The environment in which children grow up provides an important context for their welfare and opportunities for their development and partly shapes their sense of identity. Children growing up in urban poverty often live in crowded conditions, sharing space with many family members in dilapidated houses, sometimes conducting all their daily activities in a single room without adequate kitchens, toilets or washing facilities. Although children are aware of the deprivations and hardships of life in such conditions, they also may also value aspects of their home environment, notably cohesive and supportive social relations within the home.
This summary of Working Paper 105 reports on a study carried out with families in four urban communities (three in Addis Ababa and one in Hawassa, the capital of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region) that are due to be resettled when a planned redevelopment of these parts of the city centres starts. The study sought to understand the views of children (and their caregivers) about their living conditions prior to the impending move. These neighbourhoods are congested and tend to be unhealthy environments, with open sewerage systems and limited facilities for the disposal of liquid and solid waste. Children in these areas often do not have space to play and may be exposed to anti-social behaviour. Many poor people live in such circumstances not out of choice but for lack of other opportunities. However, there are also aspects of their neighbourhoods that people value, particularly access to informal work opportunities, markets, social relations and supportive social networks.
Pankhurst, A.; Tiumelissan, A. Living in Urban Areas due for Redevelopment: Perspectives from Children and their Families. (2013) 6 pp. [Ethiopia Urban Resettlement Brief 1]