"Listen and assist: children's experiences as a resource for intervention": A case study of street children in Zambia.
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The proponents of new social studies of childhood argues for approaching children as social actors and as such, ought to be treated as competent consultants on matters that affect them. In addition, the UNCRC in article 12 and 13 advocates for the participation of children on issues that involve them and as such, their views should be taken into consideration. All these entail a shift in interventions in childrens lives from exclusion to including them as much as possible. In addition, the new social studies of childhood propose approaching childhood as socially constructed and as such, acknowledge the diversity of childhoods. The point underscored here is that nuances in childhoods are vital and ought to be taken into consideration at every level of planning and designing of interventions for children. These have been important concepts which have informed my study on street children and interventions in their lives in Zambia. My thesis aimed at getting knowledge about street childrens lived experiences on the streets and within institutional care that can be used as a resource to develop more appropriate intervention programs. Several qualitative methods such as semi structured interviews; participant and semi participant observation, informal focus group discussions, photographing and story writing were used to collect data. The data was further analysed qualitatively and conclusions drawn. This work had 20 children as informants, 10 boys and 10 girls currently on the streets and in institutional care. The study realised that street children have diverse childhoods. In addition, many other factors like poverty, abuse and so forth in their homes were they come from have implications on interventions. In addition, their lived experiences on the streets such as social networks, friendship, survival strategies, street economics and interaction with other public members all have implications to interventions. Street children form a cohesive sub culture, characterised by the aspects above, which if overlooked in interventions would lead to the children resisting the interventions. Therefore, it suffices to say that insights about street childrens lived experiences are an important resource for development of interventions.