“No Mother Wants Her Child to Migrate” Vulnerability of Children on the Move in the Horn of Africa
Children are moving on an enormous scale in the Horn of Africa. The report highlights how children’s movement is driven by different motivations, exposes children to different forms of harm, and presents multiple barriers to accessing services. As elsewhere in the world, many people in the Horn of Africa are forced or pushed to move by unaddressed vulnerabilities, including poverty, persecution, disruption of their families or exposure to human rights abuses. Once they move, vulnerabilities can be exacerbated by the disruption of social structures and coping mechanisms that would otherwise have a protective effect. Being on the move can disrupt access to services as individuals may be unaware of where to turn in a new location and service providers may, in turn, have difficulty accessing them. These dangers become acute for children, especially those travelling without families.
This report is the first in a series of studies in the Horn of Africa aimed at building knowledge to improve Unicef’s programmes which support children on the move. This first qualitative study provides a better understanding of the experiences of these children. It draws on 282 individual interviews and focus group discussions with children and parents on the move, including internally displaced persons, refugees, migrants and returnees. Within each group, the researchers examined why children move and the problems they face when they do. The researchers also examined what structures exist to protect children and whether they are effectively reaching children on the move and responding to the threats these children face. The report also provides recommendations for strengthening child protection systems on the ground.
Making sure the most vulnerable children are heard during COVID-19: 5 lessons on data collection from Somalia
While COVID-19 has presented new risks and challenges for collecting information, children’s voices must continue to be heard when developing policies and programmes that impact their lives. In recognition of this, UNICEF Somalia designed and conducted a study, with technical support from the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti and funding from the UK government, to capture the experiences of some of the most vulnerable children living in Puntland and Somaliland during the current pandemic. 1,090 children (aged 10-18 years) were interviewed between 5th and 21st July 2020. This included children living on the streets, those affected by migration, and those living alone with no family. All the data collected was disaggregated by key factors such as gender and age group to provide additional insights.
The forgotten minority: A personal story sheds light on the added dangers facing migrant girls and women
Maryama* is just 17 years old, but already she has attempted to migrate from Hargeisa in the Horn of Africa to Europe twice. While most migrants face harrowing journeys, her story can help us understand some of the additional challenges facing young women and girls on the move in the Horn of Africa. She was interviewed as part of a broader study on the situation of children on the move in the Horn of Africa carried out by the Innocenti Office of Research.
Partnering with youth to research the challenges facing young people in the Horn of Africa
Hargeisa city is a fast-growing urban environment that remains safe, unlike many parts of the region. Yet young people living in the city face a myriad of challenges. Unemployment is high amongst youth, and poverty is widespread. In this context, it is not surprising that young people think of a life abroad. “I couldn’t afford a university education, and I couldn’t find a job,” said a young Somali who tried to get to Europe. “I have multimedia skills, but I still couldn’t find a job. I wrote a dozen CVs, but organisations would just throw them away.”