Carren Morangi Onwonga
Abstract: The problem of street children has been an existing and growing phenomenon worldwide. In Kenyan, street children problem is expected to grow further given the rapid rate of urbanization and its resultant impacts on the society today. Street children continue to face social and political challenges in their struggle to participate in the wider community. In emergency contexts, such as the 2007/2008 PEV in Kenya, the security and well being of children is undermined as they become targets of security agencies as perpetrators of violence due to their visibility in the streets. Moreover, the already tense relationship within the society exacerbate as they are viewed as the major suspects of looting and vandalism. Despite government and NGO interventions towards alleviation of the problem of street children, there is a lack of comprehensive approaches that yield any significant impact in addressing specific challenges of street children. Study findings show that street children in Eldoret face myriad social-political challenges which included violence from themselves, security agents, business community and the public. The study further established that there was poor coordination and duplication of services provided by the government and nongovernmental organizations which often had a poor impact on the street children situation. The study suggests that government and other stakeholders should conduct community awareness creation and sensitization on the challenges facing street children at the community level, need for a sector-wide training approach for service providers involved in dealing with street children at all levels be developed by the government in collaboration with stakeholders to provide holistic services to street children, and government agencies mandated with street children services should be well staffed to enable them deliver quality services to street children. There is also need for establishment of information desks at police stations to identify, track and follow up with street children whom are picked up from the town streets.
Keywords: Socio-political factors, street children, Eldoret, Kenya