Children and Mobility
Issue: Children, Transport and Mobility in Sub-Saharan Africa
Partners: University of Durham, IFRTD, University of Cape Coast (Ghana), University of Malawi, CSIR South Africa and children's researchers
Download: Final report first Phase developing and testing child-centred Field Methodology and Toolkit (2004-2005)
Visit www.dur.ac.uk/child.mobility/ for more information
As we can read on the issue page on Children and Mobility children's transport issues are a relatively under-researched area especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. The specifics of children and young people's transport and mobility needs (particularly in rural areas) are essentially unknown and unconsidered. This is a short-sighted perspective given the fact that today's children represent Africa's future: their access to health care and education are, for example, essential components of the Millenniium Development Goals.
In an effort to fill this important knowledge gap the University of Durham in partnership with IFRTD Secretariat and members, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa, University of Malawi, University of the Cape Coast in Ghana and children researchers in all three countries has initiated a three-year programme.
The overall aim is to provide a child-centred evidence base strong enough to substantially improve policy in the focus countries and to change thinking across Africa. It focusses on the following objectives:
1. The mobility constraints faced by girl and boy children in accessing health, educational and other facilities in sub-Saharan Africa
2. The lack of direct information on how these constraints impact on children's current and future livelihood opportunities
3. The lack of guidelines on how to tackle them
The project will test an innovative two-strand child-centred methodology, involving both adult and child researchers. In addition to a more conventional interview study with children, parents, teachers and community leaders (conducted by adult academic researchers), there will be a complementary component of truly child-centred research conducted by child researchers (facilitated by adults). This takes forward an earlier 1-year pilot project of the child-centred approach that was carried out in Ghana, India and South Africa in 2004 and 2005. A final report of the 1-year DFID-funded pilot is available by clicking on the following link.
The aim of the phase 2 project is to apply the successful child researcher pilot, while ensuring achievement of a substantial and comparable quantitative and qualitative dataset across the three countries, from which policy guidelines can be established.
The programme’s inception workshop was held in Blantyre, Malawi (25th Sept - 1st Oct 2006), enabling key country researchers to meet and to review their research plans with each other and with the UK team and Professor Michael Bourdillon (advising the project on the research component with children).
This workshop comprised a mix of joint meetings with all researchers and a second two strand component when teachers and child researchers undertook activities separately from the adult researchers. Teachers acted as chaperones and provided translation where neccessary.
Children’s Training Workshops
The inception workshop was followed by the first Children’s research training workshops in Malawi form 2nd – 5th October 2006. Led by Professor Michael Bourdillon, it was attended by 12 children from 3 different schools in the Blantyre district. In addition children's workshops have been held in South Africa and Ghana.
Pilot studies for the adult researcher strand (involving country-based and UK researchers) were completed in early 2007. The Malawi pilot was conducted in the Shire highlands region south of Zomba, the Ghana pilot in the coastal savanna/rainforest transition zone north of Cape Coast and the South Africa pilots took place in two separate areas – Port St John Local Municipality Ward 10 and the Winterveld area of North West region - since the South African component will involve two separate research teams for logistical and linguistic reasons. The main phase of research is now in progress; qualitative data collection is largely complete (with the exception of South Africa's Gauteng/North West area) and the questionnaire surveys planned for the rainy season in each zone are currently being carried out and will provide quantitative data.
Project information has been disseminated and advice gained through Country Consultative Group meetings in each country (relevant ministries, NGOs, academics with country researchers; second meetings imminent), through Project Steering Group meetings in UK (Professor Nina Laurie and Dr Janet Townsend, University of Newcastle, Ms Marinke van Riet, IFRTD with UK researchers), and through project presentations to the EU/World Bank SSATP meeting in Maseru, Lesotho (October 2006), and to IFRTD’s Executive Committee (November 2006).
The project has been further publicised through other workshops and conferences (International workshop on Understanding and addressing spatial poverty traps, Stellenbosch, South Africa, March 2007; Institute for African Development workshop, Achieving the MDGs for Africa: the role of transport, at Cornell University, May 2007; CWAS Birmingham University Fourth Cadbury workshop, May 2007; RGS/IBG annual confernece, London, August 2007; 1st International Conference on Children and Youth, University of Reading, September 2007; 1st International Conference of Participatory Geographies, Durham University, January 2008.
In January 08 the Children and Mobility Project learnt that their application for a pilot walking bus project, made through IFRTD and to be carried out in Winterveld, South Africa, was successful. $5000 has awarded by the Philippe Wamba memorial fund
to carry out the pilot which was proposed in response to information acquired by the adult researchers in Winterveld, North West Province, regarding safety issues and the rape of children on the journey to school.
Reports of all workshops and the pilot projects are available through http://www.dur.ac.uk/child.mobility/.
The research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID)
For more information including background resources please check the project website: http://www.dur.ac.uk/child.mobility/
or email Dr Gina Porter: firstname.lastname@example.org