The situation of social welfare and child protection for vulnerable street-involved children in Tanzania : where is the gap?
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The main objective of this study is to give a holistic analysis of the current situation experiences of street involved children in Tanzania whereas its population today is about 44.9 million inhabitants and children account for over 50 per cent of the population (NBS 2012; Mkombozi 2012. NBS: The Nation Bureau of Statistics (2012). http://www.nbs.go.tz/). The study is less focused on getting the actual numbers of street involved children but rather getting their experiences from their own voices to examine whether the social welfare and protection mechanisms targeted at them meet their needs. But equally important it seeks understanding on how service providers define the needs of these children, the main challenges they face and how policy implications affect services improvement targeted to these children as well as exploring if such policies-practices have any impact at all. The methodology adopted to address these objectives is qualitative research method using in-depth qualitative interviews with key respondents via Skype calls. I used the case study of Mkombozi, a Non-Governmental Organization working with vulnerable street involved children on the street in Moshi Kilimanjaro and Arusha regions. The theoretical framework of the Human Rights or the Rights-Based Approach, Social Constructionism, and the Implementation theory are also used in order to shed light on the holistic analytical understanding of the current situation of street involved children. The findings show that poverty and poverty-related issues form the cluster of reasons for children to run away from home. Also, lack of awareness in the community about the extent of existing abusive systems in the institutions of the family, the police and the schools triggers children to opt for street living. The study reveals that some of these children continue to experience abuses when making their living on the streets from the institution like police. In addition it also indicate that there is a clear lack of political will as there are many ministries involved with street involved children’s affair but there is no clear allocation of responsibilities. Such ministries include the ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children, ministry of Health and Social Welfare, ministry of Education and Vocational Training and that of Home Affair. I belief that this study will contribute to knowledge not only for policy makers but also to the society in general about the extent of the situation of street involved children in Tanzania.
Master in International Social Welfare and Health Policy