The case of children in cash crop context in Southern Ethiopia
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In the global South, local markets are among the settings where children’s everyday life experience unfolds. Children participate in various forms of work in local markets and make valuable economic contributions. This study was an attempt to get an insight on the everyday life experiences of boys and girls who work in three open local markets. It looked at children places and social relationships in local markets. It has also examined the influence of different types of local markets on boys and girls life circumstances, in particular the effect of the changes in national economic processes such as the growing significance of Khat on boys and girls local contexts and livelihood options. Qualitative research approach was employed to get an in-depth insight on nuances of boys and girls everyday life experiences. The empirical data of this studywas collected using a range of techniques, which includes observation, time recall, photograph and photo elicitation, in-depth interview and focus group discussions. Children engagement in various forms of work in each market evidenced the significant diversity of their work and the strong link between children’s everyday experiences with places withinwhich it happened. Children were engaged in competitive and collaborative relationships in different market settings. These collaborative and competitive relationships shape the everyday life experiences of children in different market settings. Children acquired and used combinations of informal and practical knowledge by working in the market, which they considered as an alternative livelihood options in future adulthood. Working in local markets gave children not only economic independence but also a sense of self-reliance and self-respect.Boys and girls usually combine trading activities with formal school and household responsibilities. Thus, children face with a dilemma on their choices between life here and now and the future. Moreover, the dynamics involved in national economic process, in particular the increasing production and marketing of Khat, affected children’s local careers and livelihood options differently. Therefore, understanding children’s everyday life experiences requires situating their social practices within diverse local contexts in which they work.