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Durham University

Children, Transport and Mobility in Sub-Saharan Africa

Children, Transport and Mobility in Sub-Saharan Africa

Developing a Child-Centred Evidence Base to Improve Policy and Change Thinking Across Africa

The project, conducted between May 2006 and April 2010, focused on the mobility constraints faced by girl and boy children in accessing health, educational and other facilities in sub-Saharan Africa and the lack of direct information on how these constraints impact on children's current and future livelihood opportunities. The aim was to provide an evidence base strong enough to substantially improve policy in the three focus countries - Ghana, Malawi and South Africa - and to change thinking across Africa.

The project tested an innovative two-strand child-centred methodology, involving both adult and child researchers. In addition to a more conventional interview study with children, parents, teachers and community leaders conducted by adult academic researchers, there was a complementary component of truly child-centred research conducted by child researchers (facilitated by adults). This took forward an earlier small pilot (Porter and Abane 2008).

Our aim was to apply the successful child researcher approach, while ensuring achievement of a substantial and comparable quantitative and qualitative dataset across the three countries, from which policy guidelines could be established.

Project information was disseminated and advice gained through 6-monthly meetings of Country Consultative Groups (relevant ministries, NGOs, academics with country researchers in each country), through Project Steering Group meetings in UK, and through presentations to academics, policy makers and practitioners at many in-country and international meetings.

Our final review workshop in Ghana included child researcher participants from Ghana, Malawi and South Africa: they prepared the first draft of their own booklet of findings during this meeting. The Africa Community Access Programme [AFCAP] subsequently funded publication of the booklet and its dissemination into schools, ministries and communities in Ghana and Malawi. Please go to Children, Transport and Mobility booklet. 

The research team has now begun work on a new ESRC/DFID-funded study of young people and mobile phones, building on findings from our child mobility study and working in the same 24 sites.

Contact Details

Durham University,
DH1 3LE,
Telephone: +44 (0)191 334 2000