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The situation of street children in Zimbabwe: a violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)

By Markim Wakatama


This study investigated the situation of street children in Zimbabwe with reference to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). It examined the services that have been provided to meet street children’s needs and safeguard their rights. There is a dearth of literature focusing on street children in Zimbabwe. The available literature is descriptive; it contributes very little towards understanding of the problem and needs of street children. It does not provide a useful framework for formulating policy and designing interventions or practices with the children. Models being used by some non-governmental organizations derive mainly from studies conducted in Latin America and other developing countries like India, Kenya and South Africa. This study draws, mainly on literature from Latin America and other studies outside of Zimbabwe. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered from street children and service providers, using a triangulation of methods. Ethnography was particularly useful as it allowed the project to adopt a child-centered approach. Interviews and group discussions were conducted with service providers. Documents from non-governmental organizations helped to understand their work with the street children. A breakdown of the extended family unit, poverty, HIV/AIDS, corruption and land reform have hindered the protection of children’s rights as prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Zimbabwe has no mechanisms in place to enforce them. Although a range of difficulties plague projects for street children, some projects have succeeded in improving the well-being of some street children. Zimbabwe is violating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It should seriously and urgently consider re-deploying its ‘welfare’ departments into ‘development ‘departments for it to realize the rights of street children

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/7449

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