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Response to Child Vulnerability. Why do children migrate to the streets in Tanzania? How does Government policy and Civil Society understand the issue of street children?

Author(s): A. Heuser H. Johnson S. Oneko T. Kisslinger

This report proposes that national poverty reduction policies and civil society organisations that work with street children in Tanzania do not properly address the causes of child migration that are linked to non-income forms of poverty. The paper analyses: how the national policy framework on poverty reduction in Tanzania is implemented at a local level and to what degree it supports vulnerable children. It also it demonstrates how innovative community practices might strengthen local support system for vulnerable children. Initially, the report states that in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania, child migration is almost always due to reasons of non-income forms of poverty. Therefore, the study looks at the question of why children migrate by considering non-income poverty factors, such as family breakdown, lack of community support, marginalisation and exclusion. However, the study states that non-income forms of poverty exacerbate income poverty and lead to a high level of familial stress and dysfunction, such as conflicts, abuse, alcoholism, poor community skills, out-of-school children, theft and illegal activities. Secondly, the report looks at other mechanisms for addressing poverty and their interpretation of child migration. For example it demonstrates that the Poverty Reduction strategy in 2000, despite identifying non-material factors influencing the level of poverty, such as education, nutrition, survival, clean and safe drinking water, and promotion of education and nutrition in its main strategy, it failed to identified structural factors that cause children to migrate to the streets. The main conclusion of the report is that national poverty reduction strategies and international organisations generally fail to fully address the non-income forms of poverty that drive children to the streets, they do not include any form of protection for children from the factors that cause them to migrate to the streets. International organisations are largely focused on working with street children by tackling income poverty alone or by tackling the problems children face when they are on the street. Finally, the paper strongly recommends that local, national and international street child organisations adopt and employ the community strengthening model that would provide the crucial link between non-income forms of poverty and child migration.

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Author(s): A. Heuser H. Johnson S. Oneko T. Kisslinger




September 2005

Main theme(s):

Independent Child Migration

Sub-theme(s): Internal South - South

Tertiary theme(s): Rural - Urban Urban - Rural

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Keywords: Child welfare Child work Country - Tanzania Decision-making Development Government Support Legal protection Policy Poverty Risks Street Children


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