Children’s mobility in Ghana: an SBHA Special Issue
Children throughout Sub-Saharan Africa are extraordinarily mobile. Every day children travel to school, to markets, to fetch water and firewood, to work on farms and take farm produce to grinding mills, as well as to visit friends and family and to play. However, childrens mobility is relatively invisible: most journeys that children undertake cover short distances and the vast majority are on foot. As such, very little research has been conducted into the extent of childrens mobility and impacts on education, livelihoods, health and well-being.
In this special issue of Society, Biology and Human Affairs, a group of Ghanian scholars co-ordinated by guest editors Drs Gina Porter and Kate Hampshire, present the results of various aspects of a larger project on Children, Transport and Mobility in Sub-Saharan Africa, by presenting a series of papers on childrens mobility in Ghana.
Research used an innovative child-centred approach, in which 70 children (aged 11-19 when they started the project) received training and supervision to conduct research on mobility issues among their peers in their home communities.
Article titles include:
- Childrens mobility in Ghana: An overview of methods and findigns from the Ghana research study
- Work and happiness: Childrens activities in Ghana
- Child labour or skills training? A rights-based analysis of childrens contributions to household survival in Ghana
- Child fostering and education in Ghana
- Exploring the influence of household internal migration and parents main livelihood activities on childrens occupational aspirations in Ghana
- Mobility and economic constraints as key barriers to childrens healthseeking in Ghana
- Moving on two wheels
While the papers underline how mobile children in Ghana are, both on a daily basis and undertaking longer-term movements, another key issue to emerge from the study was the limitations and constraints that children face in terms of mobility. Getting to schools, health centres, markets, and other places that they need or want to go, is often very difficult. The difficulties can be particularly acute for those living in remote rural areas, but even children living in urban and peri-urban settlements often struggle to travel around their communities easily and safely. Large distances, high costs of public transport, infrequent transport services to rural areas, and dangers experienced while traveling (such as the risks of traffic accidents, or encountering hazards along the way) mean that daily journeys to school, for example, could become a major ordeal, and even unfeasible for some children.