Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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ZIADA Abdelhadi, lecturer
ZENAWI Gebremeskel, Department of Socioology, CSSL, Mekelle University, Ethiopia

The study investigated the interlinked causes and challenges of child migrants in Mekelle. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods were employed to generate relevant data as exhaustively as possible through in-depth interviews, observation, key informant interviews, and a sample survey. The data was collected from 370 selected child respondents. Descriptive statistics (such as frequency, percentage and mean), chisqure test for association, and binary regression have been employed as data analysis tool.

The migrants were chosen according to major socio-demographic variables, that is majorities were not constituted by legal minors, followers of orthodox Christianity, children with primary education and from surrounding rural areas in the region.In addition, 17.3 % of minors compared with 82.7 % of non-minors were male. Migration of children and migration in general takes place in a range of circumstances broader than the legal context. This includes migration entered voluntarily and forced migration. The state of migration also affects their hire status in which 6.8 % of minors compared with 93.2 % of non-minors were hired through legal broker agencies. Further, the prevalence of economic problems at source, conflicts with parents or other family members, play a significant role as push factors. Seeking better education, employment opportunities, technology, infrastructure, and peer pressure are additional factors. At the destination, the migrants were vulnerable to labor exploitation, school dropout, economic crises, and health problems.

The findings show that children migrate because of many 'push and pull factors' at source and destination areas respectively. The high numbers of children who migrated were attracted by city life and escaping the problems at home. However, their movements are not always safe. They face challenges while transported and then after arrival at the destination.