Child Migration, Rural Poverty and Livelihoods
in Burkina Faso
Research undertaken in a small village in SE Burkina Faso
in 2001-02 shows that children and youth are integrated in the migration
circuits to and from neighbouring countries. They may accompany
their parents, stay with kin or travel and live on their own. The
movement of children and youth is also two-way. Children migrate
out of the village in search of wealth, to flee arranged marriages,
to receive education or medical treatment and/or to enhance social
capital through fostering arrangements, but they also return for
much the same reasons. Indeed, young people’s migration also
appears to have become something of a rite of passage from childhood
to adulthood. Villagers seek to tie their migrants into the social
network back home through finding spouses for young migrants, providing
younger siblings to help out in their households and often also
by requesting migrants’ children as helpers back home.
The proposed research aims at investigating the migration pattern
of children and youth from Burkina Faso to Ghana, and between Côte
d'Ivoire and Ghana through additional fieldwork in the home community,
and by following up identified young migrants in their places of
destination. Although the research will focus on child migrants
of both genders, examination of girls’ incentives to migrate,
or to negotiate their positions as migrants to be able to remain,
may add important information to the analysis of how the social
organisation of the family, gender and socioeconomic status affect
Key Research Questions
||How and why do children migrate?
||To what extent and how are decisions to
migrate negotiated within the family?
||What effect does their mobility have on
the livelihoods and vulnerability of their households left behind?
||What are the experiences of children who
||To what extent and how do social networks
of kin and community act as an insurance to reduce risk for
||To what extent and how do children keep
open the possibility to return and gain access to land and labour
through the maintenance of their social capital?
||What are the underlying incentives/obligations
that drive young people to migrate and parents to send their
children to kin either abroad or back in the village?
Looking for Money While Building Skills and Knowledge: Children's
Autonomous Migration to Rural Towns and Urban Centres
Gender and Generations
Rural Poverty and Livelihoods
Type(s) of Migration
Ghana / Africa
Thorsen (NAI, Sweden)
||Methodological workshop on child migration.
||5 months’ fieldwork tracing the movement of migrating
children and youth from one village in Burkina Faso -
to include in-depth interviews with different family members
and, especially, with children and youth both in the village
||Analysis and presentation of findings.