.
biosoc2 previous issues gudelines for authors 
.
Traffic dangers: a teacher helps pupils cross a busy road on the outskirts of Cape Coast at the end of a school day. Photograph © Gina Porter    
. . . .
  magazine 27-2 icon

PDF ico


current issue

Volume 76 2011
Number 1 (Special Edition)
Children's Mobility in Ghana
Guest Editors: Kate Hampshire and Gina Porter

ISSN : 2046-0058  

General Editor : Alejandra Núñez-de la Mora 
Contact : SBHA_Editor@biosocsoc.org

Editorial Assistant: Erika McClure
 
. . .

  C o n t e n t s

.   .

Editorial
Alejandra Núñez-de la Mora

art photo
Doing an errand for the old folks after school.
Photograph © Edward Obilie-Odei

PDF ico

.

Children’s mobility in Ghana:
An overview of methods and findings from the Ghana Research Study.
Gina Porter, Kate R. Hampshire and Albert Abane

art photoOne-to-one in-depth interviewing © Gina Porter



PDF ico
http://www.dur.ac.uk/child.mobility
.

Child labour or skills training?
A rights-based analysis of children’s contributions to household survival in Ghana.

Simon Mariwah and Kobina Esia-Donkoh

art photo8-year old girl walking round town in coastal Ghana hawking iced water. Photograph © Gina Porter

Abstract
The high incidence of poverty in Africa means that households explore multiple survival strategies, one of which is heavy reliance on the productivity of their children. This issue has generated a lot of debate, with one school of thought viewing it as unacceptable child labour while others perceive it either as a method of socialisation for children or an informal apprenticeship. However, within the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, children’s contribution to household survival could be said to represent both an enhancement and infringement of child rights. Therefore, this paper seeks to examine children’s contribution to household survival in the context of child rights, child labour and skill training. Using a qualitative approach, this paper draws on 323 interviews and 31 focus group discussions conducted with children, parents and key informants in eight (8) communities from two (2) ecological zones in Ghana as part of a larger research project on Children Mobility and Transport in Sub-Saharan Africa. The results showed that child porterage and selling are the commonest activities children engage in to generate income to support their families. While some parents and children see children’s work as a contribution to the survival of their households, others see it as part of children’s upbringing and socialisation, both of which have accompanying negative and positive impacts on rights of the child. The study recommends that in the context of high poverty, children’s involvement in income-generating activities can be substantially reduced if parents are economically empowered.

Keyword:Child labour, skills training, children’s contributions, household, porterage, Ghana

PDF ico

.

Exploring the influence of household internal migration and parents’ main livelihood activities on children’s occupational aspirations in Ghana.
Augustine Tanle and Samuel K. M. Agblorti

art photoJunior high school borders join the vehicle to take them back to school on a Sunday afternoon after a weekend at home in the village. Photograph © Gina Porter

Abstract
Background: Although individuals and entire households engage in internal migration in Ghana, the literature mostly focuses on individual migration. The main objective of this paper is to explore the influence of household internal migration and parents’ main livelihood activities on children’s occupational aspirations. Methods: This paper draws on data collected from study sites in Ghana as part of a larger research project on Children Mobility and Transport in Sub-Saharan Africa (which took place in Ghana, Malawi and South Africa). During the project survey questionnaire, a total of 125 children and young people aged between 8 and 18 years were interviewed within urban, peri-urban, rural and remote rural sites in two agro-ecological zones in Ghana (eight sites in total). Additionally, the paper draws on qualitative research undertaken in the project in all sites using individual interviews and focus group discussions with key informants, parents and children. Results: The main motives of household internal migration among study participants were economic and social. While parents were mostly engaged in agriculture, their children generally aspired to non-agricultural occupations based on their interests, capabilities and perceptions. The children in both rural and urban areas aspired for occupations of fairly similar status. Conclusions: Children’s occupational aspirations are shaped by exogenous and not endogenous factors from their parents but their aspirations in both rural and urban areas are fairly similar. The paper has implications for career counseling at home and in school as well as the National Youth and Employment Programme (NYEP) in Ghana.

Key words: Internal migration, household, livelihood, children, occupational aspirations, Ghana

PDF ico

 

.

Moving on two wheels.
Regina Obilie Amoako-Sakyl and Samuel Asiedu Owusu

art photoBiking for fun! After the errand, it’s time to play. Ghana urban community, coastal zone. © Edward Obilie-Odei

Abstract
Background: Children in most Sub-Saharan African countries are faced with severe mobility constraints in their quest to access schools, health care and other places important to their well-being. Although bicycles apparently offer possible solutions to these problems as a relatively low-cost, Non-Motorised Transport (NMT), the potential of bicycles to address some of the transport needs is largely unexplored in most parts of Africa with South Africa being a notable exception. . The study investigated the effects that the attitudes of parents, teachers, and peers may have on this. Methods: The study was conducted by fieldworkers in eight communities within two ecological zones (forest and coastal) in Ghana. Both qualitative and quantitative data collection were employed within the context of a cross-sectional study design. Questionnaires, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews were conducted in all the study communities. A total of 1005 questionnaires were administered and approximately 400 qualitative interviews conducted. Results: The study revealed that 30% of households across both ecological zones owned bicycles. However a much higher proportion of children - 68.6% - used bicycles ranging from everyday use to once per week. . Bicycle use was mainly for recreation and running errands. Gender was important in shaping bicycle use among children: while 84.1 per cent of boys used bicycles, only 55.2 % of girls did. Conclusions: Children’s use of bicycles is higher than levels of household ownership might suggest. Over two-thirds of children surveyed used bicycles, mainly for recreation and running errands. Attitudes of motorised vehicle drivers, parents, teachers, and peers influence bicycle usage among children with parents’ attitude mainly influenced by dangers within the physical environment.

Key words: Children, bicycles use, ownership, behaviour, Ghana.

PDF ico

 

 

Guest Editorial:
Children’s Mobility in Ghana

Kate R. Hampshire, Gina Porter and Albert M. Abane

art photo
Secondary school girl walking to school in urban Sunyani, forest zone, Ghana. Photograph © Gina Porter

PDF ico

.

Work and happiness:
Children’s activities in Ghana.

Kobina Esia-Donkoh and Simon Mariwah

art photoCarrying water home from the borehole, Ghana rural settlement, forest zone. Photograph © Gina Porter

Abstract
Background: Children constitute a form of social labour in Africa. They are engaged in various forms of activities. In Ghana, adults typically decide activities for children. Some of these activities constitute a positive element in the child’s development; others contravene existing frameworks that seek to protect children. However, very little research has been done to explore children’s agency in contesting views of adults with respect to their activities. The study therefore explores children’s deployment of agency to contest normative views about their work. Methods: The study draws on data from a larger project entitled ‘Children, Transport and Mobility in sub-Saharan Africa’. In Ghana, the Central and Brong Ahafo Regions were selected. Four study settlements comprising remote-rural, rural, peri-urban and urban characteristics were selected from each region to explore the similarities and differences in activities among children between the ages of 8 and 18 using qualitative and quantitative techniques. This study focuses on the qualitative data. Results: Sex, age, cultural orientation, seasonality and status of a child influenced tasks assigned to children. Likes and dislikes of tasks depended on the tedious, duration and associated dangers. Children used resistance, rearrangement, group work and ‘delay tactics’ as forms of agency to express dislike of certain tasks. Male-children were more likely to exercise agency in one of these ways compared to female-children. Conclusions: Cultural perception of childhood defines children’s activities in Ghana. In order to support the interests of both children and adults, activity-evaluation must be done with children. This would enhance work and happiness.

Key words:children, porterage, agency, activities, work.

PDF ico

.

Child fostering and education in Ghana.
Samuel K. M. Agblorti and Augustine Tanle

art photoPrimary school children in class, rural Ghana. Photograph © Gina Porter

Abstract
Introduction: The literature on fostering of children and their welfare, especially on education, presents ambivalent outcomes. While some children in foster care may have access to better education than what would have been possible in their biological residences, others are prevented from attending school regularly or do not attend school at all due to labour demands in their foster households. Drawing on data collected by researchers as part of a larger study of child mobility in Ghana, Malawi and South Africa, we explore the extent of child fostering in two agro-ecological zones in Ghana and how it relates to education. Methods: Data in the child mobility study were collected in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, followed by a questionnaire survey. This generated data for children (between 8 and 18) – both in-school and out-of-school. Results: Our findings lean heavily towards the school of thought that maintains that child fostering is detrimental to the educational outcomes of fostered children. Even where children were fostered by relatives, the negative impact on education was evident. Fostered children were less likely to be enrolled in school, less likely to be attending regularly, and more likely to be ‘behind’ in their schooling, than those living with their biological parents. Serial fostering of children emerged as another dimension of fostering that needs further investigation in terms of its impacts on schooling. Conclusion: We conclude that fostering impacts negatively on foster children’s educational experiences and outcomes.

Keywords: Child fostering, educational outcomes, Ghana, serial fostering, current grade, current age

PDF ico

.

Mobility and economic constraints as key barriers to children’s health-seeking in Ghana.
Samuel Asiedu Owusu and Regina Obilie Amoako-Sakyl

art photoThe start of a long walk home, coastal Ghana. Photograph © Gina Porter

Abstract
Goal 4 of the UN Millennium Development Goals seeks to “reduce child mortality” and targets a reduction of child mortality rate among children under five years. Although some significant achievements have been made by some countries in this direction, it is estimated that more than 9 million children under the age of five die every year worldwide, with 41% of these deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. Most of these deaths have been attributed to varied factors including household environment, poor hygiene and barriers to accessing health care. This paper discusses mobility and economic constraints as key barriers to children’s health–seeking in Ghana. Qualitative data were derived from the health interviews and focus–group discussions with children aged 8–18 years while the quantitative data was sourced from 1005 children aged 8-18 years drawn from eight sites (urban, peri-urban, rural and remote rural) in two ecological zones (coastal and forest) in Ghana. It was identified that distance to health facilities as well as the high cost associated with accessing health facilities debar children from considering hospital or clinical care as a first choice health care outlet. It also emerged that some children, especially rural residents, walk or travel for more than 20 kilometres to access healthcare. Improved telecommunication (mobile telephony) and transport services offer a ray of hope to residents in rural Ghana. The sector ministries responsible for road transport and communication are being entreated to hasten attempts at improving Ghana’s road networks and telecommunication infrastructure to enable children easily access health care.

Key words: Mobility, Barriers to health-seeking, Access to health, children, Ghana, Health-seeking

PDF ico

 

.

The Abortion Debate in Mexico: Newspaper Coverage and Discourse, 2001-2003.
Emily Vala-Haynes, Rob Stephenson, Roger Rochat, Eileen A. Yam, Lisa G. Rosas and Sandra G. Garcia

Abstract
Background: Abortion in Mexico is highly restricted, and the issue has been openly debated as policymakers consider reforming abortion legislation. The newly free press in Mexico plays a key role in informing the public about the abortion debate. Methods: Using a sample of 100 articles from five Mexico City newspapers containing the word “abortion,” this study examines the context in which abortion is discussed in the media and the social actors that are associated with pro-choice, anti-abortion and mixed arguments from 2001 to 2003. Results: Non-governmental organizations and Catholic Church representatives were the principal social actors, with coverage also given to policymakers who support liberalization of abortion laws. Most articles present only one viewpoint when covering abortion, dominated by organizations and leaders who represent the extreme sides of the debate. Conclusion: Abortion has earned a prominent place on the public agenda and in the news media. Future research should continue to monitor and document newspaper coverage of abortion as the legal context evolves in Mexico.

Key words: Abortion, Mexico, Media, Newspapers

PDF ico

 

.
.