Livelihoods and survival strategies among migrant children i Addis Ababa
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- Institutt for geografi 
This study attempts to explore the livelihoods and survival strategies of migrant children who live on the street or make a living on street based activities in Addis Ababa. It also depicts and analyses the forces behind children’s migration, their encounters and experiences while attempting to cope with the new environment. Structuration theory and livelihood approach were employed as a theoretical framework to address the research problem. Children form a part of the structure of the society, and as actors are struggling to adjust themselves to livelihood constraints. These theoretical frameworks helped to make a more realistic understanding of factors that shape the lives of street children within their society and of how they cope with and/or survive. On the other hand, research with street children can further our understanding or significantly contributes to theories of agency and competency and of risk and resilience. Giddens’ structuration is ontological in its orientation and focuses on theorizing human agency which in turn calls for in depth understanding of the lived experience of individuals. To better understand children and portray their everyday street life, various qualitative data collection methods: participant observation, key informant in-depth interview, focused group discussions have been employed. Giddens’ sees qualitative and quantitative methods as complementary rather than antagonistic aspects of social research. To this end, this study carried out a survey with a sample of fifty street children in four core areas of the city. Although the problem of street children is understood as an urban phenomenon, the factors exacerbating the problem have their origin in the rural villages. This study confirms that determinants of rural children’s migration to Addis are not dominated by a single factor but caused by a combination of multiple interrelated factors. Chronic livelihood poverty in rural areas of the country which traditionally relied upon subsistence farming, in general, leads children to move to cities to find economic niches in the low paid informal sectors of urban areas. Once in the city, they have to struggle to survive, develop and integrate into the urban environment. As individual case studies implied, children who live on the street do not form a homogenous category. Nor do they earn their living similarly. Rather they adopt a range of survival strategies to confront the challenges of urban street life. Street children draw diverse forms of assets or resources in the process of earning their livelihoods. Labor is the most important asset which helps street children either to generate income directly through wage employment or indirectly through the production of goods and services which are sold in the informal market. Street children engaged in legal, semi legal and/or illegal activities in order to earn income. Street children often do not have fixed carriers and they usually jump over opportunities often favoring the most rewarding in a particular time. Their livelihood depends on the efforts of a combination of portfolios of activities. Street children interact with each other through multiple networks and over the range of issues and concerns that constitute social life. Although they are economically disadvantaged; they have supportive social networks which act as a buffer against vulnerability, shocks and livelihood constraints. The informal networks support children socially, morally, economically and remain resilient feature in their street life. As survival requires grouping, their relations and way of life is characterized by hierarchies and power relations. The informal network established by street children extends to non-street social actors. In these interactions street children attempt to draw benefits and at the same time want to establish trust.