theatre has apparently helped street children
to give up drug abuse and develop a new sense of self-worth and belief in one’s own talents
(UNDCP, no date).




                                                                                                          32
                                                             Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




3.5 Summary
The chapter reviews literature on the phenomenon of street children in and outside Kenya within the
context of a world where the human rights of all ---old and young, poor and rich, male and female--
-are increasingly being recognised. The review touches upon conceptual and methodological issues
that have been guiding the study and understanding of street children. It points out the difficulties in
defining the concept despite the universality of the phenomenon. It also identifies two emerging
concepts found in recent literature: streetism and street families.

Much of the literature reviewed reveal tokenism in relation to gender and rights’ sensitivity. With
notable exceptions, the studies---whether academic or commissioned---do not go beyond
presentation of nominal gender disaggregated data and superficial analysis of the situation. Closely
linked to this are the methodological issues. Again inadequate and/or inappropriate use is made of
both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies in most of the surveys conducted in
Kenya. The absence of detailed documentation of the research process and design leaves the
critical reader without a framework to assess the validity of the findings. The chapter also presents
some of the key findings emerging from the literature.




                                                                                                          33
                                                                  Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




                                          CHAPTER FOUR
                                COUNTING THE NUMBERS

4.0        Introduction
As mentioned in the earlier chapters, accurate numbers of children on the streets of Nairobi are not
available. “Guestimates”, reported in the national and international media place the numbers from
anywhere between 40,000 (Sunday Nation 10th Feb 2002) to 200,000 (Newsweek 28th Jan 2002).
This immense variation in numbers has as much to do with the absence of rigorous research and
clear definitions of the target population, as it has to do with the nature of children living and
working in the streets of Nairobi. There is also an element of exaggeration---sometimes deliberate,
sometimes not, sometimes well-intentioned, sometimes motivated by self-interest.

In this chapter, the findings of the headcount of the research population are presented. The
Headcount used two interrelated instruments: First, was a brief questionnaire that sought basic
information about children interviewed. The second was an even shorter instrument that targeted
children under the age of five. This questionnaire was administered to the person accompanying the
under-five. In a clear majority of cases (56.7%), the person with whom the infant was found was the
mother or another female relative like a sister (11.2%) or aunt (2.7%). The remaining 29.4% is
discussed in detail later in the chapter.

Consistent with research ethics, the consent of the subjects was sought to ask the questions and
write down the answers. It is possible, therefore, that some children who refused to give permission
may not have been counted. This is especially true of girls living and working on the streets of
Nairobi.

It was not possible to cover the whole of Nairobi given the time and resources available to the
research team. Twelve sites were purposively selected for the Headcount using the presence of
partner organisations willing to participate in the study as a determining criterion. The sites were:
Kibera, Mukuru, Embakasi, Nairobi West, KCC/BuruBuru/ Kariobangi South, Huruma/Kariobangi,
Mathare/Eastleigh/Pangani, Korogocho, City Centre, Pumwani/Ziwani, Majengo, Dandora/Maili
Saba and finally, Kasarani. Notable omissions were Westlands, Kawangare and Karen/Langata.
Dagoretti was deliberately excluded from the current study because of another Headcount that had
been conducted there recently by AMREF15. The data presented in the chapter largely focuses on
children eighteen and below unlike the AMREF study which targeted adolescents up to the age of
nineteen. However, where adolescents volunteered to give information, the data were included and
analysed. In a few cases, it was found necessary to gain access to the younger people (below age
18) through the older ones (above age 18).



15
     Dagoretti Street Children Programme (2001) Baseline Survey




                                                                                                               34
                                                                   Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




The profiles of the children on the streets of Nairobi are sketched in this chapter in terms of their
age, gender, ethnicity, language use, schooling and parents occupation. Information is also
presented in the chapter on how long the children have been on the streets as well as how many of
them actually consider the streets to be their home, and how many are “part-timers”, coming to the
streets mainly for subsistence and/or other purposes.


4.1    Counting the Children
The Headcount (including the under fives) in the twelve research locales yielded a total of 10,424
children. Analysis of the data show that the highest concentration of the children was found to be at
the City Centre (16.27%) followed by Mukuru (13.97%), Mathare/Eastleigh/Pangani (12.29%) and
Huruma/Kariobangi (12.19%). Together, these four locales host more than half (54.76%) the total
number of children living and working in the 12 sites in Nairobi District. According to the research
findings, Kasarani, Embakasi, Nairobi West/Wilson/Madaraka and Pumwani/Ziwani/Kariokor, had
the least number of children together constituting less than 13 percent of the total number counted
(See Figure 1).



Figure 1: Distribution of Children by Research Locale


2000
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                    Source: Headcount Questionnaire (N=9697)




                                                                                                                35
                                                                                  Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




The Age Profile of the Children
Table 3 summarises the distribution of children counted by research locale and age. The table
reveals that among the numbers counted, the under-five year old children comprise approximately 7
percent of the total. As expected, the highest numbers of under-five children were found in the same
four sites as the highest number of older children, i.e. City Centre, Mukuru,
Mathare/Eastleigh/Pangani and Huruma/Kariobangi North. Figure 2 presents the same data
graphically.

Table 3: Number and Percentage of Children Living and Working on Nairobi
         Streets Disaggregated by Age (n = 10424)
Site                                             5 Years and Above                    Below 5                  Total
Buru Buru/Kariobangi South /                       433                                  15                      448
KCC                                                                    (4.15%)                       (0.14%)            (4.42%)
City Centre                                       1661                                167                      1828
                                                                      (15.93%)                       (1.60%)           (16.27%)
Dandora/Mailli Saba                                943                                  38                      981
                                                                       (9.05%)                       (0.36%)            (9.68%)
Embakasi                                           301                                  11                      312
                                                                       (2.90%)                       (0.11%)            (3.08%)
Huruma/Kariobangi North                           1134                                 101                      1235
                                                                      (10.88%)                       (0.97%)           (12.19%)
Kasarani                                           265                                  19                      284
                                                                       (2.54%)                       (0.18%)             (2.8%)
Kibera                                             815                                  60                      875
                                                                       (7.82%)                       (0.56%)            (8.64%)
Korogocho                                          907                                  90                      997
                                                                       (8.70%)                       (0.86%)            (9.84%)
Mathare/Eastleigh/Pangani                         1217                                 105                      1322
                                                                      (11.67%)                       (1.01%)           (12.29%)
Mukuru                                            1339                                 117                      1456
                                                                      (12.85%)                       (1.12%)           (13.97%)
Nairobi W. /Wilson/Madaraka                        308                                     3                     311
                                                                       (2.95%)                       (0.03%)            (3.07%)
Pumwani/Ziwani/Kariokor                            374                                      1                    375
                                                                       (3.59%)                       (0.01%)            (3.69%)
Total                                            9697                                  727                     10424
                                                                      (93.03%)                       (6.95%)        (100.00%)
Source: Headcount & Under Five Questionnaires, Street Children Study, September 2001-February 2002


Further disaggregation of data on the children five years and above indicates the dominance of
eleven to fifteen year olds. This age group constitutes over 50 percent of the valid cases recorded.




                                                                                                                               36
                                                                                      Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




         Figure 2: Distribution of Children by Age and Locale (N = 10424)


900


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                                                                                                                       0-5 yrs
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500                                                                                                                    11-15 yrs

400                                                                                                                    16-20 yrs
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                       si



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                        tre




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                         /M




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                                io




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                                  sa




                                                                                                       i/
                                   ba




                                                                                                         on
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                                    ba
                                     ng




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                                      i




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                                           or




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                                              C




                                                                                                                     i




                                                                                                                       ak
                                                                                                                          a
                        Source: Headcount Questionnaire & Under five year Questionnaire




                                                                                                                                    37
                                                                                    Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




The Gender Composition
Approximately a quarter of the total number of children and young people counted in the twelve
locales was female. The highest percentage of girls was found in Mukuru followed by
Dandora/Maili Saba (at over 40 % and 31% respectively) as shown in Table 4.
Table 4: Age of Children Living and Working on the Streets by Locale and Gender
LOCALE                                                                                 FEMALE
                                                                                                             Don’t        No
                             0-5 Yrs           5-10 Yrs         11-15 Yrs 16-20 yrs 21-25 yrs > 25 yrs       Know         Response Total
Buruburu/Kariobangi S./KCC                 6               14          24         10                                                         54
City Centre                            73                  64         141         85        21                                    5         389
Dandora/Maili Saba                     21              110            151         17                                  4           1         304
Embakasi                               5                   17          19         10                                              3          54
Huruma/Kariobangi North          43                        90         134          7                                              2         276
Kasarani                                   6               31          32          1                                              1          71
Kibera                                 27                  76         101         10                                  4           3         221
Korogocho                              39                  52          41          6                                  1           2         141
Mathare/Eastleigh/Pangani              51                  64         213         45                                              3         376
Mukuru                                 54              292            212         31                                  9           7         605
Nairobi W./Wilson/Madaraka                                  1            6         1                                                          8
Pumwani/Ziwani/Kariokor                                    15          53          4                                  1                      73
Sub - Total                        325              826              1127       227         21           0           19          27        2572
                                                                                       MALE
                                                                                                             Don’t        No
                             0-5 yrs            5-10 yrs        11-15 yrs 16-20 yrs 21-25 yrs >25 yrs        Know         Response Total
Buruburu/Kariobangi S./KCC                  9              73          198       104          5                                   2         391
City Centre                                94          105             677       469         64          3            1          24         1437
Dandora/Maili Saba                         17          205             342        87          1                       7          15         674
Embakasi                                    6              58          129        58          2                       1           4         258
Huruma/Kariobangi North                    58          305             447       112                                  7          29         958
Kasarani                                   13              32          122        31                                             14         212
Kibera                                     33          203             346        49                     1           10          11         653
Korogocho                                  51          214             426       135          4                       6          18         854
Mathare/Eastleigh/Pangani                  54          139             478       242          9                       7           7         936
Mukuru                                     63          294             352        95          8          2           11          19         844
Nairobi W./Wilson/Madaraka                  3              20          149       104         13                       2           8         299
Pumwani/Ziwani/Kariokor                     1              56          137        81         22          1                        4         302
TOTAL                                  402           1704            3803      1567        128           7           52         155        7818

                                                                                                             Don’t        No
                             0-5 yrs            5-10 yrs        11-15 yrs 16-20 yrs 21-25 yrs >25 yrs        Know         Response Total
Sub-Total Female                       325           826             1127       227         21           0           19         27          2572
Sub-Total Male                         402           1704            3803      1567        128           7           52        155          7818
Sub-Total
no gender specification                  0              7              16         4          1           0            0          6            34
GRAND TOTAL                            727           2537            4946      1798        150           7           71        188         10424




                                                                                                                                      38
                                                              Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



The percentage of girls in the population increases dramatically in the case of children below the
age of five. Analysis of the data obtained through the Under-Five Questionnaire reveal that girls
constitute approximately 45 percent of the total number of children counted using this instrument
(See Figure 3).

Figure 3: Proportion of Children in the Under-Five Population by Gender (n= 727)

                                               Gender




                                                                                 Female

                                                                                 44.7%



                    Male

                    55.3%




                                     Source: Under-Five Questionnaire


Why is there such a big discrepancy in the gender ratio of over-five year olds and the under-
fives? Are the girls really relatively fewer than boys or they are just invisible? While there is a
possibility that girls are actually fewer in number than boys on the streets of Nairobi, it is equally
possible that a significant percentage remained invisible to the enumerators due to a combination
of factors:

Firstly, older boys and men often prevented the counting of girls they considered to be their
spouses/partners and thus under their protection.

Secondly, culturally, “married” females are perceived to be adults and thus not considered to
be’counted’ as children.

Thirdly, the research team was unable to gain access to a site in one of the research locales where
concentration of girls under the age of 18 existed. According to key informants, the girls were
engaged in commercial sex work. However, it was not possible to penetrate this site within the
time available for the fieldwork. Nor was it possible to get independent verification of the
allegations.




                                                                                                           39
                                                              Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



Ethnicity
An overwhelming number of children on the streets of Nairobi identified themselves as Agikuyu
(46%). Other ethnic groups represented in significant numbers among the children counted are
the Luo (19%), Luhya/Bukusu/Maragoli (11%) and Kamba (11%). Others said they were
Somali/Borana/Rendille (3%), Kisii/Kuria (2%), Meru/Embu (2%) and Mixed Ethnicity (1%).
As Table 5 indicates, the number of children identifying with other ethnic groups is too few to be
significant (See Figure 4 for graphic presentation of the data).
Table 5: Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi by Ethnicity
      ETHNICITY                      FREQUENCY                             PERCENT (%)
Agikuyu                                    4440                                   45.8
Luo                                        1831                                   18.9
Luyha                                      1077                                   11.1
Kamba                                      1060                                   10.9
Kisii                                      193                                     2.0
Boran                                      187                                     1.9
Meru/Embu                                  179                                     1.8
Somali                                      64                                     0.7
Mijikenda/Swahili                           50                                     0.5
Nubians                                     40                                     0.4
Burji                                       38                                     0.4
Kalenjin                                    19                                     0.2
Taita                                       17                                     0.2
Turkana                                     15                                     0.2
Maasai                                      14                                     0.1
Kuria                                       6                                      0.1
Teso                                        8                                      0.1
Non-Kenyans                                 30                                     0.3
Mixed Ethnicity                            119                                     1.2
Mixed race                                  1                                      0.0
Others                                      16                                     0.2
Don’t Know                                  25                                     0.3
Not applicable                              17                                     0.2
No response                                251                                     2.6
TOTAL                                      9697                                  100%
                                    Source: Head Count Questionnaire




Disaggregation of the data reveals some interesting variations. Though the Agikuyu dominate
regardless of gender, the proportion of girls who identified themselves as Agikuyu out of the
total female population was significantly lower (40.7%) than the proportion of boys who
similarly identified themselves (47.4%). At the same time, relatively more girls said they were
Luo (21.1%), Kamba (12.6%) and Luhya/Bukusu/Maragoli (12.3%) than did boys (18.3%,
10.3% and 10.8% respectively).




                                                                                                           40
                                                                       Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




Figure 4: Percentage Distribution of Children by Ethnicity (n= 9697)

    50.00%

    45.00%

    40.00%

    35.00%

    30.00%

    25.00%

    20.00%

    15.00%

    10.00%

     5.00%

     0.00%
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                                                                                                                 le
                                                                ity
                                                                 ah
                                                                    ili




                                              Source: Head Count Questionnaire



Language Use
On the whole, the data reveals that there are more non-Gikuyu children living and working on
the streets of Nairobi than Gikuyus. However, many of the non-Gikuyu children claimed to be
able to speak the language fluently creating the false impression that majority of children of and
on the street are ethnically Gikuyu. Other than Kikuyu, the most commonly spoken language
was identified as Kiswahili (95.96%) and of course “Sheng”, a slang/language created on the
streets. In contrast, a relatively small percentage of children said they could speak English
(14.09%).

Analysis of the data on language use reveal that the children on the streets of Nairobi are
multilingual---the vast majority speak at least two languages (66.1%) while a significant
proportion speak three (18%). Gender analysis of the data reveals that slightly more girls
(69.64%) have knowledge of two languages than the boys (65.14%), while marginally more boys
(18.13%) claimed to speak three languages than did the girls (17.4%).


Schooling
The study shows that majority of the children in the streets of Nairobi are not in any form of
school. Asked whether they were currently going to school, only about two-fifths (39.5%) of the
over-five year olds replied in the affirmative (See Figure 5). However, it is interesting to note
that almost half of the girls who were counted (48.5%) claimed to be involved in some form of
education in contrast to a much smaller percentage of boys (36.5%).


                                                                                                                      41
                                                               Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




Table 6: Number and Percentage of Children in School (N =9,697)
Age                            Yes                  No                  No Response          Total
1-5 Years                      20                   19                  11                   50
                                           0.2%                  0.2%           0.1%                     0.5%
5-10 Years                     964                  1153                370                  2487
                                           9.9%                 11.9%           3.8%                   25.6%
11-15 Years                    1769                 2306                871                  4946
                                         18.2%                  23.8%           9.0%                   51.0%
16-20 Years                    308                  1088                402                  1798
                                           3.2%                 11.2%           4.1%                   18.5%
21-25 Years                    25                   96                  29                   150
                                           0.3%                  1.0%           0.3%                     1.5%
Above 25 years                 1                    5                   1                    7
                                           0.0%                  0.1%           0.0%                     0.1%
Don’t Know                     15                   39                  17                   71
                                           0.2%                  0.4%           0.2%                     0.7%
No Response                    38                   78                  72                   188
                                           0.4%                  0.8%           0.7%                     1.9%
TOTAL                          3140                 4784                1773                 9697
                                         32.4%                  49.3%          18.3%                  100.0%
                                      Source: Headcount Questionnaire




Figure 5: Percent Distribution of
Children in School (N=9697)
                                                             It is only in Korogocho that more than half
                   Schooling
                                                            the male respondents (56.2%) said that they
                                                            were going to school. In Pumwani /
   No Response                                              Ziwani/Kariokor and Dandora/Maili Saba,
   18.3%                                                    the percentage of boys in school was
                                                  yes
                                                            roughly 50 percent (49.4% and 48.4%
                                                32.4%
                                                            respectively).    Cross tabulation of the
                                                            schooling data by age indicate that the
                                                            highest percentage of children, both boys
                                                            and girls, who said they were in school fell
                                                            within the 11-15 age bracket (that is,
                                                            56.71% of the valid number of cases
   No
                                                            responding in the affirmative). The
   49.3%
                                                            Headcount did not probe for other
                                                            information related to participation in
                                                            either formal or non-formal education
                                                           though this issue was picked up in the
                                                           Survey Questionnaire and presented in the
                                                           next chapter.




                                                                                                            42
                                                                                                                     Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




Parents Occupation
A whole range of occupations was listed by the children in response to a question on what work
their parent’s do (See Figures 6 and 7).

Figure 6: Mother’s Occupation by Gender of Respondent (N=9697)

   20,00%
                                                                                                                                                                                                Female
   18,00%
                                                                                                                                                                                                Male
   16,00%
                                                                                                                                                                                                No
                                                                                                                                                                                                Response
   14,00%

   12,00%

   10,00%

    8,00%

    6,00%

    4,00%

    2,00%

    0,00%
            No       Pr    Cl       Pe        Ho        P         Sk          Un         Un        Be          F       G        Tw           Re       ot          Do      No     No
              t         o     e        tty       u s rop              i          sk         li          gg arm           ua                     t        he         n'
                  wo f., T rica                      eh       rie l l e d           ille cen              in      in        rd      illi
                                                                                                                                         gh ired             rs       t k t ap        re
                                                                                                                                                                                          sp
                    rk    ec      l        tra          ol       to          m           d        se         g       g         /W          t/                            no    pl            on
                      in     h,                de          d        r          an                     d                           at          co                           w      ica
                        g                         rs                                       m                                         ch          m                                    bl        se
                                M                            an                   ua          an         br                                        m                                     e
                                  ng                            d                      l         ua        ew                            pe          er
                                                                  do                                l          er                           rs          cia
                                                                      m                                                                        on
                                                                        es                                                                                  ls
                                                                           tic                                                                                 ex

                                                                                     Occupation

                                                                                                                                                              Source: Headcount Questionnaire


Analysis of the responses reveals some interesting trends:

    •   Almost a quarter (23.9%) of the children said that their mothers were not working as
        opposed to less than a tenth (9.7%) who claimed that their fathers were unemployed.
    •   The percentage of girls whose parents are unemployed (mothers 29.4%, fathers 12.1%) is
        higher compared to boys with non-working parents (mothers 22.3% and fathers 9.0%).
    •   The mothers of a significant percent of the children are involved in petty trading (23.0%)
        as compared to other types of work including unskilled manual (6.7%), household and
        domestic (4.7%), farming (3.5%), illicit brewing (2.1%) and begging (1.1%). Other




                                                                                                                                                                                                         43
                                                                                       Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



          occupations listed (professional/managerial/technical, clerical, proprietorship, commercial
          sex) each constituted less than one percent of the valid responses.
      •   The fathers, as perceived by the children, are more involved with skilled manual (10.9%)
          and unskilled manual (9.8%) work. Petty trading appears to be the occupation of fewer
          fathers than mothers (6.0%). Other occupations associated with the fathers were guarding
          (2.6%), farming (2.6%) and professional/technical/managerial (1.6%). Other occupations
          comprised less than one percent each. These include clerical, household/domestic,
          proprietorship, illicit brewing, begging and thievery/robbing. A very small fraction said
          their fathers had retired from employment (0.3%).
      •   There were more children who did not know what work their fathers (9.1%) were doing as
          compared to mothers’ occupation (4.3%).


Figure 7: Father’s Occupation by Gender of Respondent (N=9697)

              25,00%
                                                                                                                                              Female


              20,00%                                                                                                                          Male


                                                                                                                                              No
              15,00%                                                                                                                          Response

Percent (%)

              10,00%



              5,00%



              0,00%
                       No      Pr    Cl     Pe  Ho      Pr     Sk       Un       U       B     F      G    T       R       Ot   Do    N    N
                         t        o    e      t    u      o       i       sk nlic egg arm uar hief etir                      h    n't ot A o R
                             wo f, T rica ty T seh prie lled                 ille      en    ing    ing d/      /R       ed ers      Kn   pp   es
                                    ec     l                  to                         se                        o
                               rk
                                 ing h,
                                                ra
                                                  de ld/
                                                        o       r       M
                                                                          an
                                                                                   d
                                                                                           d
                                                                                                           W
                                                                                                             at bbe                    ow lica pon
                                                            Do                       M                         ch                             ble se
                                         M           rs                     ua        an     B                    pe r
                                          ng                   m                 l       ua rew                      rs
                                                                 es                        l     er                     on
                                                                    tic

                                                                        Occupation


                                                                   Source: Headcount Questionnaire



4.2       Care, Subsistence and Home
Generally, it is assumed that there is a correlation between children in the streets and their
relationship with their parents. Though the Headcount questionnaire did not directly investigate
this issue, a negative relationship may be inferred from one of the answers to the question on
parents’ occupation. A significant percentage of the children, responding to the question, said that
it was not applicable in their case as many of their parents had either abandoned them or were
deceased. Almost a third of the children (28.9%) who responded to the question alleged that their


                                                                                                                                                  44
                                                                  Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



fathers fell into this category. A relatively smaller percentage (14.5%) classified their mothers
likewise.

The percentage difference between boys and girls claiming that their mothers were dead or had
abandoned them was only one percent (14.8% boys and 13.5% girls). However, the differential
between girls (31.5%) and boys (28.2%) with deceased fathers or fathers who had absconded was
almost 4 percent to the disadvantage of the former.

Children ‘of’ and ‘on’ the Street
A total of 1,484 respondents said that they considered the streets of Nairobi to be their “home”.
This represents 14.24 percent of the total number of children counted. Most of the children who
consider the streets to be their home were found mainly in three research locales, i.e., Mukuru
(37.79%) followed by City Centre (24.29%) and Mathare (9.11%). It is most likely that many of
the children who perceive the streets as their home are either abandoned or orphaned and therefore
do not have natal or family homes to return to at the end of the day or when they want to.

Table 7: Number and Percentage of Children 'Of' the Streets of Nairobi
         (n=1482 - Equivalent of 14,2 % of all respondents)
Locale                         Female               Male                  No gender        Total
Buruburu/Kariobangi/KCC        8                    36                    -                44
                                       (16.7%)                (9.4%)
City Centre                    97                   263                   -                360
                                       (30.7%)               (19.6%)
Dandora/Maili Saba             16                   9                     -                25
                                         (5.7%)               (1.4%)
Embakasi                       8                    25                    -                33
                                       (16.3%)                (9.9%)
Huruma/Kariobangi North        10                   22                    1                32
                                         (4.3%)               (2.4%)
Kasarani                       5                    75                                     80
                                         (7.7%)              (37.7%)
Kibera                         57                   66                                     123
                                       (29.4%)               (10.6%)
Korogocho                      3                    35                                     38
                                         (2.9%)               (4.4%)
Mathare/Eastleigh/Pangani      14                   121                                    135
                                         (4.3%)              (13.7%)
Mukuru                         280                  280                   1                560
                                       (50.8%)               (35.9%)
Nairobi W. /Wilson/Madaraka    2                    27                                     29
                                          (25%)               (9.1%)
Pumwani/Ziwani/Kariokor        5                    18                                     23
                                         (6.8%)                  (6%)
TOTAL                          505                  977                   2                1482
                               (22.5% of all         (13.2% of all                         (14.2% of all children
                               girls counted)        boys counted)                         counted)
                                   Source: Headcount Questionnaire (n=9697)




                                                                                                                    45
                                                                  Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



Gender analysis reveals that the majority of the children ‘of’ the Nairobi streets are male
(65.84%). This constitutes 13.2 percent of the total number of boys identified by the Headcount
Questionnaire. Though in absolute terms, there are fewer girls ‘of’ the streets (505 girls as
compared to 977 boys—see Table 7), a considerably larger percentage of the total number of girls
interviewed described the streets to be their home (22.5%).

The Headcount questionnaire did not seek directly to find out the number of children who are ‘on’
the streets of Nairobi part of their time and not on a full-time basis. However, by inference, we
may assume that they are the majority, an inference also supported by the data on schooling. As
we have seen in an earlier section, approximately 40 percent of the respondents of the Headcount
questionnaire said that they were in one form of school or another. It is most unlikely that children
‘of’ the streets have access to schooling or education of any type. We may also assume that not all
children who go back home or maintain relationships with it attend school. Therefore the
proportion of those children who are ‘on’ the streets but not ‘of’ it may actually be higher than 40
percent. The Survey Questionnaire examined this issue further and the results are presented in
Chapter Five.

Years Spent on the Streets
Majority of the respondents (62.8%) claimed to have spent five years or less in the streets either
on a full-time or part-time basis.

Figure 8: Numbers of Years Spent on the Street by % of respondents


                 No response

                 9.6%

                 Don't Know
                 13.0%

                 Over 20 years

                 .0%

                 16-20 years
                 .5%

                 11-15 years

                 2.0%

                 6-10 years                                                          0-5 years
                 12.2%                                                                  62.8%




                                   Source: Headcount Questionnaire (N=9697)

While 12.3% recalled that they had been there between 6-10 years, almost an equal number
(13.3%) said that they could not remember when they started frequenting the streets. Figure 8
presents data on the number of years spent on the streets by the children by gender.


                                                                                                               46
                                                                                                                                 Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




Figure 9: No. of Years Spent (in single years) on the Street by Gender (N=9697)


                            1200                                                                                                                                     Female

                                                                                                                                                                     Male

                            1000                                                                                                                                     No
                                                                                                                                                                     Response


                            800
      Numbers of children




                            600




                            400




                            200




                              0




                                                                                                                                                   re ow
                                                                           10

                                                                                 11

                                                                                      12

                                                                                           13

                                                                                                14

                                                                                                     15

                                                                                                             16

                                                                                                                  17

                                                                                                                       18

                                                                                                                            19

                                                                                                                                 20

                                                                                                                                      21

                                                                                                                                           22

                                                                                                                                                           23
                                   0

                                       1

                                           2

                                               3

                                                   4

                                                       5

                                                           6

                                                               7

                                                                   8

                                                                       9




                                                                                                                                                           se
                                                                                                                                                        on
                                                                                                                                                         n
                                                                                                                                                N ’t K
                                                                                                                                                      sp
                                                                                                                                                   on
                                                                                                                                                 D

                                                                                                                                                 o
                                                                                Years spent on the streets


                                                                            Source: Headcount Questionnaire




                                                                                                                                                                                47
                                                                                              Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




Profile of Caretakers of the Young

Analysis of the data obtained through the Under-Five Questionnaires reveals that the overwhelming
majority of the caretakers are female. Mothers (approximately 56%) and sisters (12%) make up the
bulk of the female caretakers. This may be inferred from Table 7 showing the relationship of these
infants with their caretakers.

From the same table, one may observe that some males—fathers, uncles and brothers, are involved
in taking care of the young children on the streets of Nairobi. These categories comprise
approximately 13 percent of the total sample of caretakers captured by the Under-Five
Questionnaire. It is interesting to note that the most active group among the males as far as taking
care of the young ones are concerned is not fathers, but brothers comprising 54 percent of the total
number of male caretakers in the sample.

This leads us to make a second observation about the profile of the caretakers, that is, their very
young age. The Questionnaire data reveal that more than one third (37%) of those accompanying
the infants to the streets are children themselves. Among the ‘mothers’, 24 percent claimed to be
below the age of twenty, constituting slightly over 36 percent of the total number of caretakers in
this age category! Almost 92 percent of those who said they were siblings (both sisters and
brothers) of the infants under their care said likewise.

An almost equal percentage (36%) of the caretakers are youthful ranging between the ages of 21-30.
Mothers constitute about 88 percent of the youthful caretakers.
Table 8: Age of person with child under the age of 5 (N=727)

                                                                                      Other             No
             Mother      Father     Aunt     Uncle    Sister      Brother   Friend Relatives Others Response Total
             8                      1                 26          25        9         11         1      1         82
1-10 yrs          (1.1%)              (0.1%)               (3.6%)     (3.4%) (1.2%)       (1.5%) (0.1%)    (0.1%)     (11.3%)
             89                     5        3        49          23        8         9          1                187
11-20 yrs        (12.2%)              (0.7%) (0.4%)        (6.7%)     (3.2%) (1.1%)       (1.2%) (0.1%)               (25.7%)
             226         10         8        1        5                     2         3                 3         258
21-30 yrs        (31.1%)     (1.4%) (1.1%) (0.1%)          (0.7%)              (0.3%)     (0.4%)           (0.4%)     (35.5%)
             65          9          5        7                    1         1         9          1                98
31-40 yrs         (8.9%)     (1.2%) (0.7%)       (1%)                 (0.1%) (0.1%)       (1.2%) (0.1%)               (13.5%)
             3           7                                                            9                           19
41-50 yrs         (0.4%)       (1%)                                                       (1.2%)                       (2.6%)
             2           1                            1                               8                           12
51-60 yrs         (0.3%)     (0.1%)                        (0.1%)                         (1.1%)                       (1.7%)
                                                                                      1                           1
61-70 yrs                                                                                 (0.1%)                       (0.1%)
                                                                                      1                           1
80-90 yrs                                                                                 (0.1%)                       (0.1%)

Not                                                                                                                          1                           1
applicable                                                                                                                        (0.1%)                       (0.1%)

No           13              4                           1             3              1             5            7           9             25            68
response            (1.8%)        (0.6%)                      (0.1%)         (0.4%)        (0.1%)       (0.7%)        (1%)        (1.2%)        (3.4%)         (9.4%)
             406             31            19            12            84             50                         58          13            29            727
Total              (55.8%)        (4.3%)        (2.6%)        (1.7%)        (11.6%)        (6.9%)25 (3.4%)            (8%)        (1.8%)         (4%)          (100%)




                                                                                                                                                               48
                                                                                      Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




4.3        Reasons for Streetism
From the above, one can see that the induction of many children begins very early on in life. The
infants learn about street life first as observers peering out into the world from over the shoulders of
their young (and not so young) caretakers, strapped to their backs with pieces of cotton materials.
These infants are on the streets, not because they want to be there, but because the streets are where
they are taken care of all or most of the day, where they eat, play and dream their dreams.

The older children come to the streets for a variety of reasons. Three major “pull” factors as cited
by the children in the Headcount Questionnaire were to earn money (58.4%), food (52.4%) and
recreation (34.4%). Less than one percent (0.8%) admitted that it was drugs that brought them to the
streets, though observations revealed definite under-reporting on this count16. None gave ‘sex’ as a
reason for being in the streets (See Figure 10). However, qualitative data (discussed further in
Chapter Five) suggests that once in the streets, sex becomes an important part of the lives of the
children, especially for the girls.

The major factors “pushing children to the streets may be identified as domestic conflicts and
orphan hood. The issue of “push” factor was covered in the Survey Questionnaire and Qualitative
Interviews. The findings pertaining to these are presented in the next chapter.
Figure 10: Reasons for Coming to the Streets (N=9697)


                                    5000

                                    4500

                                    4000

                                    3500
             Numbers of responses




                                    3000

                                    2500
                                                                                                                        FEMALE
                                    2000                                                                                MALE

                                    1500

                                    1000

                                    500

                                       0
                                           FOOD   MONEY         RECREATION          DRUGS            SEX
                                                   Reasons for com ing to the Streets



                                                          Source: Headcount Questionnaire




16
     Majority of the children over the age of five who were interviewed were observed to be sniffing glue.




                                                                                                                                   49
                                                                                                                                      Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




Table 9: Reasons for Coming to the Streets by Locale and Gender (Pull Factors)
                                                                                      Recreation
                                                                                                                                                Nairobi W.
        Buruburu /                                       Huruma /                                                                               /
        Kariobangi             Dandora /                 Kariobangi                                            Mathare/                         Wilson     Pumwani/
        / KCC      City Centre Maili saba Embakasi       North      Kasarani          Kibera         Korogocho Eastleigh/Pangani Mukuru         /Madaraka Ziwani/Kariokor Total
                                                                                         Female
Yes              4         32          85            2          149            24               71           52               87          111                4          39         660
%              0.2        1.4        3.8         0.1            6.6         1.1                3.2          2.3        3.9                4.9          0.2        1.7              29.4
No              43        275         188         24              81           34              102           50              225          399                4          34         1459
%              1.9       12.2        8.4         1.1            3.6         1.5                4.5          2.2       10.0            17.8             0.2        1.5              64.9
NR                   1          9      10         23                  3         7               21                            13           41                                       128
               0.0        0.4        0.4         1.0            0.1         0.3                0.9                     0.6                1.8                                       5.7
Total           48         316       283          49            233            65              194          102              325          551                8          73        2247
%              2.1       14.1       12.6        2.2            10.4         2.9                8.6          4.5       14.5            24.5             0.4        3.2             100.0
                                                                                          Male
Yes             70         159        271            9          489         133                262          282              420          258          100              217       2670
%              0.9        2.1        3.7         0.1            6.6         1.8                3.5          3.8        5.7                3.5          1.3        2.9              36.0
No             304        1161       362        219             385            55              335          517              444          482          194              83         4541
%              4.1       15.7        4.9         3.0            5.2         0.7                4.5          7.0        6.0                6.5          2.6        1.1              61.2
NR               8         23          24         24             26            11               23            4               18           41                2            1        205
%              0.1        0.3        0.3         0.3            0.4         0.1                0.3          0.1        0.2                0.6          0.0        0.0               2.8
Total          382       1343        657        252             900         199                620          803              882          781          296              301        7416
%              5.2       18.1        8.9         3.4           12.1         2.7                8.4         10.8       11.9            10.5             4.0        4.1             100.0
                                                                          No ‘gender identification’
Yes                                        1                                                                                   2            2                1                        6
%                                    2.9                                                                               5.9                5.9          2.9                         17.6
No               3                                                    1                          1            2                8            3                3                       21
%              8.8                                              2.9                            2.9          5.9       23.5                8.8          8.8                         61.8
NR                              2       2                                         1                                                         2                                         7
%                         5.9        5.9                                    2.9                                                           5.9                                      20.6
Total            3              2       3                             1           1              1            2               10            7                4                       34
%              8.8        5.9        8.8                        2.9         2.9                2.9          5.9       29.4            20.6            11.8                        100.0
Table 9: continued


                                                                                                                                                                                          50
                                                                                                                                     Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



                                                                                        Money
                                                                                                                                               Nairobi W.
        Buruburu /                                        Huruma /                                                                             /
        Kariobangi             Dandora /                  Kariobangi                                          Mathare/                         Wilson     Pumwani/
        / KCC      City Centre Maili saba Embakasi        North      Kasarani        Kibera         Korogocho Eastleigh/Pangani Mukuru         /Madaraka Ziwani/Kariokor Total
                                                                                        Female
Yes              31       209          45            15          153            29             79           32              184           76                4           7         864
%              1.4        9.3        2.0         0.7             6.8         1.3              3.5          1.4        8.2                3.4          0.2        0.3              38.5
No               16        98        228             11           77            29             94           70              128          434                4          66         1255
%              0.7        4.4       10.1        0.5              3.4         1.3              4.2          3.1        5.7            19.3             0.2        2.9              55.9
NR                   1          9      10        23                    3         7             21                            13           41                                       128
%              0.0        0.4        0.4         1.0             0.1         0.3              0.9                     0.6                1.8                                       5.7
Total           48        316        283         49              233            65            194          102              325          551                8          73        2247
%              2.1       14.1       12.6        2.2             10.4         2.9              8.6          4.5       14.5            24.5             0.4        3.2             100.0
                                                                                         Male
Yes            275       1096        352        185              740         174              377          358              644          277          207              99        4784
%              3.7       14.8        4.7        2.5             10.0         2.3              5.1          4.8        8.7                3.7          2.8        1.3              64.5
No              99        224         281        43              134            14            220          441              222          463           87              201       2429
%              1.3        3.0        3.8         0.6             1.8         0.2              3.0          5.9        3.0                6.2          1.2        2.7              32.8
NR               8         23          24        24               26            11            23             4               16           41                2            1        203
%              0.1        0.3        0.3         0.3             0.4         0.1              0.3          0.1        0.2                0.6          0.0        0.0               2.7
Total          382       1343        657        252              900         199              620          803              882          781          296              301        7416
%              5.2       18.1        8.9         3.4            12.1         2.7              8.4         10.8       11.9            10.5             4.0        4.1             100.0
                                                                           No Gender Identification
Yes              3                                                                              1            1                5            3                2                       15
%              8.8                                                                            2.9          2.9       14.7                8.8          5.9                         44.1
No                                         1                           1                                     1                5            2                2                       12
%                                    2.9                         2.9                                       2.9       14.7                5.9          5.9                         35.3
NR                              2          2                                     1                                                         2                                         7
%                         5.9        5.9                                     2.9                                                         5.9                                      20.6
Total            3              2          3                           1         1              1            2               10            7                4                       34
%              8.8        5.9        8.8                         2.9         2.9              2.9          5.9       29.4            20.6            11.8                        100.0


Table 9: continued
                                                                                         Food



                                                                                                                                                                                         51
                                                                                                                                      Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



                                                                                                                                                Nairobi W.
        Buruburu /                                        Huruma /                                                                              /
        Kariobangi             Dandora /                  Kariobangi                                           Mathare/                         Wilson     Pumwani/
        / KCC      City Centre Maili saba Embakasi        North      Kasarani         Kibera         Korogocho Eastleigh/Pangani Mukuru         /Madaraka Ziwani/Kariokor Total
                                                                                         Female
Yes              16        167         97            16          174            50             100           16              185          68                 4          22          915
%              0.7        7.4        4.3         0.7             7.7           2.2             4.5          0.7        8.2                3.0          0.2        1.0              40.7
No               31       140         176            10           56             8              73           86              127          442                4           51        1204
%              1.4        6.2        7.8         0.4             2.5           0.4             3.2          3.8        5.7            19.7             0.2        2.3              53.6
NR                   1          9      10        23                    3         7              21                            13           41                                       128
%              0.0        0.4        0.4         1.0             0.1           0.3             0.9                     0.6                1.8                                       5.7
Total           48        316        283         49              233            65             194          102              325          551                8          73        2247
%              2.1       14.1       12.6        2.2             10.4           2.9             8.6          4.5       14.5            24.5             0.4        3.2             100.0
                                                                                          Male
Yes            192        880        282        175              731           164             401          210              680          217           117             103        4152
%              2.6       11.9        3.8         2.4             9.9           2.2             5.4          2.8        9.2                2.9          1.6        1.4              56.0
No             182        440        350         53              143            24             196          589              184          523          177              197       3058
%              2.5        5.9        4.7         0.7             1.9           0.3             2.6          7.9        2.5                7.1          2.4        2.7              41.2
NR               8         23          25        24               26             11            23             4               18           41                2            1        206
%              0.1        0.3        0.3         0.3             0.4           0.1             0.3          0.1        0.2                0.6          0.0        0.0               2.8
Total          382       1343        657        252              900           199             620          803              882          781          296              301        7416
%              5.2       18.1        8.9         3.4            12.1           2.7             8.4         10.8       11.9            10.5             4.0        4.1             100.0
                                                                            No Gender Identification
Yes                  1                     1                           1                         1            1                8            2                2                       17
%              2.9                   2.9                         2.9                           2.9          2.9       23.5                5.9          5.9                         50.0
No               2                                                                                            1                2            3                2                       10
%              5.9                                                                                          2.9        5.9                8.8          5.9                         29.4
NR                              2       2                                         1                                                         2                                         7
%                         5.9        5.9                                       2.9                                                        5.9                                      20.6
Total            3              2       3                              1          1              1            2               10            7                4                       34
%              8.8        5.9        8.8                         2.9           2.9          2.9          5.9        29.4              20.6            11.8                        100.0
                                                                           Source: Headcount Questionnaire (N=9697)




                                                                                                                                                                                          52
                                                                Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



Disaggregation of the data by gender shows some differences between why girls and boys come to
the streets. For girls, the reasons are food (40.7%), money (38.5%) and recreation (29.4%) in that
order. For boys, the main reasons are money (64.5%), food (56.0%) and recreation (36.0%). As is
to be expected, fewer girls than boys cited drugs as a reason for being on the streets. In Figure 10
this data is presented graphically.

As may be inferred from Table 9 children overwhelmingly come to the streets of City Centre,
Dandora/Maili Saba, Embakasi, Huruma/Kariobangi North, Kasarani, Kibera and
Mathare/Eastleigh/Pangani in the hope of finding food and money. Additionally, in Buru Buru,
Kariobangi South and Nairobi West/Wilson and Madaraka, money seems to be the prime
attraction. It is only in Huruma/Kariobangi North, Kasarani and Pumwani/Ziwani/Kariokor that
recreation becomes a significant reason that draws the children into the streets. In the other areas,
recreation was not mentioned as a major reason for being in the streets.

Table 10: Number of Children who responded to being Orphans (N= 9,697)

Gender                     Yes                  No                      No Response         Total
Female                     14                   2105                    128                 2247
                                     (0.1%)               (21.7%)              (1.3%)                 (23.2%)
Male                       87                   7125                    204                 7416
                                     (0.9%)               (73.5%)              (2.1%)                 (76.5%)
No ‘gender response’       -                    27                      7                   34
                                                            (0.3%)             (0.1%)                   (0.4%)
Total                      101                  9257                    339                 9697
                                     (1.0%)               (95.5%)              (3.5%)                (100.0%)
                                      Source: Headcount Questionnaire



It is interesting to note that against common assumptions that orphanhood with only one percent
of the total respondents is not a major factor contributing to the increase of children living on and
off the streets of Nairobi City.


4.4     Summary

This chapter presented key issues that emerged from an analysis of the Headcount and Under-Five
Questionnaires. Findings from twelve locales covering over 10,000 children living and working on
the streets of Nairobi reveal the following trends:

        Four locales, that is, City Centre, Mukuru, Mathare/Eastleigh/Pangani and
        Huruma/Kariobangi, host more than half 55.2% the total number of children living
        and working in the 12 research sites in Nairobi District.
        Children aged less than five years comprise approximately 7% of the total. The
        highest number of under-five year olds was found in the same four locales with the
        highest number of older children.




                                                                                                              53
                                                      Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



    Data on the children five years and above indicate dominance of eleven to fifteen
    year olds. This group constitutes over 50% of the valid cases recorded.
    Approximately a quarter of the children and young people counted in the twelve
    locales were female. Mukuru had the highest number of females (over 40%).
    Reasons explaining the relatively smaller number of girls counted in the streets of
    Nairobi include
             The reluctance of girls to be counted due to suspicion of the researchers’
             motives;
             Older boys and men living on the streets often preventing the counting of
             girls under their “protection”;
             Cultural inhibitions preventing the counting of girls especially by men;
             Inability of researchers to gain access to at least one site where there
             allegedly was sexual exploitation of girls.
•   An overwhelming number of children on the streets of Nairobi are Agikuyu (46%).
    Other ethnic groups significantly represented are the, Luo, Luhya and Kamba.
    On the whole there are more non-Gikuyu children living and working on the streets
    of Nairobi. However, many of the non-Gikuyu children claimed to be able to speak
    the language fluently. Kiswahili was identified as the most commonly spoken
    language (91.7%) English is spoken by a much smaller number of children
    (13.88%).
    Data on language spoken further revealed that the children on the streets of Nairobi
    are multi-lingual, with a majority speaking at least two languages (66.1%).
    The study reveals that majority of the children in the streets of Nairobi are not in
    any form of education. Relatively few attend school (32.4%). Almost half of the
    girls who were counted (41.7%) claimed to be involved in some educational
    institution.
    The highest percentage of children both girls and boys who said they were in
    school fell within the 11-15 age bracket.
    Children’s responses on what work their parents do varied from petty trading
    household and domestic work, illicit brewing and begging done by mothers while
    skilled manual labour, farming and guarding was said to be done by fathers.
    Almost a third of the children (28.8%) indicated that they have been abandoned or
    their parents are deceased.
    Children ‘of” the streets or the full-timer comprise a significant minority---
    approximately 14 percent of the total sample. Most of them are boys.
    63% of the children indicated that they have spent around five years or less on the
    streets of Nairobi either on full time or part time basis.
    “Street mothers” and/or other people introduce the culture of streetism to the
    children at an early age.




                                                                                                    54
                                                         Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




                                   CHAPTER FIVE
                LIFE ON THE STREETS OF NAIROBI


5.0 Introduction
Having taken a look at the profile of the children, here we turn our focus on the quality of their
lives taking off where we ended the last chapter, i.e. the reasons why the children are on the
streets. What kind of lives do they lead? What do they do? Why do they do what they do? What
are some of the problems that they face? What are their aspirations, hopes and expectations? And
what is being done for them? An attempt is made to answer these and other related questions in
this chapter, using the results of the Survey Questionnaire, Interviews and Children’s Workshops.
The information from these sources is supplemented by observation (unstructured) data, data
obtained through the mapping exercise and from the experiences of the researchers.

As mentioned previously, 606 children gave their informed consent to answering the Survey
Questionnaire, among them 172 girls and 417 boys and 17 children who’s gender was not
recorded/specified. The ages of the respondents ranged between only four and twenty-four, with
the majority (approximately 56% of the total) falling in the 11-15 age bracket, thus corresponding
with the demographic profile of the children as revealed by the Headcount. Girls constituted a
little over 28 percent of the respondents. A breakdown of the respondent profiles by locale and
gender however indicate variations with an equal number of girls and boys forming part of the
sample in the City Centre. Incidentally, the highest number of respondents was drawn from the
City Centre (19%) and the least from Dandora/Maili Saba (3.14%). It must be reiterated here that
though the sample size was fairly large, it was essentially a non-probability sample and therefore
statistical inferences cannot be drawn from it.

A further thirty individuals were interviewed using qualitative interviewing techniques. The
interviewees comprised representatives of selected organisations (6.67%), members of the police
force (3.33%), members of the public (20%) and children (70%). Out of the thirty, eight (26.67%)
were female. The interviewees were probed on issues relating to their family relations, rights,
schooling and perceptions regarding street children and life.

The three qualitative workshops drew children between the ages of 10-20 years. Unfortunately of
the 102 participants, only 7 (6.86%) were girls. The workshops used debates (Mukuru and City
Centre), discussion (Mukuru and Korogocho) and games and role plays (Korogocho) to break the
ice and obtain relevant data.




                                                                                                      55
                                                                          Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




5.1        Leaving Home
As we saw in the previous chapter, a significant number of children (14% of the total Headcount
sample) had made the streets their home. The proportion of children in the Survey who said they
were living on the streets, however, was much higher than this, constituting 57.8 percent of the
sample. Girls comprised 57.6 percent of the 172 females and boys 59.7 percent of 417 males in the
Survey sample. It should be remembered that the respondents of the Survey were selected using
purposive sampling techniques such as convenience sampling and snow-balling. Chuoms or the
residential areas of the children were deliberately targeted. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that
the proportion of children “of” the streets identified through the Survey Questionnaire was so
much higher.

The Survey data reconfirmed money, food and recreation/socialisation as major reasons, singly or
together, bringing children to the streets of Nairobi. However, the lack of money, food and
recreational/socialisation facilities are consequences rather than underlying causes for children
leaving home permanently or on a part-time basis. Two additional factors that emerged from the
Survey data are more instructive. Approximately 20 percent of the respondents said that domestic
conflicts had driven them to the streets. Another 8 percent cited their orphaned status as the main
cause (See Table 11). These findings are corroborated by the qualitative data. . It should be noted
that some of the children interviewed gave multiple reasons for leaving home.



Table 11: Reasons for Leaving Home (n= 58917)
           Reason               Female        % of total female                   Male            % of total male
                  Money            49                    28.5                      137                     32.9
                    Food           35                    20.3                      117                     28.1
        Domestic conflicts         34                    19.8                       85                     20.4
            Socialisation          26                    15.1                       94                     22.5
                  Orphan            8                     4.7                       35                     8.4
               Education           13                     7.6                       21                     5.0
                 Clothing           4                     2.3                       15                     3.6
                   Drugs            2                     1.2                       9                      2.2
                    Total          171                                             513
     Total Valid Pop. (N)          172                                             417
                                                 Source: Survey Questionnaire




A closer look at the two additional factors reveals them to be “push” factors. Table 12 summarises
the number and percentage of children by locale who said that they had come to the streets either
due to domestic conflicts or orphan hood. As the table shows, City Centre has the highest number
of children who had left home because of these two reasons.
17
     The table only reflects on those children who’s gender was identified/captured.




                                                                                                                       56
                                                                                               Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




                                      Table 12: REASONS FOR COMING TO THE STREETS
                                                      (PUSH FACTORS)
                                                           DOMESTIC CONFLICTS

                            Dandora/           Huruma/                                Mathare/                            Pumwani/
                            Maili              Kariobangi                             Eastleigh/        Nairobi W.?       Ziwani/Ka
      Buruburu City centre saba       Embakasi North       Kasarani Kibera Korogocho Pangani Mukuru Wilson/Madaraka riorkor         TOTAL
YES           16         34         6        5           8        2       6         2         15      9                 7        10          120
%         2.60%      5.60%        1%    0.80%       1.30% 0.30%         1%     0.30%      2.50%  1.50%             1.20%     1.70%      19.80%
NO            17         74        13       19          28       21      60        64         47     48                19        26          436
%         2.80%    12.20% 2.10%         3.10%       4.60% 3.50% 9.90%         10.60%      7.80%  7.90%             3.10%     4.30%      71.90%
NR             4          8                  9           5        3      11         2          3      3                           2           50
%         0.70%      1.30%              1.50%       0.80% 0.50% 1.80%          0.30%      0.50%  0.50%                       0.30%        8.30%
TOTAL         37        116        19       33          41       26      77        68         65     60                26        38          606
%         6.10%    19.10% 3.10%         5.40%       6.80% 4.30% 12.70%        11.20% 10.70%      9.90%             4.30%     6.30%         100%

                                                                 ORPHANHOOD
      Buruburu/
      Kariobangi              Dandora/           Huruma/                                Mathare/                              Pumwani/
      South                   Maili              Kariobangi                             Eastleigh/         Nairobi W./        Ziwani/
      /KCC        City Centre Saba      Embakasi North       Kasarani Kibera Korogocho Pangani Mukuru Wilson/Madaraka Kariokor TOTAL
YES             2           9         1        1           4                7         5           6      4                  5                 44
%          0.30%       1.50% 0.20%        0.20%       0.70%            1.20%     0.80%          1%  0.70%              0.80%              7.30%
NO             31          99        18       23          32       23      59        60          53     52                 16         36     502
%          5.10%      16.30%        3%    3.40%       5.30% 3.80% 9.70%          9.90%      8.70%   8.60%              2.60%     5.90%   82.80%
NR              4           8                  9           5        3      11         3           6      4                  5          2      60
%          0.60%       1.30%              1.50%       0.80% 0.50% 1.80%          0.50%          1%  0.70%              0.80%     0.30%    9.90%
TOTAL          37         116        19       33          41       26      77        68          65     60                 26         38     606
           6.10%      19.10% 3.10%        5.40%       6.80% 4.30% 12.70%        11.20% 10.70%       9.90%              4.30%     6.30%     100%
                                                      Source: Survey Questionnaire (N=606)




                                                                                                                                            57
                                                              Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



In the qualitative interviews, children talked of poverty at home, the alcoholism of parents and
frequent beatings by them, and heavy work burden. Tom, a boy who was attending rehabilitation
classes at the time of the research, observed that if he did not have his needs met by his parents,
it was not because of poverty but unwillingness and negligence to do so on their part. He claimed
that his parents made enough money from selling illicit brew (known locally as busaa) to pay for
his basic expenses such as schooling (Interview, Mukuru).

A girl said she had run away from home fearing her father’s ire at discovering that she had stolen
his money. She had used the money to buy cigarettes and maandazi18 (Children’s Workshop,
City Centre Feb 2002).

Another fourteen-year old girl recalled:
            My mother gave me to somebody to come and work as a maid. She [the
            employer] later mistreated me until I escaped from her and since home is far, I
            decided to stay in the streets (Supplementary Observations, Headcount
            Questionnaire).

Mistreatment also occurs in the event of remarriage by parents. The case of twelve-year old
David is illustrative. David ran away from home when his father remarried after the death of his
mother. He alleged mistreatment by the step-mother.

In the opinion of a key informant:
            Majority of the parents do not know how to take care of children. They lack time
            to sit down with the children so as to understand their problems. Other parents
            use dirty language to abuse them while others don’t want to take up their
            responsibilities as parents. They fail to pay keen attention on what the children
            want or their views. Street children are not happy with the treatment by parents
            at home. They feel that life on the street is better than life at home since they are
            not needed by parents. (Interview, Mukuru)

According to the same informant, children also flee from home to escape their parents’ control:
            Some children also go to the streets to imitate their parents’ bad behaviours
            such as theft. Once the children take up this bad habit, they turn to the streets to
            have the freedom of exercising the habit. (Interview, Mukuru)

Similarly, a village elder’s assessment of the situation is
            Some children also go to the streets out of their own will. They feel they should
            not be sent by their parents [on errands/given work to do]. They run away so
            that they can have freedom of doing as they like without parental control.
            (Interview, Mukuru)




18
     Local doughnut


                                                                                                           58
                                                                         Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



Both children and adult informants noted
the rising numbers of total orphans19 in                  Box 5: A Poem
the streets of Nairobi. The HIV/AIDS
                                                          Kuzaliwa nimezaliwa, kulelewa ndiyo shida
pandemic was identified as a major
                                                          Mamangu akaniwacha, maisha kannishinda
cause of orphan hood. Notes an
                                                          Njaa ninalala, usingizi sipati
informant: “If one parent dies today the
                                                          Mawazo nikawaza, mwishowe nikaamua.
other dies two days to come”, leaving
children without adult care or support.
                                                          Nyumbani nikatoka, mtaani nikaingia
Two-and-a-half years old Christine is
                                                          Wenzangu nikawapata, maisha tukayaanza
“fortunate” that she is being taken care
                                                          Barabarani nashinda, kuombaomba ndio mtindo
of by a neighbour. Her father died of
                                                          Kupewa ndio shida, chakula sipati.
AIDS two years ago while her mother
passed away just two weeks before the                     Source: Extract of a poem recited by Tabitha, girl living in the
Headcount.               (Supplementary                   streets of the City Centre recited at the workshop
Observations, Headcount Questionnaire)

In the case of fourteen-year old Maurice, he came to the streets after the death of his mother.
After her death, he has had to fend for himself (for the last six years), as there was nobody to pay
his school fees or take care of his other needs. His two other siblings also passed away leaving
him all alone in the world. (Supplementary Observations, Headcount Questionnaire)

Some of the children are deprived of adult care and support because of abandonment as
expressed in the poem. (Box 5) To paraphrase the poem, it describes the problems that the young
girl has to face after her mother abandons her, leaving her without food or shelter. Eventually,
she decides to go to the streets, make friends and start a new life for herself, though she finds that
life on the streets is also not easy.

In other cases children are forced out into the streets by their parents or guardians to “look for
money” whether through begging, prostitution or other means. In some cases, babies are used as
human shields against arrest by the police and/or as “begging tools”. (Supplementary
Observations, Under-Five Questionnaire)


Children “On” the Streets
Not all the children leave home to live on the streets permanently as we have noted in the
previous chapter. The majority maintains strong ties with their natal homes, going back to them
either in the evenings or weekends or at the end of the month. These are the children who are
generally described as being ‘on’ rather than “of” the streets.

The Survey revealed 54,6 percent of children in this category. Of the total number (331) of these
222 were boys which reflect that 53,2% of the boys interviewed during the survey have a home
where they belong and return to at night. The figures further reveal that the percentage of girls
who go home in the evenings, namely 63,4% of all 172 girls covered by the survey, is higher
than that of the boys, meaning less girls than boys call the street their home. Table 13 presents
data on the percentage of children ‘on’ the streets by locale and gender. As the table indicates,
19
     Total orphan refers to the situation where both parents are dead


                                                                                                                             59
                                                               Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



the highest number of children “on’ the streets come from the sprawling slum areas. In Kibera
majority of “street” children, namely 84,4% of the children who participated in the survey,
actually go home to sleep, in Huruma/Kariobangi North 75,6%, in Dandora/Maili Saba 73,7%
and Mukuru 71,7% of the children covered by the survey go home at night.

Table 13: Children "On" the Streets by Gender and Locale
          (n= 331 which equals 54% of the total survey population)
Locale                         Female                    Male                    Total
Buruburu/Kariobangi South/                   3                        13         16
KCC                                                                                        (43,2%)
City Centre                                14                             5      19
                                                                                           (16,4%)
Dandora/Maili Saba                           4                        10         14
                                                                                           (73,7%)
Embakasi                                     3                        18         21
                                                                                           (63,6%)
Huruma/Kariobangi North                    10                         21         31
                                                                                           (75,6%)
Kasarani                                     3                        12         15
                                                                                           (57,7%)
Kibera                                     20                         45         65
                                                                                           (84,4%)
Korogocho                                  18                         29         47
                                                                                            69,1%)
Mathare/Eastleigh/Pangani                  12                         14         26
                                                                                             (40%)
Mukuru                                     18                         25         43
                                                                                           (71,7%)
Nairobi W/Wilson/Madaraka                                                 9      9
                                                                                            34,6%)
Pumwani/Ziwani/Kariokor                      4                        21         25
                                                                                           (65,8%)
TOTAL                                   109                        222            331
                  % of total          63,4%                      53,2%                      54,6%
                                   Source: Survey Questionnaire (N=606)




5.2      Life on the Streets
Both the children “of” and “on” the streets suffer from varying degrees of neglect, abuse and
exploitation by the same adults assigned the responsibility by society for their welfare and
development. Some of the children have been born and are being brought up on the streets. Cases
in point are four-year old Francis and one-and-a-half-year old Eric who have known no other
home than the streets of City Centre. The researchers described their twenty-one year old mother
as “an incorrigible street girl who expressed no interest in getting out of the streets”. Twenty-




                                                                                                            60
                                                                   Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



four years old Kanaikuru20 has been in the streets since she was twelve. She is the mother of
four. The youngest child was only two weeks old at the time he was counted.

Researchers observed that some of the children left under the care of their fathers (because of the
death of the mothers) are not cared for and vulnerable to sexual and physical exploitation. The
parents of three-and-a-half year old Musangi separated after a quarrel. His mother left the child
with the father (age 24) who, according to the researcher, was a “drunkard”. In her role as a
social worker, the researcher “rescued the child for fear of sexual abuse since they sleep
outside”.

The problem of alcoholism and drug abuse by the parents of the children appears to be very
common. Researchers observed that many of the parents (mothers and fathers) accompanying the
infants were found to be looking “worried and confused due to the intake of drugs”. At the same
time, drug usage is prompted by the very many problems that they face in the streets, rendering
them psychologically and physically “unstable”.
Financial instability is characteristic of street life. Among other more obvious drawbacks, it may
result in nomadic lifestyles of the children. The mother of one-year old Florence, herself only
twenty, has devised a way of coping with the problem of shelterlessness.

            She survives through her friends, for example, staying with one for one to two
            months and another friend three to four and then to another. This way manages
            her life and that of her baby. (Supplementary Observations, Nov. 2001)


                                       Box 6: How we survive
       Sarah (4 years) normally comes here with her friend Hannah (age 16) to look for handouts
     when they are available.

        David (5 years) and Bush (12 years) were picking up dropped meat and chewing the collected
     bits.

        Mbithe (3 ¾ years) looks for fallen leftovers and looks hungry all the time.

        Five-year old Daddy was alone and could not disclose his parents’ name. He had come to this
     place for some meals.

                                          Source: Supplementary Observations, Under-Five Questionnaire Huruma/Kariobangi




The implications of abandonment, neglect and instability on the children cannot be
overemphasised. Several cases of infants roaming the streets, scavenging or playing on their own
emerged during the course of the fieldwork. Many others were accompanied by their older
siblings or neighbours, some of whom were barely six years old themselves. Sometimes even
when adults were present, neglect of the small children was apparent. As one researcher noted:

20
     A nickname


                                                                                                                       61
                                                                 Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



“The mother seemed not to care about the welfare of the child because she could move very far
leaving the child with big street men”.

It is therefore not surprising that a number of the children encountered in the streets appeared to
be malnourished and diseased. Kwashiorkor, diarrhoea, whooping cough, marasmus and skin
diseases such as scabies are common ailments among the children living out in the cold and heat,
without any or at best inadequate shelter and protection. (Supplementary Observations, Under-
Five Questionnaire, 2001)

For the children with various forms of disabilities, the situation may even be worse. Five year old
Paul was apparently abandoned by his parents when they realised that he was not “normal”. An
aunt who is looking after him now is “looking for ways so that he can be taken to a special
school” (Supplementary Observations, Under Five Questionnaires, Korogocho). The situation is
no different for two-year old Agnes who has been left under the care of her aunt and bedridden
grandmother (Supplementary Observations, Under-Five Questionnaire, Kibera).

The children also live under the constant fear of abduction and being separated from their
families. Two examples of the expression of this fear are cited here. Mwikali (age 29) was
suspicious of the researchers and “was extremely keen to know why we were filling forms fearing
that we might take away her children from her”. (Supplementary Observations, Under-Five
Questionnaire) Seven year-old Ben (who refused to disclose his name) and his three-year old
brother Bosco were looking for things to sell and eat when the researchers approached them.
Ben, however, was hostile telling his young brother that “These are the people who steal
children” (Supplementary Observations, Under-Five Questionnaire).

                                                           The poem recited by Grace (presented in Box 7)
  Box 7: Chokora Mwana wa Pipa                             very touchingly describes life on the streets for the
                                                           children living in them. In the poem, she laments
  Ndege wa angani aacho kiota, mnyama
                                                           that though birds have nests, and wild animals
  mwitu analo pori
                                                           have jungles that they call homes, for the child
  Chokora maskini mimi kwetu sina,
                                                           living in the streets the home is the dustbin. The
  ndisposa nakula na kulala pipani
                                                           dustbin is where she eats and sleeps, but if she
  Nipe malezi nipe chakula, pipani sitala
                                                           could have a home and food, she would not be
  tena
                                                           sleeping in the bins. What Grace is referring to as
  Source: Extract from a poem recited by Grace, a girl
  living on the streets of the City Centre at the workshop
                                                           a dustbin is really the garbage dumps. During the
                                                           mapping exercise, about seven such sites were
                                                           identified in different parts of Nairobi. The
garbage dumps are also gold mines for the children who derive a large part of their livelihood
and subsistence from these sites.

In addition to the garbage dumps, concentrations of children are found in “chuoms” and “bases”,
within the vicinity of market places and shopping centres, next to bus stages, within slums, parks
and recreation centres. The slums where some of the chuoms are located border affluent
residential areas. Chuoms refer to communes-like structures where street children sleep while
bases are where their economic activities take place. (See Table 14) Children also frequent drop-




                                                                                                              62
                                                                      Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



in and rehabilitation centres that were indicated on the maps (attached as a separate volume) of
all the research locales except for City Centre and Buru Buru/KCC.

Table 14: Areas of Concentration of Children in Research Locales
 Locales                         Chuom       Base        Slum        Shopping       Garbage           Recreation
                                                                     Centre         Dump Site         Centre
 Embakasi                        3                                   3              3
 Eastleigh/Pangani/              9           12                      6                                2
 Mathare
 Pumwani/Ziwani/                 1           4                       2
 Majengo
 Huruma/Kariobangi/              4           5                       6              2                 3
 North
 KCC/Buruburu                                9           2
 Nairobi West/Wilson/            5           5           2           6                                2
 Madaraka
 Kibera                                      9           1           4                                2
 Kasarani                                    6           1           3              2
 City centre                     18          21                                                       2
 Mukuru                          4           12          4           7
 Dandora/Maili saba                          5           6           6                                1
                                              Source: Mapping of Locales


Work and Subsistence
As has been described in study after study, to survive in the streets, children have to work,
though the larger community may not perceive it to be so. Children come specifically to the
streets for their daily subsistence and earn a living to enable them to meet their basic needs.
Sometimes, the children, especially the part-timers, take their income, whether in cash or kind, to
their families. Table 15 summarises the work-related, income-generating activities that the
children are involved in as mentioned by the respondents of the Survey Questionnaire.


Table 15: Children's Work-Related Activities
     Method of Earning Money Female % of female                                    Male             % of male
                            Begging         102               59.3                  209                   50.1
                      Selling things         36               20.9                  167                   40.0
                              Acting         0                0.0                    14                    3.4
                   Commercial sex           12                7.0                    1                     0.2
                      Other means           35                20.3                  160                   38.4
                Total Responses21           185                                     551
             Total Valid Pop. (N22)         172                                     417
                                          Source: Survey Questionnaire (N=606)

21
   Since more than one response was allowed per respondent, the number of responses is actually more than the total
valid population.
22
   The total population of children interviewed is 606. However, there were no responses in 17 cases for the question
of gender of children. Detailed tables showing these are available in a separate volume


                                                                                                                   63
                                                                     Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




As we can see from the Table 15, begging constitutes the most common income-generating
activity for the children. It appears to be more prevalent among the girls than the boys. However,
in absolute terms, there are more boys begging on the streets of Nairobi than there are girls. The
ratio of boy to girl beggars in Nairobi stands at 67:3323 according to the Survey findings. This is
presented graphically in Figure 11.
Figure 11: The Gender Ratio of “Child-Beggars” counted in 12 locales in
Nairobi


                                            1%
                                                                    33%

                                                                                                FEMALE
                                                                                                MALE
                                                                                                No response

                      66%




                                         Source: Survey Questionnaire (N=606)



Figure 12: Children Scavenging on the Streets by Gender


     250



     200



     150
                                                                                                     YES
                                                                                                     NO

     100                                                                                             NO RESPONSE




      50



       0
                  FEMALE                     MALE                     NO RESPONSE


                                         Source: Survey Questionnaire (N=606)


23
 This proportion was obtained from children who responded in the affirmative to begging as a way of getting
money


                                                                                                                  64
                                                                Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




A fairly large number of children also scavenge for things to sell, such as waste paper collected
from garbage dumps for recycling, charcoal, scrap metals, retrieving “valuables” from the river
and drains, fruits and other edibles. Boys dominate in this set of activities with the gender ratio
standing at 82:18 (boys:girls) as depicted in Figure 12.

Lumped under the ‘other means’ on Table 15 are a whole variety of jobs such as:

       •   Collecting and disposal of garbage
       •   Working as domestic worker
       •   Working as gardener
       •   Car washing
       •   Breaking stones
       •   Fetching water for money
       •   Cleaning toilets in bars and restaurants
       •   Working as porters
       •   Acting as courier (including drug peddling) and running errands
       •   Doing casual work at City Market
       •   Looking after vehicles in parking lots
       •   Washing other people’s clothes
       •   Catching and holding goats

Also under ‘other activities” we may include gambling and stealing. Stealing as a income-
generating activity needs further elaboration. Based on the data, we may distinguish between
stealing by an individual (a) on his/her own initiative; and (b) on behalf of others in exchange for
payment (cash or kind) (See Box 8).


       Box 8: Earning a Living from the Streets
       My job is ngetta. I catch people. I snatch from people. I do it against my will to get
       money to help myself.
                                                  Source: Interview with boy working on the street, City Centre

       When you are young its very cold. There are problems of getting money and food,
       and when you see someone with a watch you cut it so that you get ways of eating.
       And if you see someone with money, you snatch it. Sometimes you collect waste
       paper and metal to help yourself in future. We are young and there are those who
       are older and they are our leaders.
                                                Source: Interview with a boy working in the streets, City Centre

       When I get up after sleep I take my sack and go around looking for waste paper to
       sell in order to get money. Sometimes I get a job in a hotel to clear rubbish in Tea
       Room.
                                                Source: Interview with a boy working in the streets, City Centre


       I go to hotels to empty their bins for which I’m paid Khs.50. That is how I get
       small small money to earn a living.
                                                Source: Interview with a girl working in the streets, City Centre



                                                                                                                    65
                                                                      Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




Table 15 also identifies acting and commercial sex as additional income generating activities. It
is interesting to note that while acting as an avenue for earning money appears to be exclusive to
boys, at least one boy admitted to indulging in commercial sex, which otherwise is dominantly a
female activity. Given the sensitivity of the subject, there is possible that involvement of
children, both girls and boys, is under-reported. It may be recalled that the researchers did not
have access to one site in Kasarani that reputedly has a concentration of children involved in
commercial sex work.

During the Children’s Workshops, commercial sex as an income generating activity formed part
of the discussions. The girls in particular talked of the various types of clients including “white
men” and “decent men” who pay for sex, sometimes as much as Ksh. 1,000 per night. The higher
rate is charged for having sex without the use of condom. There is also a preference for young
girls.

According to one girl who was interviewed:

         Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday there is a regular white man by the
         name of K----- who comes for girls. Most of the decent men like young girls with
         tight breasts, not people like us with children. They even go with pregnant girls.
         (Interview during the Children’s Workshop, City Centre 2002)

Other girls reported that occasionally, clients may demand for aberrant sex including the practice
of bestiality.

                                                                         Though sex among the street children
  Box 9: Sex syndicates                                                  seems to be relatively common, one
                                                                         boy reported paying Ksh.20 to have
  In the Ghetto slum (Huruma), I discovered a sex
                                                                         un-protected sex with an older
  syndicate involving one woman and five street boys.
                                                                         woman. According to participants at
  The boy revealed to me that they normally contribute
                                                                         the Mukuru Children’s Workshop,
  between Ksh. 10-20 that they pay to the woman for
                                                                         they may pay between Ksh. 10-20 for
  sexual favours. Each boy goes one round in turn. They
                                                                         sex with girls on the streets “If they
  call it “combi” , short for “combined effort”.
                 Source: Researcher’s Experience, Huruma/Kariobangi
                                                                         want money”.




Non-work and Friendship Activities
Children were asked about what non-work activities that they engage in on the streets.
Socialising/recreation emerged as the main non-work activity that the children said they engaged
in on the streets with their friends. This category includes a wide range of activities that the
children said that they do within their friendship groups to a greater or lesser degree. Table 16
presents the activities as identified by the boys and girls.
As can be seen from the Table 16, many of the recreational activities are similar for both boys
and girls. What they have described as recreational activities is not commonly seen to be this.



                                                                                                                   66
                                                              Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



Mutual support and assistance, for example, seems to be common to both genders as are
activities like going to church, telling stories, sharing things.

Table 16: Recreational Activities of Girls and Boys
Girls                                               Boys
      Playing (e.g. ball)                                 Sharing food, clothes
      Singing                                             Playing (e.g. ball, football, cards, pool,
      Visiting each other                                 marbles, stones, hide and seek)
      Going to church, mosque, praying to God             Gambling
      Talking of Christianity                             Loving each other and sharing things
      Sharing food, eating together, buying each          Swimming
      other food                                          Strolling/walking
      Relaxing                                            Reading
      Telling stories                                     Telling/sharing stories
      Reading                                             Smoking cigarettes/bhangi24, sniffing glue,
      Helping and caring for each other                   chewing miraa25, taking beer, getting drunk
      Sharing views                                       Fighting with stones, fighting enemies
      Watching videos                                     Beating up people
      Strolling/walking                                   Stealing money, surrounding a person and
      Walking together                                    taking his money
      Reciting poems and singing                          Making fun of girls, sharing stories about
      Looking for men together                            girls
      Living/staying together                             Looking for money
      Company and security when going home                Hanging on cars, from buses
      Smoking cigarettes, sniffing glue                   Watching videos, movies
      Abusing those who beat us                           Cycling
      Selling things together with friends                Training together
      Exchanging clothes                                  Resting
      Learning how to read and write                      Begging
      Discussions about life in general and               Going to church with friends, Sharing
      bringing up children                                stories about Christian life
      Loving                                              Sleeping together
                                                          Sewing clothes
                                                          Singing
                                                          Making love, having sex, looking for girls
                                                          Eating together
                                                          Helping each other in times of sickness,
                                                          difficulties and attack
                                                          Shopping
                                                          Chatting
                                             Source: Survey Questionnaire


However, there are certain differences like boys talking of a wider variety of games as compared
to the girls. Boys admitted to be more aggressive and delinquent behaviour such as fighting,
beating up others and stealing sometimes with violence. Another form of socialisation/stroke
recreation that they talked about was sex. Indulgence in this activity by boys was further
24
     Marijuana
25
     Khat


                                                                                                           67
                                                                 Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



corroborated by the qualitative data. From the data, it emerges that the boys prefer (like the men
soliciting commercial sex) intercourse “flesh to flesh” that means without a condom (Male
Participants Children’s Workshop, Mukuru) because “you cannot eat a sweet with its cover”
(Male Participant, Children’s Workshop, City Centre). The percentage of boys and girls
engaging in selected non-work, friendship group activities are presented in Table 17.

Table 17: Activities done with friends disaggregated by gender of respondents
 Activity                          Female (n=172)                       Male (n=417)
 Playing games                                     44.2%                                54.2%
 Video shows                                        1.2%                                 6.5%
 Looking for Items to sell                          4.7%                                 3.6%
 Taking drugs                                       4.7%                                12.9%
 Begging                                           18.0%                                20.1%
 Socialising                                       52.9%                                44.8%
 Going to church                                    2.3%                                 1.0%
 Looking for jobs                                   4.1%                                 9.1%
 Having sex                                           0%                                 1.0%
                                        Source: Survey Questionnaire


A note on going to church as an activity is perhaps in order though the percentage identifying
this as what they do with their time was very small. However, when asked whether they do go
for worship anywhere, the majority (57.6%) responded in the affirmative. A high number
(52.5%) indicated that they go to church. Only 3.1 percent indicated that they worshipped in the
mosque while another 2.3 percent said they worship in other places. More than a third of the
respondents admitted that they did go anywhere for worship. (See Table 18)

Table 18: Place of Worship by Gender
 Place of Worship            Female    % of total female                Male            % of total male
 Church                      112       65.1%                            198             47.5%
 Mosque                      3         1.7%                             16              3.8%
 Others                      4         2.3%                             9               2.2%
 Not applicable              44        25.6%                            187             44.8%
 Total valid pop (N)         172                                        417
                                        Source: Survey Questionnaire


The table also indicates that a relatively greater percentage of girls go to places of worship
(almost 70 %). Compared with this, relatively smaller percentage of boys do likewise
(approximately 53%). Conversely, almost 45 percent of the boys in the sample said they do not
go to any place of worship, while 27 percent of the girls said likewise. Disaggregation of the data
by locale indicates that 50 percent of the respondents in Mukuru and Nairobi
West/Wilson/Madaraka said they do not worship in any place.

Among the ‘other’ category is included the revivalist Mungiki sect. Though reportedly a
minority, the influence of this sect on the lives of the children and society should not be under-
estimated.


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                                                              Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




   Box 10: The Mungiki Factor
   During the children’s workshop at Korogocho, the event almost took of to a bad start as
   attempts at building rapport and breaking the ice backfired. The facilitator decided to involve
   the children in singing as an ice-breaker. Unfortunately, the choice of the song, a Christian
   song, offended the majority of the (male) child participants who apparently were followers of
   the Mungiki sect. These children threatened to walk out if the facilitator did not choose a
   song more acceptable to them. The facilitator complied, selecting a traditional Kikuyu song.
   This song proved to be very popular and the children sang it and danced to it with much vigour
   and enthusiasm.                                                          Source: Workshop Observations



Available data suggests that most of the friendships are forged between members of the same
gender. Over 70 percent and 80 percent of female and male respondents claimed that their first
and second best friends respectively were of the same gender as themselves.
Drug-taking and studying were identified as two other non-work activities of children. One must
be careful not to infer from the data presented here that drug use is a minor problem on the
streets. Observations of the children on the streets do not corroborate such a conclusion. During
the administration of the various research instruments, children and their caretakers were both
found to be “high” on drugs such as glue and/or illicit brews. During Korogocho Children’s
Workshop, the participants came sniffing glue and in the case of the older children, tobacco.
Similarly at the Mukuru Children’s Workshop, most of the children were sniffing glue cans
popularly known as “mobiles”. The use of drugs, especially by boys was also reported under the
socialising/recreational activities as we have seen. Thus, the possibility of under-reporting of
drug use and dependence in the question on non-work activities is strong.

The identification of ‘studying’ as a non-work activity by the children is, to say the least,
curious. This possibly refers to the participation of the children in some form of education in
rehabilitation centres. Currently, the education level of the children is, as expected, relatively
low. In terms of educational attainment, over a half of the respondents had reached only up to
lower primary, while another quarter had participated in upper primary (See Table 19 and Figure
13. Those participating in secondary education were found to be negligible (less than 1%). The
data does not indicate how many have actually completed either primary or secondary schooling
and how many are still currently attending school.

Table 19: Level of Schooling by Gender (n=589)
Level of Schooling          Female        % of Female              Male                 % of Male
Pre-School                         8                  4.7%             24                             5.8%
Std 1-4                           96                 55.8%            206                            49.4%
Std 5-8                           37                 21.5%            113                            27.1%
Form 1-2                           1                  0.6%              2                             0.5%
Form 3-4                                                                1                             0.2%
Other                             8                   4.7%              7                             1.7%
Total                           150                  87.3%            353                            84.7%
Total Valid Pop (N)             172                                   417



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                                                                             Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




Figure 13: Level of Schooling by gender in %

               60.00%




               50.00%




               40.00%
  percentage




                                                                                                           % of Female
               30.00%
                                                                                                           % of Male




               20.00%




               10.00%




               0.00%
                        Pre-School   Std 1-4   Std 5-8          Form 1-2     Form 3-4      Other
                                                  Level of Schooling



                                                    Source: Survey Questionnaire


From Table 19 it appears that relatively more girls (roughly 56%) than boys (49%) of the total
female and male respondents respectively attain lower primary education. Though participation
levels drop for both genders in upper primary, relatively fewer girls are to be found here than
boys.

In addition to schooling, approximately 18 percent of the children said that they had acquired
marketable skills. Of the 100 children (age group 6-25 yrs) who replied in the affirmative, 77
percent were boys. With 70,8% of the entire survey population being boys it means that there is
no big difference between boys and girls aged between 6 and 25 years when it comes to the
dissemination and or basic knowledge of some sort of professional/craft skills.

Not surprisingly, the girls who claim to have some skills training are trained in gender
stereotyped areas like tailoring and hair-dressing. The boys, in contrast, seem to have access to a
wider range of occupations including carpentry, mechanic/spanner boy, games (e.g. boxing) and
hotel services among others. Though none of the boys reported training in hair-dressing, 4
(5.19%) said they had done tailoring. Only 26 (27.66%) of the respondents who had responded to
the question said that they had been trained in the skill in an institution. All the others said they
had acquired the relevant skills on the job either from a relative or a friend.




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                                                                  Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




Table 20: Skills Training by Gender

                 Age * Attendance of any skills training institutions * Gender Crosstabulation

                                                            Attendance of any skills training institutions
                                                                                      Not              No
  Gender                                                   yes         No         applicable       response        Total
  Female        Age     1-5              Count                               1                                           1
                                         % of Total                       .6%                                         .6%
                        6-10             Count                   1          24                                6         31
                                         % of Total           .6%      14.0%                             3.5%       18.0%
                        11-15            Count                   8          75               1               18       102
                                         % of Total         4.7%       43.6%              .6%           10.5%       59.3%
                        16-20            Count                  13          18                                4         35
                                         % of Total         7.6%       10.5%                             2.3%       20.3%
                        21-25            Count                                                                1          1
                                         % of Total                                                        .6%        .6%
                        No response      Count                               1                                1          2
                                         % of Total                       .6%                              .6%       1.2%
                Total                    Count                  22        119                1               30       172
                                         % of Total        12.8%       69.2%              .6%           17.4%      100.0%
  Male          Age     1-5              Count                               1                                1          2
                                         % of Total                       .2%                              .2%        .5%
                        6-10             Count                   6          44                                7         57
                                         % of Total         1.4%       10.6%                             1.7%       13.7%
                        11-15            Count                  38        162                1               36       237
                                         % of Total         9.1%       38.8%              .2%            8.6%       56.8%
                        16-20            Count                  38          57                               12       107
                                         % of Total         9.1%       13.7%                             2.9%       25.7%
                        21-25            Count                   1           4                                           5
                                         % of Total           .2%       1.0%                                         1.2%
                        Dont know        Count                   1           2                                           3
                                         % of Total           .2%         .5%                                         .7%
                        No response      Count                               6                                           6
                                         % of Total                     1.4%                                         1.4%
                Total                    Count                  84        276                1               56       417
                                         % of Total        20.1%       66.2%              .2%           13.4%      100.0%
  No response   Age     No response      Count                   4          12                                1         17
                                         % of Total        23.5%       70.6%                             5.9%      100.0%
                Total                    Count                   4          12                                1         17
                                         % of Total        23.5%       70.6%                             5.9%      100.0%

                                      Source: Survey Questionnaire (N=606)




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                                                               Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




Time Use Patterns
The Survey tried to investigate how much time children spend on the streets, and on what type of
activities. What emerges from both the quantitative and qualitative data is that:

        •   Children’s time use is flexible, unstructured and complex. A large proportion
            of time, often the whole day, is spent on looking for money and food
        •   At the same time, these activities go hand in hand with socialising and
            recreation.


Denial of Their Rights
Given the socio-economic contexts within which they live and work, it is inevitable that the
rights of the children are constantly violated. The violations identified by the children (in the
form of problems faced) include

          Lack of food and other basic necessities due to economic deprivation
           Beatings/harassment (including sexual harassment and abuse) by bigger street
       children, security personnel and members of the public
           Lack of shelter and clothing (cold at night)
            Other problems (such as lack of medical facilities, assuming adult
       responsibilities at tender ages, withholding of payments for services rendered)

The results of the Survey Questionnaire on this issue are summarised in Table 21.

Table 21: Problems Faced By Children on the Streets (n=606)
Problems Identified                                 Frequency            Percentage
Lack of money/food                                           294                    48.5
Beatings/harassment by bigger street children                186                    30.7
Harassment by police/guards                                  185                    30.5
Cold at night                                                162                    26.7
Beating/harassment by the public                              46                     7.6
Other problems                                                78                    12.9
No major problem experienced                                  19                     3.1
                                      Source: Survey Questionnaire


It is hardly surprising that more than three quarters of the respondents not only acknowledged
that they had many problems but were able to identify and differentiate between these. It is also
not a totally unexpected finding that the lack of food and money should feature as a priority
problem facing the children, or that the younger children are subjected to beatings and
harassment by bigger street children/people. What is shocking though is the allegation by
respondents of harassment by security forces personnel, both the Kenyan police and private
guards.



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                                                                                      Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




       Box 11: Police Harassment
       This is how it goes. If a policeman finds street children, he victimises them. If you are
       caught without money, you will be arrested. They also slap us whenever we meet with them.
       When the police arrest us, they demand for a ‘job identification card’, which is Ksh. 50.00
       or Ksh. 100.00. If you give them Ksh. 100.00 you are set free. Those who do not have the
       “identification” are beaten but if you have Ksh. 100, they tell you to go away and not to turn
       or look back. Yet they are the “government”[they should protect us], are they not?

       Source: Participants at the Children’s Workshop at Korogocho responding to a role-play on the life of the street children in the
       presence of the police force.




The children recounted harrowing incidents of police brutality and abuse. They alleged trumped
up charges, beatings, punishments, jailing for minor offences, confiscation of goods and stealing
of money by the very same people who are charged by the State to protect its citizens! A boy
related his experience with the police in the streets of Nairobi:

              The police are not good because they accuse us falsely. They write for us
              offences like robbery, raping, stealing. In addition to taking us to the police
              station in the industrial area where we are beaten fourteen strokes of the cane.
              Industrial area is a place full of misery and suffering. (Male participant,
              Children’s Workshop, City Centre)

The story was the same for many of the children who talked to the researchers. According to
them, they are accused of:

             •     loitering when you are innocently sleeping on the pavement
             •     walking aimlessly at night
             •     prostitution
             •     stealing---yet I am not a thief but I park cars near Nakumatt


Alleged one boy:
              One time when I was living in a house made of paper at the museum, police from
              Parklands came and ordered me out of my house. When I left the house, a pistol
              was pointed on my forehead. They ordered me to get inside their vehicle. At the
              station I was accused of idling. Consequently, I was put in for three days
              “washing”26 before being released. (Male Participant, Children’s Workshop,
              City Centre, 2002)



26
     This refers to the activities that go on in the police cells


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                                                                    Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



And another:
        They come to our base to take us to go and wash toilets and cut grass. Yet there
        are many people here who are taking illicit brew who are never touched. When
        they find you idling they assume we do not work, but we have jobs. For instance
        you will find me carrying a sack as a way of looking for food. (Male Participant,
        Children’s Workshop, City Centre)

The children complained of being “thrown into lorries and land rovers like sacks of potatoes”
(Participant, Children’s Workshop, Mukuru) and their efforts at earning a living being thwarted
by insensitive members of the police force:
         The problems that we get are when we are doing a business of waste paper
         collection, you are arrested unawares, and yet you aren’t stealing and those who
         steal spoil for us. If someone steals next to me and disappears if I am found I
         will be arrested. (Interview, Street Boy, City Centre 2002)

Children are also busted for taking alcohol and drugs. Said another workshop participant:
          They [the police] are bad because they take us to jail and approved schools
          whenever they find us taking local beer. Yet the local beer is the tea taken by the
          street children. It is not good to arrest the street children for taking the local
          beer. Others arrest us for no reason. They arrest us whenever they see us.
          Others killed six people in Thika.27 (Male Participant, Children’s Workshop,
          City Centre, 2002)

However, not all children had negative encounters with the police force. A few, notably girls,
had positive experiences with them. One girl had this to say in favour of the police:
          I came to Jeevanjee Gardens where I was arrested and taken to Kirigiti Girls’
          Approved School where I was taught good manners. May God bless the police.
          (Female Participant, Children’s Workshop, City Centre, 2002)

Yet another one recalled with gratitude:
        The police are good because they arrested me and took me to the children’s cell
        after which I was taken to an approved school where I was trained to knit
        sweaters. (Female Participant, Children’s Workshop, City Centre, 2002)

In addition to helping in their rehabilitation, girls also emphasised on the protective role of the
police, noting that they “save us from being beaten by other boys and thieves”. This positive
image of the police was reinforced by a boy at the City Centre workshop who argued that the
“police are good because they saved girls from Maasais [private security guards] who used to
rape them the whole night”. Some of the children also praised the police for saving them from
mob justice. (Participant, Children’s Workshop, Mukuru)

Despite these interventions on behalf of the police force, among the people that children said
they feared the most, members of the police topped the list at almost 50 percent (See Table 22).

27
  This refers to an incident that took place shortly before the interview in which the police cold-bloodedly murdered
six prisoners.


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                                                                Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



If guards and City Council askaris are added to this, then the percentage rises to approximately
60 percent.

Table 22: People Feared Most by Children Living and Working in the Streets
   People Feared Most           Frequency                                  Percentage
 Police force                                           289                                47.69
 Guards                                                  62                                10.23
 Thieves                                                 43                                 7.10
 Public                                                  80                                13.20
 Big street boys/girls                                  221                                36.47
 City Council askaris                                    15                                 2.48
                                    Source: Survey Questionnaire (N=606)

Big street boys (and girls) have the dubious distinction of being second on this list of the feared.
However, disaggregation of the data by gender reveals some interesting trends:
        •   While almost 52 percent of the total number of male respondents identified
            the police as the people they fear most, a relatively smaller percentage of girls
            (approximately 38 percent of the 172 female respondents) said likewise.
        •   The opposite is true when it comes to fear of the bigger boys. More girls
            (48% of the total number of girls in the sample in contrast to 32% of the
            boys) said that they were afraid of them.
        •   Harassment was identified as the main reason why both girls and boys fear
            the police (82% and 78% of the valid cases respectively). But the reasons for
            fearing bigger boys differ by gender: While for girls (41%) harassment was
            the leading factor, for boys (13%) being beaten by them was a more
            commonly cited reason for fearing them. (About 11% of the boys alleged
            harassment).

Harassment as a reason for fearing requires unpacking. Children defined harassment as
        • Being beaten
        • Having one valuables snatched by the older boys
        • Not being allowed to sleep by the pavements being guarded
        • Being insulted
        • Being arrested by the police
        • At the “chuoms”, having food snatched away and not being allowed to eat.
From the perspective of girls, harassment includes rape, both individual and gang. Bigger boys,
for example, may gang rape a girl who
        •   Is visiting her boy friend in the base “because people know that you have not
            married her”;
        •   Has differed with her boy friend and therefore is punished by him;
        •   Refuses the overtures of the boy who has been “tuning” her.

Night guards also demand sexual favours of girls in exchange for permission to sleep on
pavements.


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                                                               Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




To avoid rape and consequently HIV/AIDS, girls have devised coping strategies such as
       •   Sniffing glue to keep them awake the whole night
       •   Sleep in open public places like Jeevanjee Garden or Uhuru Park during the
           day
       •   Getting a baby so that boys can leave them alone when they are told that “the
           baby has a father”[and thereby a protector].



5.3    Perceptions and Aspirations
The harassment of the children by various categories of people is closely related to the
perceptions that the wider community has of them. Generally, these perceptions tend to be
negative as the labels used to describe them listed in Table 23.

Table 23: Public Perceptions and labelling of “Street” Children
 Your mother’s stupid                              Thief
 Bad looking face                                  Dog
 Your sister                                       Mungiki
 Cockroach                                         Bird
 You have left your mother at home to              Useless potter
 come and disturb me?                              Eggs
 Work first before I can give you money            Survivor
 Call your mother first before I can give          Dirty
 her money                                         Gay
 You think I am your mother?                       Satan
 One who travels aimlessly                         Broker
 Toilet drunkard                                   Sheep
 Prostitute                                        Useless talker
 Rude Thugs                                        Gumboot
 Beggar                                            I will have sex with you
 Scavenger                                         Homosexual
 Goat                                              Baboon
 Thug dog                                          Monkey’s anus
                                                   Bad looking
                             Source: Children’s Workshops, Korogocho & Mukuru


The word ‘chokora’ is the most common term used to refer to street children. According to
informants, this word has multiple meanings including the following:

       •   Person who begs to get money to eat
       •   Someone who belongs to the streets and fends for itself by maybe collecting
           waste paper


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                                                           Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



           •    Somebody who has dirty clothes, stays in a dirty environment and sniffs glue
           •    Somebody with dirty clothes and the way the person carries itself like an
                “abnormal” person


However, the word originally derived from Hindi, observed one informant, means a child and is
not necessarily derogatory:

            A long time ago, there were not so many Africans in Westlands and Parklands
            so when we go scavenging in the bins, Asian women would call us chokora. It is
            not a bad name. (Interview, Street Child, City Centre)

The children on the whole rejected their negative public image. They vehemently denied that
they were all thieves and robbers alleging that “real” thieves and robbers tended to frame them.
They further argued that they wear dirty clothes because of the nature of the work they do
“because if you put on clean clothes, they will be spoilt”. (Children’s Interviews, City Centre)



     Box 12 Promoting Positive Self-Images
       We street children, we think that we are human beings, that we are ordinary like any other
     person. The only difference is the clothes that we put on and when you see us you’d think we
     are from the wilderness.
       A chokora is a human being. It’s [other] people who have branded us with that name.
                                                                      Source: Children’s Interviews, City Centre


       When we cross over to their areas they think we are thieves, but we are not thieves. We go
     there to look for food. We tell them that Kenya is ours, so why are we not allowed to cross
     over to Ngomongo?28
       Sometimes the public looks at us as bad people, but God knows we are good people. Also the
     people who are close to us know we are good people.
       If somebody calls you a dog and you don’t have a tail that will not make you become a dog.
     The best attitude is to let them call you what they want.
       For me, even if somebody calls me street boy or thief, I will not bother because I know
     myself.
                                                                      Source: Children’s Workshop, Korogocho



However, others pointed to the danger of labelling in provoking predictions to come true. They
observed that “When people look at us like bad people, that is when we become bad”. Thus,
according to some discussants at the Children’s Workshops, “If a person calls you a thief, steal
from him or her”. They further justify stealing from “Those men with big stomachs” who “you
borrow them money and they refuse to give it”. (Participants, Children’s Workshop, Korogocho)


28
     The name of a slum area bordering Korogocho.




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                                                          Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



It is perceived as ones right to “take” what one should have but does not. Similarly, begging as a
way of wealth redistribution was rationalised by the children (See Box 5.9).


   Box 13: Takers and Beggars
   As takers we believe that when one is born God blesses us with some rights. But as you grow,
   if you are lacking necessities and another has (for example if me as a Kikuyu I am lacking and
   a Luo has) then it is my right to fight to follow up my necessities. This also means that our
   right is there but somebody has hidden it.


   Begging is not wrong. Let us take it like this: If I have nothing to eat and my
   neighbour has, what will be wrong in borrowing? People should not find that a bad
   habit.

   Some of us do not have parents or guardians at the same time cannot carry heavy
   loads. Such people must beg to get food.
                                                                    Source: Children’s Worskshop, Korogocho



Some of the children who participated in the study defended street life for a number of reasons.
The streets provide them with food, drinks and money, they pointed out. But most of all, they
appreciated the freedom they have on the streets to roam around, smoke cigarettes and bhangi
(marijuana), sniff glue and have girl-friends.



Attitudes to Sex and Sexuality
As mentioned in earlier sections, having sex is an important part of children’s lives on the streets
of Nairobi. Sex as we have seen can be consensual, commercial or coercive. Sometimes
perceived to be the “life-saver” in terms of the money that it earns girls (and perhaps the boys)
on a daily basis, sex ironically also rings the death knell of many. Children---both boys and girls-
--are aware of this negative aspect of unprotected sexual intercourse. During interviews and
workshops, they identified the negative effects of sexual relationships as HIV/AIDS, STDs
including syphilis and gonorrhoea. They identified the signs of these diseases as

                   Sudden slimming (HIV/AIDS, STDS)
                   Swelling of the lower part of the body (syphilis and gonorrhoea)
                   Pain when passing urine (syphilis and gonorrhoea)
                   Becoming sickly (HIV/AIDS)
                   Getting sores (HIV/AIDS)
                   Coughing (HIV/AIDS)
                   Vomiting blood (HIV/AIDS)
                   No hair




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                                                                  Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



They however, also noted that “It is difficult to tell if one has AIDS” because “if you eat well you
will look healthy even if you are HIV positive”. (Girls interviewed during Children’s Workshop,
City Centre; Boys interviewed during Children’s Workshop, Mukuru)

The children’s knowledge of the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other STDs appears to be a mix
of facts and myths. One male discussant recalled learning from his biology lesson in school that
“STDs like AIDS are contracted through viruses which are transmitted through sexual
intercourse” and that these viruses “kill the white blood cells which normally provide the body
with immunity against diseases such as tuberculosis”. (Children’s Workshop, City Centre)

There also appears to be a realisation that there are various ways of contracting HIV/AIDS
and/or other STDs other than sexual intercourse. Some of these as identified by the children are
presented in table 24.

Table 24: Perceptions of Street Children on Ways of Contracting AIDS
Facts                                                   Myths
•   Contaminated sharp objects that         •                Food bought from the kiosk
    may pierce somebody when                •                “Girls moving around aimlessly without
    working in dumping sites                                 washing their body”
•   Contaminated implements used by the •                    Sleeping with a girl bigger than the boy,
    barber                                                   depending on the size of the boy’s penis
•   Sharing of (contaminated) sharp objects                  (This was identified specifically in relation
    like razor blades                                        to the spread of syphilis)
                                            •                Through prostitution

                                   Source: Children’s Workshop, City Centre


Sometimes, it is believed, HIV/AIDS is spread deliberately. “Once people get infected” the
children alleged, the infected people infect others since “they want to die with others”. Other
times, drunkenness or drug abuse makes one forget the dangers of abstinence and/or unprotected
sex. To quote a boy on the issue of drunkenness: “Drunkenness breaks the brain and one
becomes like an insane person”. (Male Participant, Children’s Workshop, City Centre)

The children identified ways they thought they could use to avoid contracting HIV/AIDS:
        •   Getting a baby as protection against rape “so you can tell them [boys] that the
            baby has a father”
        •   Avoiding “girls I know are loose”
        •   Abstaining from sex
        •   Tying the penis with many polythene bags
        •   Being faithful to one’s partner
        •   Seeking counselling from pastors and other counsellors
        •   Being tested before marriage
        •   Praying to God (There was a belief among the girl interviewees that God
            would protect a girl form HIV infection should she be gang raped!
        •   Use condoms


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                                                            Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




The use of condom as a preventive measure, however, does not seem to be universal. Many of
the children, both boys and girls, who participated in the discussions during the fieldwork period
expressed their resistance to the idea of condom use. The reasons forwarded for the resistance
included
         • Preference for the feel of the naked flesh
         • Condoms are not 100 percent safe
         • Gang rape do not need any “gear”
         • Having unpremeditated sex on the spur on the moment not allowing time for
            looking for a condom



                                Box 14: In Case I Cough-----
            No, [I don’t use condom] because the condom is big and our penis are small. If
            you put it on, it can come off in case you cough.

            To ensure that it does not come off we tie the bladders, or you can use
            polythene papers for ice or mini-packs, or balloons.

            The best option is not to use any of the above because the papers may be having
            minute holes. Also papers are not soft, they can hurt us.
                                                       Source: Participants, Children’s Workshop, Mukuru




Definition of Rights
Children defined human right as

        •    What you want which is a must that you get
        •    Peace and love
        •    Things that we expect to be given by others for example, “if you work for a
             person and he refuses to pay your money you will tell them to give you your
             right” (Participants, Children’s Workshop, Mukuru)

They identified their rights to be
        •    The right to education
        •    The right to clothing
        •    The right to good health
        •    The right to food and shelter
        •    The right to protection (not to be beaten or discriminated against)
        •    The right to good parental guidance
        •    The right to be treated as a “normal human being”.




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                                                                  Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



The children talked of their hopes and aspirations for the coming year. While a few expressed the
desire to go back to their rural homes, the majority prioritised schooling and getting a job in that
order. There appeared to be a feeling that not enough was being done to make their dreams come
true.

Table 25: Future Plans of the Children for the Next One-Year (n=589)
Future plans for next        Female         % of total female                Male        % of total male
one year
Go back home (rural                 12                         7.0%                 32                  7.7%
home)
Go back to school                  90                        52.3%                157                 37.6%
Get a job                          17                         9.9%                 63                 15.1%
No plans                           16                         9.3%                 51                 12.2%
Vocational training                 1                         0.6%                  8                  1.9%
Others                             20                        11.6%                 69                 16.5%
TOTAL (N)                         172                                             417
                                         Source: Survey Questionnaire




5.4    Intervening on behalf of the Children
It is estimated that there are 250 organisations that cater for the welfare of children living and
working on Kenyan streets. Though majority of the respondents had some knowledge of such
organisations (approximately 49%), an equally large percentage (45%) did not know anything
about any of them. More percentage of the total number of male respondents (51%) than the total
number of female respondents (42%) was aware of them. Knowledge of organisations helping
children in their locales was above average in Pumwani/Ziwani/Kariokor (84.2%) followed by
Dandora/Maili Saba (78.9%). In contrast, less than 11 percent of the respondents in
Buruburu/Kariobangi South/KCC knew of any operating within the area. A list of organisations
by services offered is appended as Annex 4.

Among the most frequently mentioned organisations were Made in the Streets (MIP), Goal
Kenya, Source of Solution Integration Programme (SSIP), Undugu Society, Save the Children
Centre, Mary Immaculate and Kwetu Home of Peace. Very many of the children who responded
to the relevant question on interventions, mentioned different churches as sources of help. (Table
reflecting this is provided in Annex 7)

The children identified the provision of food and education as the most common activities of
these centres. Other activities that the children expressed awareness of were the distribution of
clothes, medical assistance, provision of shelter and to a very small degree, counselling.




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                                                                         Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




Table 26: Beneficiaries by Gender29 and Age

                                                                   Benefit gained from participation
                                                                                       not            no
     Gender                                                 yes           no        applicable     response     Total
     Female         Age      1-5            Count                              1                                      1
                                            % of Total                      .6%                                    .6%
                             6-10           Count                 2            1             24             4        31
                                            % of Total       1.2%           .6%         14.0%           2.3%     18.0%
                             11-15          Count                21           12             53            16      102
                                            % of Total      12.2%          7.0%         30.8%           9.3%     59.3%
                             16-20          Count                14                          17             4        35
                                            % of Total       8.1%                         9.9%          2.3%     20.3%
                             21-25          Count                 1                                                   1
                                            % of Total         .6%                                                 .6%
                             No response    Count                                             1             1         2
                                            % of Total                                     .6%           .6%      1.2%
                    Total                   Count                38           14             95            25      172
                                            % of Total      22.1%          8.1%         55.2%          14.5%    100.0%
     Male           Age      1-5            Count                 1            1                                      2
                                            % of Total         .2%          .2%                                    .5%
                             6-10           Count                 6            6             39             6        57
                                            % of Total       1.4%          1.4%           9.4%          1.4%     13.7%
                             11-15          Count                55           28           117             37      237
                                            % of Total      13.2%          6.7%         28.1%           8.9%     56.8%
                             16-20          Count                34           16             40            17      107
                                            % of Total       8.2%          3.8%           9.6%          4.1%     25.7%
                             21-25          Count                 3                           2                       5
                                            % of Total         .7%                         .5%                    1.2%
                             Dont know      Count                 1            1                            1         3
                                            % of Total         .2%          .2%                          .2%       .7%
                             No response    Count                 2            2              2                       6
                                            % of Total         .5%          .5%            .5%                    1.4%
                    Total                   Count              102            54           200             61      417
                                            % of Total      24.5%         12.9%         48.0%          14.6%    100.0%
     No response    Age      No response    Count                 6            6              3             2        17
                                            % of Total      35.3%         35.3%         17.6%          11.8%    100.0%
                    Total                   Count                 6            6              3             2        17
                                            % of Total      35.3%         35.3%         17.6%          11.8%    100.0%

                                             Source: Survey Questionnaire (N=606)


Of those who said that they were or had participated, almost 85% claimed that they had benefited
in one way or another. Table 26 presents the gender ratio of the self–professed beneficiaries
From the responses, education (42%) tops the list of benefits that the children get from
participation in the activities of the organisations. This is followed by the provision of food
(21%), clothes (13%) and medical assistance 6%) and recreation (6%).



29
     38 female and 102 male said that they had benefited from participating in organisational activites


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                                                                           Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




                                                                          However, awareness of organisations
     Box 15: Perception of Organisations                                  does not necessarily translate into
                                                                          utilisation of their services. According to
     Organisation X is based in this area. Their offices                  the Survey findings, less than 29 percent
     are down there near the sewage. If you take any                      of the total number of respondents stated
     complain to them they tell you to go to your area                    to utilise/involve in the activities offered
     chief. When you go to the chief you are beaten                       to “street children”. Gender differences
     and put in.                                                          in participation were found to be
                                                                          marginal: While approximately 26
     Organisation X refers people to the government,                      percent of the total number of girls said
     which does not care about us. If you go to them,                     they were participating in the activities
     you are shot.                                                        of the organisations, about 29 percent of
                   Source: Participants, Children’s Workshop, Korogocho   the total number of boys said likewise.




Table 27: Evaluating Interventions
Good Things                                                         Bad Things
School:                                                             School:
Sponsors education                                                  Beatings from teachers for beating prefects
Acquire knowledge                                                   Love affairs
Opportunities for games
Books                                                               Punishment for late coming
Eating with friends                                                 Punishment for speaking in Kiswahili
Lunch/food                                                          Going with NAS to school
Free Nyayo milk
School is good because they issued me with a
leaving certificate that assisted me to get an ID
card.

Centre:                                                             Centre:
Good food                                                           We are not allowed to talk to our friends [those in/on
We are taught about HIV/AIDS and other diseases                     the street] because they think we may not come back
We are given good clothes                                           We are given the same kind of food everyday
                                                                              30
We are taken for visits                                             (githeri)
We go for competitions                                              Their rules are too harsh:
We are taught various things                                         • They shave our hair
We are allowed to mix and meet with other people                     • We [girls] are not allowed to wear trousers
who visit the Centre                                                 • We are not allowed to have love affairs
We are taught how to live and take good care of                     We are not provided with shoes
ourselves                                                           No teachings on the youth are given to us.
We are also taught about God’s love

                                               Source: Children’s Workshop, Mukuru


Some of those who said they had not benefited from the interventions complained of negative,
non-empathetic attitudes of the implementing agencies.

30
     A traditional dish of maize and beans


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                                                        Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



One of the respondent’s of the Survey Questionnaire said when probed:

        I did not benefit because they chose to help me the way they wanted to and did
        not listen to me. They took me to my aunt’s place where I was mistreated rather
        than taking me to my mother’s place.

Another, a (street) mother, said: “They have not assisted me because I have not changed my
life”. One respondent further recalled: “They used to quarrel me every time I wanted to take my
child to school, so I gave up”.

During the qualitative workshops with children, the children discussed the merits and demerits of
some of the interventions that they had participated in including schools and centres. Their
perception of these are summarised in Table 27.

Though the children identified more positive than negative elements in the schools and
interventions, it is important to note what they dislike with a view to bringing about
improvements in the future. The dislikes expressed seem to have to do with discipline in one way
or another: punishments, rules and regulations, and freedom of movement and association. The
issue of relevance of content taught was also raised.

Other informants, through both formal interviews and informal discussions, noted two additional
points: On the one hand, they observed that many of the organisations dealing with the
rehabilitation of street children were doing good work. These organisations should therefore be
appropriately rewarded. The reward should include adequate remuneration for the staff
committed to the welfare and protection of the children. On the other hand, there were others that
were misusing and misappropriating money meant for interventions. These organisations and
individuals within them should be made accountable and the money given by donors should be
used for the purpose that they were meant for.


5.5    Summary
This chapter attempted to take a quick look at the lives of the children living and working on the
streets of Nairobi. It highlighted the issue of domestic conflict and orphan hood (largely due to
the HIV/AIDS pandemic) in addition to poverty and socialising in pushing the children out into
the streets. The problem of alcoholism and drug abuse appears to be quite common. It was
observed that though some children were not abandoned, neglect, abuse and exploitation by
parents and guardians of the children were among some of the reasons for running away from
their homes to seek “comfort” on the streets.

As has been previously mentioned, with the introduction of streetism to the children at an early
age, several cases of infants roaming the streets, scavenging or playing was noted. Many such
children were accompanied by their older siblings and friends who were barely six years
themselves. Such children were also observed to be malnourished and diseased.
The data revealed that children come to the streets to earn a living though this may not be what
the larger community perceives them as coming to the streets to do. Begging constitutes the most
common income generating activity with 59.3% of girls and 50.1% of boys citing this as a way



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of getting money. Scavenging was also a commonly mentioned way of making money with boys
dominating this activity. The terminology “other means” of earning a living by attending to jobs
such as:
         • Car washing
         • Cleaning toilets in bars and restaurants
         • Acting as courier (including drug peddling)
         • Gambling and stealing

For girls, commercial sex work was identified as one of the ways that they earned their living
though the quantitative data did not bring this out as a major issue.

The study revealed that socialising/recreation was a major non-work activity. Like in the case of
commercial sex, drug dependence was under-reported in the survey questionnaire though
qualitative data suggested a high percentage of the children use of various drugs particularly glue
and alcohol.
Both work and non-work activities take place within friendship groups mainly forged between
members of the same gender. Though not featuring significantly as a non-work activity, the
chapter revealed that a higher percentage of girls go to places of worship as compared to boys,
their percentages were 70% and 50% respectively.

The findings of the survey revealed that children living and/or working on the streets find their
rights constantly violated. The violations identified by the children include among others lack of
food, harassment, lack of shelter and clothing, and assuming adult responsibility at a tender age.
Respondents recounted many incidents of harassment, especially by police. However, some
children had positive experiences with the police, in relation to rehabilitation and their protective
role in exposing them to rehabilitation centres.

The research data noted that the wider community perceives a street child negatively, as reflected
in the negative names branded to them, the most commonly used being chokora. While some
children disassociate themselves with the negative perceptions, some believe that such labels like
thief have a predictive value in that the children begin to act out the perceptions translating them
into reality.

Children’s knowledge of the transmission of STDs and AIDS appeared to be a mix of fact and
myth. Many of he children both boys and girls who participated in the study resisted the use of
the condoms.

It is estimated that, >250 organisations cater for street children’s welfare in Greater Nairobi
alone. From the survey findings, almost half the number of children interviewed said that they
knew of various organisations that were helping children like themselves. However, less than
29% were utilising services of these organisations. Of those who had participated, 85% claimed
they had benefited mainly through the provision of food and education. Strict rules and negative
attitude of the intervention implementers emerged as a possible stumbling block in accessing and
successfully utilising services by the street children.




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                                     CHAPTER SIX
            THE SILVER LINING: MOVING FORWARD


6.0    Introduction
From the smelly, filthy garbage dumps and from their houses made of cards, the children living
and working on the streets of Nairobi gaze up at the skyline of the City Centre. The skyscrapers
etch the horizon while on the ground flashy, expensive cars zoom past. Signs of affluence and
plenty intermix with poverty and desperation affecting the lives of these children in multiple and
contradictory ways, structuring their world view both positively and negatively.

The study sought to unpack the complex lives of the children by adopting a broad-based, two-
pronged approach. It sought to do a head count of all street children profiling them by age,
gender, ethnicity, language use, schooling, parents’ occupation, length of time on the streets,
reasons for being on the streets and the dynamics of street life in Nairobi in twelve purposively
selected areas of Nairobi. It also attempted to get beyond the numbers to reconstruct their lives as
they live it on a daily basis. On the basis of the findings, it was concluded that the lives of this
category of poor urban children are multifaceted in nature, thus rendering the task of planning
effective interventions difficult albeit impossible. There are silver linings bordering the dark
clouds that need to be highlighted and utilised to show the way forward.

In this final section of the report, the key findings of the study are first summarised and then
analysed within the framework of the Convention on the Rights of Children in order to assess the
extent to which the children have access to, or are denied their human rights and dignity. It
further explores the implications of the findings for policy and practice, making
recommendations for action and for further research.



6.1    The Study Highlights
Providing Accurate Numbers: One of the most disputed aspects of knowledge on children living
and working on the streets of Nairobi is that related to the numbers. What is the magnitude of the
problem, quantitatively speaking? As we have seen, various figures have been proposed, none of
which has been substantiated through physical enumeration of the children concerned.

The figure of 10,424 children revealed by the present study is based on the head count of
children who live and work on the streets in 12 selected locales within Nairobi District. To some,
the number counted may appear to be rather conservative. While it is true that there could be
some element of under-counting, the findings may be validated on the basis of the following:




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                One of the greatest strength of the study is derived from the fact that the figures
                proposed are neither “guesstimates” nor even estimates of street children. They are
                based on the physical count of children inclusion of who depended on them giving
                consent to be counted and interviewed, namely those under the age of 5 years. This,
                together with other mechanisms that were put in place, minimised the dangers of
                double counting.
                Though the research locales selected, namely: Kibera, Korogocho, Kasarani, Nairobi
                West/Wilson Airport/Madaraka, Pumwani/Ziwani/ Kariakor/Majengo, City Centre,
                Buru Buru/Kariobangi South/KCC, Dandora/Maili Saba, Huruma/Kariobangi,
                Embakasi, Mukuru and Mathare/Eastleigh/Pangani represent a large part of the
                District, other key areas such as Westlands, Dagoretti, Kawangware and
                Karen/Langata, believed to have large concentrations of the targeted children, were
                not covered. Thus the numbers presented refer only to the population of the children
                in the study locales only and not to the whole of Nairobi.
                The major focus of the study was on children as defined by the CRC, that is, people
                eighteen years and below. Only about 18.2 percent of the numbers counted were
                young people between the ages of 18-25. According to Key informants as well as the
                researchers, it is believed that full inclusion of this older age category would have
                significantly pushed the total count upwards.
                Many estimates of the population of street children do not differentiate between the
                various categories of the urban poor. All children living in the sprawling slums of the
                district are automatically included in the counts of street children. The present study
                deviated from this practice by clearly defining street children to be those children
                either living or working (that is, deriving their livelihood) in specifically designated
                sites such as garbage dumps, shopping areas, market places and at “matatu”31 and
                bus stops


Making Girls Visible: Girls generally tend to be invisible in most studies on street children. The
recent study of street families in Nairobi’s central business district covering a total of 10, 424
street children, suggests that boys outnumber girls nine to one. According to the findings of the
present study, however, girls constitute on average about 25 percent of the population of children
counted in Nairobi District. In Mukuru, Dandora/Maili Saba and Mathare/Eastleigh/Pangani, the
proportions are even higher (40%, 31% and 28% respectively).

Disaggregation of the findings by age reveals a narrower gender gap in the under-five age
bracket. As many as 45 percent of the under-five children were found to be females.

The Age Profile: The research reveals the dominance of eleven to fifteen year olds on the streets
of Nairobi, constituting over 50 percent of the valid cases recorded. The children below the age
of five constitute 7 percent of the study sample.

The Ethnic Factor: The study revealed that the majority of the children, regardless of gender,
identify themselves as Agikuyu. However, it also suggests that the population of Gikuyus among
the street children may have been grossly exaggerated in other studies. While the Gikuyus
31
     Matatu: Passenger carrying vehicle


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                                                         Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



constitute a significant proportion (46%) of all ethnic groups represented among the street
children, the non-Gikuyus in the street children population, put together, are more in number.
This notwithstanding, most of the children on the streets can speak the Kikuyu language. Other
than Kikuyu, knowledge of Kiswahili was found to be almost universal.

Schooling: Overall, only 39.5 percent of the children were attending school while an
overwhelming number of children were not participating in any form of formal or non-formal
education. However, 48.5 percent of the girls and 36.5 percent of the boys claimed to be
involved in some form of education. Interestingly in Korogocho 56.2 percent boys claimed to be
going to school. The highest number of children who claimed to be going to school fell within
the age bracket of 11-15 years translating to 56.71 percent of the total number of respondents.

Parental Occupation and Streetism: Unemployment among parents of the respondents was quite
high. Almost a quarter of the respondents claimed that their mothers did not work whereas less
than a tenth said their fathers did not. Analyses of the parental occupations mentioned suggest
that these are menial, poorly paying and probably highly labour intensive jobs. The implications
of this may be many including inability to meet basic family obligations leading to broken
homes, high incidences of child neglect and abandonment, absentee parenthood, and a tendency
to encourage children to obtain employment by any means in order to supplement the family
incomes. This view is supported by the findings that indicate that children are sent out to the
streets to earn a living for themselves and even to support other members of the family.

Most employed mothers were said to be engaged in petty trading while the fathers were
reportedly engaged in more skilled and unskilled manual work. Some parents also engaged in
household and domestic work, farming, illicit brewing, and begging for a living. Others did
professional/managerial/technical, clerical, proprietorship, guarding homes/premises,
thievery/robbery and commercial sex. The percentage of girls with non-working parents (6.8% of
the female responses and 17.1% of the male responses for the mother’s occupation; 2.8% of the
female and 6.9% of the male responses) was higher than that of boys. A number of children did
not know their parents’ occupations.

Children ‘Of’ and ‘On’ the Streets: Many of the children claimed that their parents were either
deceased or had abandoned them. Abandonment by or death of fathers was found to be more
common than abandonment by or death of mothers. The implication is that there were more
single mothers than there were fathers.

The death of either or both parent and abandonment in turn increases the likelihood of children
turning or being turned out to the streets because of limited or no resources for their sustenance
within the extended family setting. Children either orphaned or abandoned were found to be
among those who had found permanent residence on the streets (approximately 14% of the total
sample). Among the children ‘of’ the streets, over 65 percent were male. Most of the children
who identified themselves fully with the streets were to be found in Mukuru and City Centre.

Time Spent on the Streets: About 63 percent of the children had been on the streets either on a
part time or full time basis for up to 5 years. Over 12 percent had been on the streets for between




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6-10 years while another 13 percent could not remember when they had started to frequent the
streets.

Caretakers of the Very Young: Two issues with regard to the characteristics of the caretakers of
infants on the streets stand out. First, the bulk of the caretakers are females, particularly mothers
(56%) though sisters (12%) also play a significant role. Secondly, the age of the caretakers---they
are either children (37%) themselves or are youth below the age of thirty (36%).

An additional point of interest is the presence of young boys (7%) on the streets who also take
care of their younger siblings. Though fewer in numbers than their female counterparts, their role
in the upbringing of young children should not be ignored.

Reasons for Streetism: The study found that children were on the streets for a variety of reasons
the major ones being, in order of frequency: to earn money, search for food and/or recreation---
all described in the literature on street children as “pull” factors. These “pull” factors are
symptomatic of poor family income and lack of adequate attention and care at home. While it is
not surprising that “domestic conflicts” featured as one key “push” factor for streetism it is
however very surprising that contrary to common perception orphanhood, which applies to only
1% of the total head count population and 8% of the survey sample, does not feature prominently
among the push factors.

Significantly none of the children cited ‘sex’ as a reason for being on the streets. It is probable
that of necessity rather than on their own volition, once on the streets children are introduced into
sexual activity either for recreation or money or by being forced into it.

The Street Sub-Culture: Once on the streets others initiate the children into streetism in order for
them to survive. Children’s rights are violated constantly as they are exploited and exploit others
in turn. They are forced to assume adult responsibilities and take care of themselves and
sometimes their siblings and fellow children at a tender age. Of necessity they have to look for
work and they are exploited through meagre or sometimes no pay. They are thrust into a bleak,
harsh and depraved environment often fraught with constant and sustained danger in various
forms such as

        •   Harassment, violence against themselves and towards others
        •   Drug taking and trafficking
        •   Sexual exploitation leading to risk of sexually transmitted diseases and
            HIV/AIDS
        •   Loneliness and fear
        •   Physical and emotional abuse and neglect
        •   Starvation
        •   Exposure to the elements
        •   Early, unplanned and uncontrolled parenthood
        •   Poor sanitation




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                                                        Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



The Vicious Cycle of Negativity and Violence: During interviews with the members of the
security forces and the public and also children’s workshops it emerged that children felt that
they were unfairly blamed by members of the public for theft, robbery and other infractions of
the law. Often they were beaten and harassed for real of imagined misdemeanours. The younger
children, especially boys identified the police as among the persons feared most because they
continually harassed them. Girls feared the older street boys the most because they organised
gang rapes sometimes ‘to teach them a lesson” if they declined to have sex with someone, break
up with someone or as punishment. They reported that they could be taken advantage of and
being gang raped if they visited another base and they were known to be unmarried [without a
boyfriend protecting them].

Younger children expressed fears of being stolen/abducted and often felt insecure when strangers
approached them. The older girls cited incidents of colleagues who had been sexually molested
and subjected to bestiality. These experiences heightened their sense of insecurity and
vulnerability.

Recreation and Socialisation Activities: Life on the streets is not all about violence and abuse.
The children develop strong friendships and spirit of mutual support and assistance. They play,
sing, watch videos, tell each other stories and go to church among other activities. Many of the
recreational activities that girls and boys engage in are similar, but there are gender-based
differences too. More boys admitted to aggressive behaviour and usage of a wider variety of
drugs than did the girls.

Defending Street Life: Some of the children even went to the extent of defending street life.
They rationalised that the streets provide them with food, drinks and money. They enjoy the
freedom to move around, smoke, sniff glue, and for the boys, have girl friends.

Attitudes to Sex and Sexuality: Though boys tend to see sex as recreational, for girls it is more
of a commercial activity or a way to secure a sense of belonging and/even protection through
their ‘boy friends’. Both genders are aware that unprotected sex may lead to death and disease
but few admit to using protection. Awareness of the causes of STDs and HIV/AIDS is tempered
by a mix of both facts and fiction.

Children’s Perceptions of Interventions: About half the number of children interviewed had
some knowledge about various organisations that offer services to street children. However, this
awareness did not necessarily translate into participation in the same. Education tops the list of
benefits that the children said they derived from their involvement in these organisations,
followed by food and clothes. Few had benefited from medical assistance or recreational
services. Among the main reason for non-participation was the dislike of the mode and degree of
discipline enforced in schools and centres including rigid rules and regulations, and the
curtailment of their freedom of movement and association. Both boys and girls also noted that
while some organisations should be appropriately rewarded for the good work they were doing,
others must be made accountable for use of money given to them by donors as their activities did
not benefit the street children.




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6.2 The Rights of the Child
From the above summary, the violation of the basic rights of the street child clearly emerges.
Among the clauses of the CRC that are violated, the following are the most notable:

           The definition of the child: Though the CRC states that the child is someone
        below the age of eighteen, many street children, especially the girl children, find
        their childhood curtailed. While both boys and girls assume responsibilities of
        the adult prematurely, the girls are forced into early motherhood, and hence
        adulthood, brought about by rape and sexual abuse. However, sometimes the
        girls desire to have children as a means to secure protection by their boy friends.
            Non-discrimination: The State has failed to protect the children, whether
        living or working on the streets, from discrimination and exploitation by the
        public at large. Ironically, the very State agencies that are supposed to protect
        the children appear to be abusing them as evidenced by the fact that they fear the
        police personnel the most. The children, especially those living on the streets are
        stigmatised and do not have the freedom of association.
           Best interests of the child: The Street has failed to provide adequate care to
        the children in the absence of their parents and guardians. Many of the children
        we found on the streets were being taken care of, either on a full-time or part-
        time basis, by older siblings some of whom were barely older than themselves.
            Survival and development: Abandoned and neglected by their parents, the
        children scavenge for food from garbage heaps and depend on leftovers and
        handouts for survival. Or they are forced to engage in income-generation
        activities that are exploitative and/or unsafe in nature. Many live in very
        unhygienic and unprotected environments, scorched by the sun, beaten by the
        wind and frozen by cold..
            Freedom of association: Socio-economic disparities curtail the freedom of
        association by street children, and limit their access to recreational facilities.
           Protection of privacy: The children are given negative labels that infringe on
        their right to be free from slander and libel.
            Parental responsibilities: Abandonment, abuse, neglect and exploitation of
        the children by their parents is rampant. Sometimes the situation is aggravated
        by alcohol and drug abuse by the parents. Poverty plays its part in the abdication
        of parental responsibilities.
           Protection from abuse and neglect: Despite the recently enacted Children’s
        Act No.8 of 2001, which allows for the prosecution of parents and guardians
        who abuse and neglect their children, little is done to implement and follow up
        on the latter. As we have seen, the violation of (street) children’s rights by the
        members of the public and also the police force appears to be common. The
        violations include sexual exploitation by members of the community as well as
        the law enforcing agencies.
           Protection of the child without a family: Adequate and sufficient alternative
        family care or institutional placements is not available in most cases.




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6.3      Lessons Learned
The design of the study was complex, involving the collection of both quantitative and
qualitative data within a dominantly qualitative research paradigm. Data collection was carried
out in 12 study locales within Nairobi District by scores of researchers who were expected to use
their knowledge of street work to enhance the research process. Though the project was
ultimately successful, the research experience generated a number of lessons that may have
implications for similar exercises in the future. This section presents the Lessons Learned in two
parts: (a) The Perspectives of the Research Consultants and Monitoring Teams; and (b) the
Perspectives of the Field Researchers. It should be noted that in some cases the perspectives
coincide.


Perspectives of the Research Consultants and Monitors
The perspectives presented in this section are based on analysis of information gathered during
the training and feedback sessions, observations and monitoring visits.

Realistic and Flexible Planning for Time and Resources
The current project was an ambitious one that definitely required more time and resources than
originally visualised. In recognition of this fact, the deadline for the fieldwork had to be extended
twice (once in December for all locales and again in January/February for selected areas). Yet
there was a consensus among the research consultants, monitors as well as the researchers that a
more complete count would have been possible if more time and resources (financial and human)
had been allocated for the collection of the quantitative data. There was also a serious
underestimation of the time required for the development of the code books, data cleaning, entry
into the computer, data analysis and report writing given the volume of information generated by
the study.

The above observation is corroborated by experiences of other researchers in different parts of
Africa. For example, the Sudanese headcount initially experienced time constraints and had to be
extended (Kudrati et.al., 2001). Eventually, the study took almost one and a half years to
complete32 compared to the six months taken by the present one.33

Despite the shorter time frame, the number of street children yielded by the Nairobi Headcount
(10,424) was five times that counted by the Sudanese study (2,037)34. The Nairobi count was
roughly equivalent to the national sample targeted by the Demographic and Health Surveys
(DHS) of Kenya (ROK, NCPD and CBS, 1993, 1989). It may be observed that compared to the




32
   The Sudanese study had five weeks for the training of adult researchers; three months for the collection of
qualitative data; five months for the collection of quantitative data, data entry and translations; and six months for
data analysis and report writing.
33
   This is inclusive of the time taken up to the submission of the first draft of the report. It should also be noted that
of the actual time spent in the field by the researchers is to be considered, that is, a maximum of 3 days a week for
most of the locales, the duration of the study would be further reduced.
34
   This includes those who refused to be interviewed for the Sudanese Headcount.


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                                                                  Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



present headcount, more resources were available for the demographic and health surveys35.
However, the work eventually did get done.
What are the lessons that we may draw from this experience? First, it is important to realise that
a headcount is similar to a census in that every individual belonging to the targeted population is
expected to be included in the count. However, given the issue of obtaining informed consent of
the respondents in the present study some street children were excluded because of choice.
Second, unlike surveys using probability sampling, the ultimate number of children to be
targeted by the Headcount was unknown at the beginning, making realistic estimation of time
required to complete the exercise difficult. It is therefore important that flexibility is built into the
time frame right from the onset and consideration is given to the possibility that the numbers
actually counted could be higher or lower than originally anticipated.

Third, it is important to note that the larger the sample size the longer it will take to ensure that
the data is cleaned properly, coded and entered for analysis. This must be taken into
consideration in the planning and scheduling processes if unnecessary stress and
misunderstandings are to be avoided. An alternative would be to have additional data cleaning
and entry assistants. However, there are additional cost implications of adopting the second
alternative.

Resolving Role Conflicts, Selecting the Team
The decision to select social workers already involved in street work was a sound one and
compatible with contemporary notions of participatory research. It was also based on the
assumption that selected social workers, given their knowledge of the streets and of street
children, would not be encumbered with the problems of gaining easy entry into the field and
building rapport with the respondents. Consequently, it was further assumed that valuable time
would be saved in the data collection process. However, things did not work out exactly like that.

First of all, many of the social workers-turned-researchers found themselves with competing
demands on their time. Their employers had not released them from their normal duties to enable
them to engage in the data collection on a full-time basis. Sometimes, as the field monitors
observed, they were not available for the fieldwork as scheduled.

Second, there are some inherent conflicts between the role of the social workers and that of the
researchers. Building rapport and empathetic understanding of the situation of the respondents
are traits that are common to both the social workers and the researchers. But the child can
expect some immediate gains from its interaction with the social worker, whether the gain is
tangible (e.g. food, clothing, shelter) or intangible (e.g. advice, counselling). The researcher is
professionally bound not to make promises or “pay” for information given.

Third, it turned out that some of the social workers were not very well acquainted with the streets
and in some cases were actually afraid of interacting with the children. Such researchers were
obviously not able to have the same access within the same period of time to the street children
as their more knowledgeable colleagues.

35
  For example, data collection for the 1993 DHS involved 12 supervisors, 11 field editors, 60 female interviewers
and 12 male interviewers. Each of the 12 field teams was also coordinated by one NCPD Officer, District Population
Officers and some District Statistical Officers.


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Fourth, the research consultants had little say over who should participate in the data collection
process. The field researchers were essentially nominees of the organisations that they worked
for and were as such, automatically included in the research team regardless of aptitude for the
work.

In view of the above, it will be necessary in future research among particularly sensitive groups,
to
        • Grant research consultant/co-ordinating groups more say in the selection of
            the field team members. Not everybody has the right personality or aptitude
            to be a good field researcher.
        • Make clear the expectations and obligations of the partner organisations
            versus the research project, and specifically the rights and duties of the
            nominees so that conflicts in role performance is minimised. It might even be
            necessary to draw up sub-contracts with the nominating agencies to ensure
            that their nominees have enough time to conduct the research as required by
            the project.
        • Ensure that the partner organisations and their nominees actually have
            adequate knowledge of the research locales and subjects. In the absence of
            such knowledge, they should inform the project team leader/committee well
            in time so that other strategies may be worked out to gain entry into the field,
            thus avoiding wastage of precious time.
        • Researchers who “pay” for information or make false promises, besides
            violating research ethics, may make it difficult for other researchers to obtain
            information. During a monitoring visit, a team member was met by hostile
            informants and was almost roughed up.

The Power of Commitment
Another lesson derived from the research project is that commitment can indeed move
mountains, and that every effort should be made to sustain the commitment. Despite many
obstacles, many of the field researchers as well as data entry assistants demonstrated a dedication
to the work without which the project could not have been completed successfully. However,
during monitoring visits, motivation was found lacking in a few of the researchers leading to
“procrastination, lack of punctuality and slowness in the headcount. ….they did not have clear
knowledge of why they were involved with the project”. (Monitoring Notes, Nov./Dec. 2002)

Staggering Time to Cover All Children
Street children are a highly mobile group as has been noted before. They are found in their
chuoms and bases at different hours of the day, sometimes at night. Initially, the head counting
was scheduled for the day. Weekends were also not targeted. However, the field experience
suggest that the best strategy is to do time sampling, staggering the hours and days of the week in
a way that children involved in various kinds of activities (work and non-work) could be
approached for interviewing.




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Building in Monitoring Mechanisms
Though a monitoring mechanism in the form of regular feedback sessions, and later, field visits
were incorporated into the research design, stronger arrangements needed to have been put in
place to cover a study of this magnitude. In future studies, monitoring should be seen as an
integral part of the research process especially of a research that is multi-locale and sufficient
resources made available to match with the needs.



The Researchers’ Perspectives
On the whole the many researchers noted that their knowledge had increased by participating in
the study. However, among the lessons learnt, they identified the following:

Gaining Entry and Establishing Rapport
One of the first lessons that they learnt was      Box 16: The Friendly Street People
that the entry process needed to be carefully
                                                   It had never occurred to me all this time that
thought out and planned so as to ensure a
                                                   street children could be as friendly and
successful outcome of the research. Also
                                                   understanding and sometimes more than
important was the creation of rapport with the
                                                   ordinary individuals. I found myself warmly
respondents, gaining their confidence, being
                                                   greeted and welcomed open heartedly into the
sensitive to their needs and convincing them
                                                   bases (chuoms). They are ready to offer their
to provide the required information. Some
                                                   food (not glue) and sweet melodious words like
researchers were pleasantly surprised to find
                                                   ‘karibu odijoh” readily drum your ears. They
that the street children were friendly and had
                                                   hate betrayal and the sustainability of their
a strong sense of comradeship with their
                                                   friendship depends wholly on whether one
peers. The research helped to build bonds
                                                   demonstrates trustworthiness – confidentiality
between      the     social    workers-turned-
                                                   or cultivates hatred by behaving totally
researchers and the street children.
                                                   different from them
                                                        Source: Experiences of Keya O. Mark, a researcher

The Value of Team Work
Team spirit emerged as a key lesson for the researchers, the need to work as a team, listen to and
learn from one another. For security reasons too, team work was found to be crucial.

Research and Personal Ethics
Ethical lessons were learnt through the fieldwork experience as implied in the earlier section.
The researchers learnt of the problems created, deliberately or otherwise, by people who had
made false promises to some of the children. Non-fulfilment of these promises had resulted in an
outright refusal by some potential respondents to answer the questionnaires.

It was interesting to note that there was conflict with the researcher’s sense of duty as a social
worker. In one instance one researcher, who was also a social worker, rescued some orphaned
children and placed them in homes before proceeding with the research. This might have
reinforced the children’s fears of being stolen. In another research site, the researchers helped
sick children by buying medication for them or providing bus fare.




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Appropriate and Adequate Research Instruments
While the length of the Headcount questionnaire was short, some of the interviewers found that
the Survey Questionnaire to be rather long. The children’s attention spans were relatively short.
Consequently, many of the children were restive either because of hunger or as a result of
sniffing glue and some walked away before the questions were completely covered. From this
the importance of tailoring the size of the instrument to the specific target group emerged as a
key lesson for the researchers.


Other observations made in this regard included:

            •   The need to be flexible and adjusting one’s time according to the
                requirements of the respondents.
            •   Understanding the language used so as to be able to achieve ones objectives
                better. The researchers needed to understand the role of ‘sheng’36 in street
                life.
            •   Being conscious of the socio-cultural and political environment in which the
                children were operating and how external factors (such as politically
                instigated skirmishes) may obstruct the research process.



6.4        Policy Implications
The magnitude of the street children’s problems means that the answers are not easy to arrive at.
Policy planners must adopt multi-faceted, multi-targeted and multi-tiered approaches if they have
to make any impact at all on the lives of children on the streets. It must be understood that the
phenomenon of street children is symptomatic of the problems plaguing the larger society, the
root causes of which could be poverty and neglect. The implication is that there must be
adequate resources together with dedicated and trained personnel who are child friendly. It also
implies that it will take a great deal of time. It could also mean a paradigm shift in thought and
practice after appraising the interventions that have been put in place already.

It is necessary to have clear policy guidelines regarding children on the streets to ensure that they
are not exploited, their problems are not aggravated and their rights secured. Such guidelines
should be availed to organisations and people dealing with street children. There should be
mechanisms for enforcing the guidelines to ensure compliance and also for evaluating service
provision to review its impact and adequacy. A checks and balance system could ensure that
street children are properly and adequately catered for.

Another important finding of the study is that the children lacked accurate information on
sexuality. Boys often blamed the girls for transmitting STIs and HIV/AIDS. As was discussed
in earlier chapters, it emerged that the information that both boys and girls had on sexuality and
the transmission of STIs was a mix of myths and half-truths.


36
     Sheng is a slang developed and spoken by street people.


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6.5      Recommendations for Action
To address the issue of street children effectively, both long and short-term interventions are
needed, as are focus on preventive and responsive (rather than rehabilitative) solutions37. A
paradigmatic shift from a welfare approach to creative and strategic solutions must be sought. It
would equally be imperative to ensure that the interventions are developed with the active
participation of children rather than on their behalf by others who do not quite understand and
appreciate their situation and the challenges the face.

While holistic and package approaches are recommended, in designing interventions, the
diversity of the children in terms of their age, gender and ethnicity among other characteristics
must be taken into consideration. It would be particularly useful to make a distinction between
children “of” the streets and those “on” the streets in developing interventions. Though the
former is currently in the minority, chances of the latter becoming hardcore is not really that
farfetched. Similarly, interventions must target the child and youthful caretakers of infants if the
vicious cycle of poverty, deprivation and dependency is to be broken. However, the interventions
for the various age categories (infants, school aged children and youth) would have to differ in
terms of the detail of the content and focus.


Using Education as a Key Strategy
Traditionally, as we have seen, most interventions seek to provide education in one form or
another. Educational initiatives are sometimes combined with the provision of food and the
occasional distribution of clothes. While this study did not investigate the effectiveness of
existing interventions except as perceived by the children and key informants, it would not be out
of place to recommend that child-friendliness of these institutes---whether formal or non-formal-
--be ensured. Children complained of rigid rules and regulations, harsh discipline and the
curtailment of their freedoms of movement and association as it may be recalled. Child-friendly
schools and centres would guarantee children their dignity as human beings and promote positive
self-images. They would be sensitive to gender equality and rights of the child as propagated by
international human rights instruments such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
(CEDAW).


Girl Friendly Facilities and Structures
Child-friendly educational systems are also girl-friendly, reflected in the facilities that are put in
place. One of the markers of this “friendliness” is separate latrines for girls and boys. However,
it must be pointed out that the building of the latrines is not enough. It must be ensured that they
are used for the purpose that they have been built and by the people (girls and boys in this case)
for whom they have been made. In order for this to happen, not only must the latrines be gender
responsive in design but in location as well.



37
  The term responsive as used by Kudrati et. al. (2001) is preferred to rehabilitative because of the connotations
associated with the latter concept---that somehow the children are to be blamed for the situation they are in.


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It is critical that water is readily available not only in the educational institutions as a whole but
in the toilets as well. For menstruating girls and young women, the availability of water in the
latrines could make the difference between regular attendance of classes and absenteeism for a
chunk of time each month, leading to a drop in performance and at times pre-mature exit from
the education system.


Insisting on Life Skills
The damage done by labelling and self-fulfilling prophecies to children within and outside
educational settings have been well documented in sociological literature. To counteract the
damage done to the street children it would be necessary to incorporate the teaching of (psycho-
social) life skills into the curriculum. Of particular relevance would be the teaching of skills of
conflict resolution, negotiation, assertiveness, critical thinking and confidence-building among
others. For girls, an extra push would need to be given in specific life skills to make them be at
par with the boys and levelling the playing fields.

Life skills should be a hallmark of both the formal and non-formal education provided to street
children. These skills will help them to protect themselves against various forms of abuse and
exploitation---economic, social, sexual, physical and psychological. They would be instrumental
in preventing the spread of the dreaded HIV/AIDS and other STDS, disseminating facts rather
than myths about the pandemic and combating the use and dependency on all kinds of drugs
including alcohol.

However, the extent to which children are able to acquire the life skills so as to make a
difference to their beleaguered lives will greatly depend on the methodology of teaching. The use
of creative, participatory and interactive methodologies would go a long way to ensure that
children actually internalise the skills and are able to apply them.


Promoting Transformative Pedagogy
Currently, the formal education system is characterised by unimaginative and uncritical
pedagogy. Quite often, the non-formal system ends up being a poor replica of the formal. If
education is truly to be an effective strategy for keeping the young children of both genders out
of the streets, then the pedagogy will have to be transformative and learner-centred.

A distinction will also have to be made in the content and mode of delivery used to reach
younger children as opposed to older children and young adults. It must be remembered that
young children learn differently from adults. For children who have already been on the streets
for a number of years, imposing rigid, inflexible school schedules and discipline would be
counter-productive. They would not remain in school for very long, as the findings of this and
other studies reveal. Older children and young adults should be provided with good quality
complementary learning opportunities that are compressed into three or four years instead of the
eight years of basic education offered to children between the ages of 6-13/14 in the public
education system.




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Gender Responsive Vocational Skills Training and Income Generating Activities
Vocational skills aimed at increasing the chances of the street children to access and secure
employment (self or otherwise) should form part of the curriculum at the non-formal centres.
Indeed, it is most likely that this is already happening. However, it must be ensured that gender-
typing of vocational skills does not occur, and that girls are not channelled once again into the
less lucrative and less prestigious careers. It is doubtful that courses like tailoring and cookery
will be able to attract and retain girls who have access to better paying, albeit dangerous, income-
generating activities such as commercial sex work.


Provision of Day Care for the Very Young
For caretakers of younger children, provision would have to be made for the care of the infants
during the time the caretakers attend classes or engage in income generating activities. This
recommendation should be equally applicable to the child-minders as much as to the teenaged
and young adults, to the mothers as well as the siblings regardless of gender so that the few boys
and men are not excluded from benefiting from this support mechanism. The service provider
could perhaps take the opportunity to teach the caretakers relevant knowledge and skills on good
and responsible child-care (including the rudiments of hygiene, nutrition, safety and security).

Advocacy and Lobbying
Street children, as we have seen, have either been pushed out of their homes because of domestic
conflicts and orphan hood or pulled into the towns by prospects of economic and social
advancement. The society at large perceives the children negatively, their perceptions and
consequent behaviour in turn influences and shapes the behaviour and attitudes of the children to
a large extent. Therefore, to eliminate the negative aspects of streetism, and contexts that breed
the phenomenon, one must be able to involve the community (including parents and guardians)
in finding solutions so that they acknowledge responsibility and ownership. While family
reunification may be the recommended solution for the child full-time on the streets, it is
imperative that she or he is sent back to an environment that is conducive to his or her socio-
psychological development and will serve his or her best interest.

Among the key actions that may be taken in this regard could be advocacy and lobbying for the
rights of the street child at various levels---grassroots to policy. Community leaders, teachers and
law enforcing agents should be targeted specifically. Also to be targeted are social workers and
others involved in the delivery of services to children “of” and “on” the streets of Nairobi. It
should not be assumed that they are sensitive to the rights or needs of the children and that their
approach to and perception of them is always positive. We have earlier noted the absence of
rapport between some social workers and the street children.

Advocacy and lobbying must also target policy makers and implementers to ensure that the
provisions of the newly enacted Children Act No. 8 of 2001 is translated into action and child
friendly educational and other institutions (e.g. health services) are promoted and necessary
changes made in the curricula and pedagogy.




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                                                         Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



Capacity-Building
Even with the best of intentions, teachers, law enforcers and other service providers may not be
able to execute their responsibilities effectively. This means that they must be targeted for more
than just awareness raising or sensitisation on relevant issues. They must be equipped with
necessary knowledge and skills to make their work possible.

To do this, a multi-pronged approach must be adopted. Pre-service training courses for teachers,
law enforcers and service providers (if available) should incorporate gender and rights sensitivity
into the curriculum. In-servicing could be provided through periodic workshops and seminars.

Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring and evaluation mechanisms should be built into project planning. It has severally
been observed that despite the multitude of organisations claiming to provide services, the
number of street children is increasing almost on a daily basis and little is known about the
success \and failures of existing services and interventions. Capacity-building should extend to
teaching social workers and other personnel employed by such agencies how to incorporate
effective monitoring into their work, and for management to ensure that impact assessments are
carried out and lessons learnt from the M&E exercise utilised to improve programme and service
delivery.

Disseminating the Study Findings
It is in this spirit that it is recommended that the findings of the Headcount Survey be
disseminated with the various stakeholders including groups of street children. This would have
the dual impact of enhancing ownership of the results and the credibility of the research exercise
paving the way for others in the future.


6.6    Recommendations for Further Research
As is the case with any study, this research too had its limitations. Therefore …

        •   A similar study should be carried out in all the other regions of Nairobi so as
            to ascertain the total number of children on the streets in Nairobi
        •   A countrywide study should be done to give national figures of children
            living and working on the streets.
        •   The gender factor still requires in-depth analysis. What happens to girls as
            they grow older? Why do they seem to disappear from the streets when they
            are represented in high numbers at infancy stage?
        •   Street youth that is people between the ages of 18-25 should also be targeted
            for in-depth study.
        •   The present study did not investigate the double disadvantage of disabled
            children and yet we know that they are susceptible to gross abuse and
            exploitation. An in-depth, gender responsive, qualitative study of disabled
            children is recommended.
        •   A critical assessment of all existing interventions and organisations claiming
            to be catering for the welfare and protection of street children need to be
            carried out urgently.


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                         Selected Bibliography

Kenya


National Children in Need Network (NCNN)
                      “Bridging the Gap. Analysis of Law and Policy on CNSP”. Nairobi, 2001

GTZ Kenya            “Street Children in Nairobi”. A paper presented by Mr. P. Croll the then
                     GTZ country director at the launch of the National Street Children’s Day
                     at the National Museums, Nairobi. 20th March, 1998

Dallape, Fabio       “You are a Thief!” An Experience with Street Children Undugu Society of
                     Kenya. Nairobi. 1987.

Dzikus A. & Ocholla L
                    “Street Children in Sub-Saharan Africa. Kenya’s experiences”.
                    In: Habitat Debate, Vol.2, No. 2, 1996

GOK/UNICEF           “Situation Analysis of Children & Women in Kenya”, Ministry of
                     Planning and National Development, Human Resources and Social
                     Services Department/UNICEF Kenya Country Office. Nairobi. 1998

GOK                  “First Kenya Country Report on Implementation of the UN Convention on
                     the Rights of the Child". Nairobi. 1998.

GTZ                  “Youth-Change Agents for Sustainable and Peaceful Development”
                     International Youth Conference. Kenya 14-19 May 2001.A CD with the
                     conference proceeding is available from GTZ PROSYR.

Undugu Society of Kenya “Street Contact---Street Children Say: We Too are Your Children” .
                    Nairobi. 1992.

Khasiani, Shasinya   “A Survey of Children-others in Especially difficult Circumstances”.
                     Nairobi, 1998

McCAffrey, J.M.W. “The Problem of Urban Poverty in Relation to Street Children” B.A.
                  Project. Faculty of Arts The Catholic University of Eastern Africa.
                  Nairobi. 1999

SNV/Kenya             “Experiences in Rehabilitation of Street Children in Kenya. New
                     Imprints” , Nairobi. 2001



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                                                      Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi




Ocholla, L           “Evictions and Homelessness. The Impact on African Children”.
                     In: Development in Practice, Vol.6, No. 4, 1996

Ruto, Sara           “ ‘Why We Go to the Streets’: A Baseline Study on the Phenomenon of
                     Nairobi’s Street Children” Kwetu Home of Peace.with support from SNV/
                     Street Children Project and funding from CARITAS Netherlands. Nairobi.
                     1999

SNV-Kenya Street Children Project
                   “Report on Organizational Development & Management Training Needs
                   Assessment Workshop for Managers of Street Children Programmes”
                   Iceberg Consultants & SNV with funding from CARITAS Netherlands
                   1999

SNV-Kenya Street Children Programme
                   “Report of the Third Training Workshop on Participatory Action Research
                   with Children for Social Workers and Street Educators” Naro Moru 10-
                   19th August 1998.

Suda, Collette A.    “Report of a Baseline Survey on Street Children in Nairobi” Child
                     Welfare Society of Kenya. Nairobi. 1995.

Forum for Actors in Street Children Work
                      “Best Practice in Working with Street Children in Kenya. Guidelines and
                      Interventions in Professional Practice”. Forum for Actors in Street
                      Children Work: German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), SNV/Kenya,
                      Undugu Society of Kenya, Terre des Hommes, National Children in Need
                      Network, Kindernothilfe e.V., Childlife Trust, CORDAID, Watoto Wa
                      Lwanga Project, St. Johns Community Centre, Nairobi, 2001



Africa
Catholic Action for Street Children (CAS) and UNICEF
                              “The Exodus. The Growing Migration of Children from Ghana’s
                              Rural Areas to the Urban Centres”. Dec.1998-March 1999

GTZ                         “Streetchildren of East Africa: Analyses, Approaches and
                            Projects”. Frankfurt. n.d

Kanji, N                    “Review of Urbanisation Issues Affecting Children and Women in
                            Eastern and Southern African Region”. UNICEF ESARO, Nairobi,
                            1996




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                                                        Children Living and Working on Streets of Nairobi



Korboe, David                 “A Profile of Street Children in Kumasi”. Centre for Social Policy
                              Studies, University of Ghana, 1997

Kudrati, Mustafa et.al.
                       “Children of the Sug: Full-time and Working Street Children of
                       Khartoum, Sudan” Research Report. Khartoum. 2001

Mdoe, Mahimbo          Developing an Understanding of Vulnerable Children in Democratic
                       Republic of Congo. Explorative Participatory Research with Vulnerable
                       Groups of Children in Kinshasa. Save the Children U.K. 1999

Rwanda and Save the Children U.K.
                    “Final results of the Study on Group Dynamics among Street Children in
                    Kigari-Ville”. Nov-Jan 1999

Urban Management Programme
                   “Streetchildren and Gangs in African Cities: Guidelines for Local
                   Authorities” UMP Working Paper Series. May 2000

Velis, Jean-Pierre     Blossoms in the Dust: Street Children in Africa Youth Plus. UNESCO
                       Publishing. 1995.

Wamahiu, Sheila P.     “Childhood Denied: Assessment of Children in Need of Special Protection
                       Measures in Somalia: A Qualitative Study”. UNICEF Somalia. Nairobi.
                       2000

Other Related Literature
Baker, Knaul, et.al.   “Reaching the Hard to Reach: Health Strategies for Serving Urban Young
                       Women”, 1991

Byrne, Ian             The Human Rights of Street and Working Children. A Practical Manual
                       for Advocates. Intermediate Technology Publications, London, 1998

CRDA News              Street Children. Where do they come from? Sept/Oct. 1993

Ennew, Judith          Street and Working Children. A Guide to Planning. Save the Children
                       Development Manual No.4, 1994

Myers, W. E.           Protecting Working Children. Zed Books in Association with UNICEF,
                       1991




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