Write to: The Editor, Arusha Times, P.O. Box 212, Arusha.
Simple analysis of complex problem
I would like to make some comments regarding the campaign dubbed
STREETKIDS+MONEY=GLUE .I disagree that the primary causation of children living
on the streets is "money and glue". This is a simple analysis of a very complex
problem, and I'm sorry to say that I don't believe that this campaign can be
effective in keeping children off the streets, as it doesn't address the real
root causes of the problem, which are: abject poverty, breakdown of family and
community support systems, neglect and abuse, alcoholism in families and
This is not saying that the issue of glue is not a problem... it is. However,
using glue is a consequence of the above root causes. Children use it so they
don't feel the hunger, cold, and pain of living on the streets. In order to
prevent children from buying glue, there should be a campaign to make it illegal
for people/businesses to sell glue to these children. That would be more
effective in the long-term. As it is now, this campaign seems to blame the
children, who are victims themselves, for being poor and on the streets. This
only exacerbates the problem.
Furthermore, unless we start working to address these issues collectively as
NGOs, including all relevant stakeholders in the process of planning and
implementing campaigns and other activities, we will never prevent children from
coming to the streets. It is counterproductive for just a few select NGOs to
plan campaigns/programmes without consulting with all Arusha area NGOs which are
working with children. We all have valuable knowledge, skills, and experience to
contribute. The Arusha Caucus for Children's Rights is a good forum for us to
work together, and we have welcomed (a number of times) all children's and
related NGOs to attend the meetings, discuss strategies, and work cooperatively
to help street children.
Lastly, if children's NGOs don't unite to fight this problem by addressing the
root causes, it won't go away. NGOs in the Arusha area should join forces
instead of each NGO working on its own on separate issues. Let's not let
politics get in the way of helping vulnerable children.
Arusha Caucus for Children's Rights