This article analyses how children in Ethiopia respond to household adversity in the context of poverty. It highlights the association between poverty and other forms of hardship and the complex interplay of risk and protective factors in young people's lives. It argues that identifying adversity is not straightforward because beliefs affect the outcomes of such experiences, and different cultures and actors hold different views on the matter, so that assumed risks can in some cases be protective and foster specific competencies in the young. To support this argument, children's work - often viewed as a risk - and their role in preventing and mitigating household hardship are underlined as a potential source of protection, resilience and skills development. In this way, the limitations of research that focuses solely on detrimental child outcomes of risk exposure are revealed and the need for a more nuanced, multi-actor view of these processes is emphasised.
Children, Youth and Environments (2009) 19 (2) 111-137
Risk and Capability in the Context of Adversity: Children’s Contributions to Household Livelihoods in Ethiopia