Child Migration In Africa Education Essay

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Child Migration in Africa explores the mobility of children without their parents within West Africa. Drawing on the experiences of children from rural Burkina Faso and Ghana, the book provides rich material on the circumstances of children's voluntary migration and their experiences of it. Their accounts challenge the normative ideals of what a 'good' childhood is, which often underlie public debates about children's migration, education and work in developing countries.

The comparative study of Burkina Faso and Ghana highlights that social networks operate in ways that can be both enabling and constraining for young migrants, as can cultural views on age- and gender-appropriate behaviour. The book questions easily made assumptions regarding children's experiences when migrating independently of their parents and, by drawing parallels with children's migration in Latin America and Asia, contributes to analytical and cross-cultural understandings of childhood.

Part of the groundbreaking Africa Now series, Child Migration in Africa is an important and timely contribution to an under-researched area.

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Praise for the Book

'This well-written research-based text offers fascinating insights into the complexities of children's migrant experiences in West Africa. Based on ethnographic research in the rural sending communities as well as interviews at the migrant destinations, Hashim and Thorsen use indepth empirical examples in order to place children's accounts at the centre of their analysis. A timely, comprehensive and engaging book which illuminates the diversity and challenges of understanding processes of children's migration.' - Samantha Punch, University of Stirling

'Without either romanticising children's resilience or disregarding their agency, this book places children's voices and views at the centre of a careful and cogent analysis of children's independent migration in West Africa. Original, intelligent and accessible, it adds significantly to current academic and policy debate on childhood, migration and mobility.' - Prof Julia O'Connell Davidson, University of Nottingham

'In trash dumps, brothels and other sites where children toil in the worst forms of child labor, it is not unusual to encounter a preponderance of children who have migrated outside their family support networks. This study is an important early contribution in the nascent literature aimed at understanding independent child migration . It provides voice to independent child migrants in West Africa. The diversity of experiences is thought-provoking. This impressive work will serve as a foundation for further research that examines the extent to which these narrative accounts generalize beyond the voices found by these authors.' - Prof. Eric Edmonds, University of Dartmouth

Child Migration in Africa

Iman Hashim and Dorte Thorsen

Child Migration in Africa explores the mobility of children without their parents within West Africa. Drawing on the experiences of children from rural Burkina Faso and Ghana, the book provides rich material on the circumstances of children's voluntary migration and their experiences of it. Their accounts challenge the normative ideals of what a 'good' childhood is, which often underlie public debates about children's migration, education and work in developing countries.

The comparative study of Burkina Faso and Ghana highlights that social networks operate in ways that can be both enabling and constraining for young migrants, as can cultural views on age- and gender-appropriate behaviour. The book questions easily made assumptions regarding children's experiences when migrating independently of their parents and contributes to analytical and cross-cultural understandings of childhood.

Part of the groundbreaking Africa Now series, Child Migration in Africa is an important and timely contribution to an under-researched area.

Reviews

'This well-written research-based text offers fascinating insights into the complexities of children's migrant experiences in West Africa. Based on ethnographic research in the rural sending communities as well as interviews at the migrant destinations, Hashim and Thorsen use indepth empirical examples in order to place children's accounts at the centre of their analysis. A timely, comprehensive and engaging book which illuminates the diversity and challenges of understanding processes of children's migration.' - Samantha Punch, University of Stirling

'Without either romanticising children's resilience or disregarding their agency, this book places children's voices and views at the centre of a careful and cogent analysis of children's independent migration in West Africa. Original, intelligent and accessible, it adds significantly to current academic and policy debate on childhood, migration and mobility.' - Prof Julia O'Connell Davidson, University of Nottingham

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'In trash dumps, brothels and other sites where children toil in the worst forms of child labor, it is not unusual to encounter a preponderance of children who have migrated outside their family support networks. This study is an important early contribution in the nascent literature aimed at understanding independent child migration . It provides voice to independent child migrants in West Africa. The diversity of experiences is thought-provoking. This impressive work will serve as a foundation for further research that examines the extent to which these narrative accounts generalize beyond the voices found by these authors.' Prof. Eric Edmonds, University of Dartmouth

The amazing stories of children who leave behind their families to fight poverty take shape from the field notes of clever interviewers. So responsible and determined, these 'young youths' strive to achieve essential elements of well-being, such as health, education and economic security. Children's decisions to migrate are placed in context with a rigorous method of investigation and the result is a vivid portrait of people's lives within households and villages of Burkina Faso and Ghana.

Table of Contents

Preface

1. Introduction: Interrogating Childhood and Migration

2. Contexts of Migration

3. Choosing to Move: The Reasons of Rural Children's Migration

4: Journeys and Arrivals: Introductions to New Social Worlds

5: Navigating Migrant Life: Processes of Constructing Identities

6. Moving On

About the Authors:

Dorte Thorsen is a visiting research fellow at the department of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Reading. She has done ethnographic research with children and youth migrating from the Bisa region in south-eastern Burkina Faso to Ouagadougou and Abidjan and with their rural families in some twenty villages. Raising methodological questions about the way in which children's and youth's agency can be studied beyond a narrow focus on verbal negotiations, her research theorises decision-making processes linked with young migrants' performance of identities, urban labour relations and the enactment of relatedness. She has published book chapters and policy papers based on this research, and articles in the journals Migrations & Hommes, Africa, Forum for Development Studies and the Journal for Comparative Family Studies.

Iman Hashim is a Research Fellow at the Department of International Relations, Istanbul Kulutur University. She has worked on children's independent migration from rural north-eastern Ghana to rural and urban central Ghana. Her current work builds on long-term ethnographic research undertaken in a farming community in north-eastern Ghana, where she focussed on the work of children for their own households, as well as on community attitudes toward education and children's experiences of education. She also has worked for national and international non-governmental organisations as a programme and a research officer.

Child Migration in Africa

When talking about child labour, we often tend to make a number of normative assessments that the children are working against their will or at least are losing out on childhood.

If children migrate without parents it is often assumed to be involuntary and harmful. Through a wealth of ethnographic examples from rich fieldwork in several sites in Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, Hashim and Thorsen's book challenges common assumptions in policy - and some academic - work about childhood, family, labour, and mobility.

For instance, they argue that the institution 'childhood' is a contingent category that only emerged among the upper classes in Europe in the seventeenth century. This idea of childhood as distinctly different to adulthood and defined as an age of 'learning and playing' caused a growing concern in nineteenth-century Europe for the fate of children in 'poor families'; a concern that now is directed at the poor in the developing world as expressed in various UN charters. Through their own empirical investigations, Hashim and Thorsen show that in many contexts working, learning, and playing are interwoven, and that work does not exclude the other two categories. In many contexts doing favours in the house and in the fields is part of what it means to be a 'good boy' or a 'good girl' and is therefore not in contradiction with being a child.

Another normative assumption that the authors want to contextualize is concerned with mobility. Like the family, 'home' has strong emotive notions of good and bad, where displacement and loss of home are assumed to be detrimental to the well-being of those concerned.

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In much policy-related literature, the book argues, migration is perceived to be a symptom of something else gone wrong in society, whether it be in terms of political insecurity, economic decline, or environmental disaster. In reality, the authors argue, it is much more complex, as households may be multi-local, and moving from one place to another need not mean losing home.

They also argue against the assumption that children, who move from one part of the family to the other, are simply forced in the adults' decisions.They show through a number of case studies that children who migrate alone also make their own choices and have their own plans and desires.

This book is tries to brings together the two themes of childhood and migration

It is therefore a valuable contribution to the study of childhood and migration,

Understandings of family and kinship as well as to understanding the workings of the informal economy in West Africa.

for us to be reminded of the harshness of everyday life for millions of Africans, but it also shows how these children/youths are strategic planners of their own lives, trying to make ends meet.

They call for contextualizing and concretizing child migration - rather than resting on preconceived assumptions. Children are neither victims nor heroes; they are simply trying to get by as best they can, given the opportunities and constraints that they can see.