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THE ROLE OF GIFATA IN CHILD MIGRATION: EXPECTATION AND CHALLENGES; THE CASE OF WALAITA CHILD MIGRANTS TO ADDIS ABABA [Abstract ID: 1003-02]
The primary aim of this study is to conduct an anthropological analysis on Walaita child migrants’ expectations and challenges in the context of Addis Ababa. The study further focuses on an assessment of the driving factors for children to migrate, to investigate the role of gifata and to describe the urban life opportunities and challenges that are encountered by migrant children. In contrast to their expectation before departure the children had to choose different survival strategies. In order to achieve the proposed objectives instruments like Semi structured interview, Focus Group Discussions, Observation, Survey Questionnaires and other secondary data sources were used. The collected data were analyzed mainly by qualitative methods and were supported by some quantitative data. In addition, quantitative data were collected and analyzed to triangulate the qualitative data in descriptive forms. The study found out that the migration of children into the study area is caused by a number of different factors such as poverty, culture, tradition and trends of adult migration, peer pressure, lack of access to jobs for those who completed higher education, fragmentation of land and change of weather conditions resulting in insufficient production. As a result, children felt obliged to drop out from school and migrate to the city in search of better employment in the informal sector to support themselves and their families. The children listening to the tales of earlier migrants who have achieved some small successes and talk about them when visiting their families during gifata, start dreaming about a better future. The study shows that, contrary to early expectations, migrant children have to cope with many challenges in the course of looking and finding work in the new areas. They are expected to work the whole day long, travel long distances exposed to hot and cold weather conditions, suffer abuse from different bodies, are faced with the high cost of food and rent. Furthermore, they lost their places at school in the departure and destination areas without hope of better opportunities as expected earlier on. Living in the city needs maximum effort to cope with the existing challenges in living quarters and working areas.