A Study of the Network of Support for Street Children in Nigeria


ARANSIOLA, Joshua Oyeniyi


Street children, civil society, children's rights, child welfare, State, nongovernmental organizations, network, Nigeria


The study examined the emerging network of supports available to street children in Nigeria. It assessed the kind of support given to street children and the extent to which these networks of support are fulfilling their mission mandates; and to examine the attitudes of the street children to these networks of supports thereby investigating the street children’s preferred options of care. For the purpose of this study, both qualitative and quantitative research methods were used to obtain primary data from the following social categories – street children, community members, NGOs, CSOs and government agencies. Convenience sampling technique was used to select 500 street children in each of the three cities selected for this study (Kaduna, Lagos and Port Harcourt). Out of the total sample of 1500 street children interviewed; a total of 647 representing 43.1% were ‘of’ the street children (that is children who made the street a permanent home, having severed relationship with parents and relations); while the rest were children ‘on’ the street (that is, children who trade on the streets but go home by evening to either parents or relations or some caretakers). Importantly, the focus of this study is on the ‘of’ the street children, who were mainly on their own, and often left to face the horrors of street life without recourse to their significant others. Three NGOs working with street children were purposively selected in each of the three cities. Quantitative data were collected from the street children and these NGOs using semi - structured questionnaire, while in-depth interviews were conducted in each study city with one key government official and three Civil Society Organisation leaders. Also, 6 Focus Group Discussions were also conducted with different social categories of community members in each city. Secondary data on government policies and practices on street children were collected from relevant government ministries and departments. The quantitative data were analysed using SPSS and STATA computer softwares, while these data were presented using univariate,
bivariate and multivariate analyses, which then allowed the use of cross tabulations, chisquare and T- Test/ ANOVA. Probit regression was used to determine the degree of association between the independent and dependent variables in the study propositions. The qualitative data collected using key informant interviews (KIIs) and Focus Group Discussions and case studies were analysed using the content analysis carried out with The study concluded that, despite the global shift from eradication of street children to providing support for them right on the streets, this paradigm shift has very weak roots in
Nigeria. Hence, the homeless adults on the street seem to be the role model for ‘of’ the street children. This has serious implication for the future of the country since it could lead to the proliferation of street gangs who are often involved in various crimes and ready instruments of violence. Increase in the population of street children and possibly street gangs could become serious economic burden to the nation. It is therefore important to attract support to the children ‘of’ the street in order to reverse this problem.


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June 21, 2023