Child labour in rural and urban kenyan settings: a comparative study of kakuzi location, murang’a county and kibera slum, nairobi county
This study focuses on child labour-a typical issue of concern in Kenya and beyond. Child labour is still a common phenomenon, particularly in the developing world. More specifically, the study explores in detail the phenomenon of child labour in rural and urban Kenyan settings taking the cases of Kakuzi location, Murang’a County and Kibera slum, Nairobi County. To achieve this broad objective, the study was guided by four research questions namely; (1) what is the nature of child labour?; (2) what is the magnitude of child labour?; (3) what are the determinants of child labour and (4) what are the consequences of child labour in Kenya?. The study adopted a comparative survey research and covered 80 respondents in Kakuzi location and 80 respondents in Kibera slum who were drawn using cluster sampling. These respondents were all mothers/female guardians. Using purposive sampling, 10 key informants were selected and 4 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with children in the two study sites were held to provide qualitative data on child labour. Case studies with child labourers were conducted as a follow up to enrich the quantitative data collected from the respondents. Data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The descriptive statistics revealed that majority of the respondents (42.5%) fell under the 20-29 years age group. On marital status, nearly 84% of the respondents were married. Almost 70% of the respondents had primary education. Vast majority (79.4%) were engaged in non-formal employment and had relatively low monthly incomes. They constituted the working poor. Based on the findings, it was found that child labour is apparently more common in the rural areas as compared to urban areas. The ‘invisibility’ of child labour in urban settings as compared to rural settings was quite evident. This was illustrated by the few number of respondents who reported that there were cases of child labour in their households in Kibera away from the common knowledge that child labour is rampant in urban settings. Commercial agriculture was reported to be the main sector that demands the use of child labour in rural areas while domestic labour was the greatest consumer of child labour in urban areas. Majority of the child labourers in the two combined sites were girls which accounted for 52.5% of all the child labourers captured by the study. Moreover, the most affected age group was the 14-17 years in the two sites. Drawing from the study findings, most of the mothers/female guardians of the child laborers were engaged in non-formal employment in both rural and urban areas. Majority of the households that reported cases of child labour had relatively low incomes and had a household size of six and/or more household members. It was established that child labour is detrimental to the development of a child since the negative consequences outweighed the positive consequences of child labour of socialization and supplementing household income in the twos sites. The adverse consequences of child labour at the child’s level reported were physical deterioration resulting from excessive fatigue and consequently poor educational performance in school. At the household level, economic retardation and familial conflicts were reported as the most common adverse effects of child labour. Further, the respondents reported the adverse effects of child labour at the community level namely; negative peer influence and economic retardation. The measures that were reported for curbing child labour in the rural and urban settings include; (1) improved access to education; (2) economic empowerment of parents/guardians; (3) proper enforcement of law safeguarding children’s rights and (4) provision of basic necessities to the affected children. On the level of awareness of child labour policies, respondents in Kibera were more enlightened about the Children’s Act as compared to their counterparts in Kakuzi location. vii This was explained by the few number of respondents who affirmed of their awareness of Children’s Act in Kakuzi (18.8%) while in Kibera, 44% of the respondents stated that they were aware of the Act. Inferential statistics were applied to measure the relationships between and among variables for the study’s hypotheses. More specifically, Chi-square tests of independence were done to examine whether any association exists between variables of interest to the study. The Chi-square test revealed that there was no relationship between the level of education of the mother, type of occupation of the mother and the child’s involvement in labour. It was thus concluded that these variables were independent of each other. However, on the household characteristics the Chi-square tests indicated that there was a relationship between the household size, household income and child’s involvement in labour. It was established that the variables are dependent on each other since the significance level of the Chi-square value was less than the selected alpha value of 0.05. In conclusion, it is recommended that the national government comes up with a comprehensive child labour policy. This national child labour policy would enable county governments to tailor make interventions to best deal with the problem of child labour in respective counties. Sensitization campaigns need to be spearheaded by county governments and supported by civil society organizations to improve the levels of knowledge on the child labour policies. At the community level, the children should be engaged in constructive recreation activities during school holidays. At the academic level, a modification in methodology needs to be done by shifting focus from the household to the children themselves; child laborers. This will ensure more accurate measurement of the dynamics of child labour as opposed to obtaining second hand information from parents/guardians.
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