It has been known that children on the streets live and stay on the streets, meaning they derive their livelihood solely from or on the streets. But surveys reveal that there are both full time and part-time children on the streets and the latter are a majority; meaning that some category does not live and sleep on the streets.

Then that begs the question, where do the vast majority of the street children come from?
We are aware of urbanisation and rural-urban migration as a phenomenon linked to socio-economic disparity that makes people think that there are better opportunities in cities.

This is regardless of whether they have what it takes to get into the labour market in terms of employable skills or not. Many get disillusioned and end up in slums.

A lot goes on in the slums and the children who are victims of whatever takes place there are compelled to come to the streets to etch out a living.

The description of life for a child in the slum community is one that lives a lot to be desired. Public space for a child in a slum is limited yet slum population continue to swell with rural-urban immigrants. These are places where social amenities are almost non-existent.

Besides, slums are characterised by high crime rate, poor hygiene, etc. Slums are also prone disease outbreaks. With no effective care, children take to the nearest street to try their luck there.

It is until we plan for our cities well that the problem of children pouring on to the streets will stop. Most families in slum areas are poor and live below $1 a day. A child from a slum area is denied nearly all the rights that other children should enjoy. The right to protection, provision, participation and development are almost non-existent for them.

While what is happening on the streets and slums is going on, the child on the street and slums is growing and tomorrow, they will become a problem to the country. I appeal to the responsible authorities to improve conditions in slums if we are to avoid the worst. Already, many of our cities are becoming more insecure where life is becoming unpredictable and uncertain.

And due to the widening gap between the urban poor and the urban moguls, suspicious tendencies keep brewing in between the two. Therefore, until some of the pertinent questions relating to glaring inequalities are addressed, we shall be among the most insecure countries one would think of living in the next 10 to 20 years.
Elizabeth Amongin,
lizamongin@gmail.com