Paper presentation on “Life Experience of Street Children in the City of Kigali”

Charles Rutikanga
Charles Rutikanga, current APPEAR scholar and PhD candidate at the University of Vienna, participated at the International Conference on Child Protection in Africa. He presented his PhD research topic on “Lives in Adversity: Life Experience of Street Children in the City of Kigali”.

Charles Rutikanga’s study shows that, the problem of street children is a growing issue worldwide in both developed and developing countries and the problem has become prevalent in many African cities due to the combined effects of socioeconomic restructuring resulting from poverty, HIV and AIDS epidemic, internal conflicts that directly or indirectly affect families, child abuse, family conflicts and violence. Charles also examines the multiple strategies street children use to cope with adverse conditions they live in and also assess how street children negotiate spaces and places they occupy within the City of Kigali, how they perceive themselves and how the public perceive them. The findings of the study show that many children leave their families and come on the street due to multiple reasons that range from family conflicts and violence, hunger, child abuse and neglect, poverty and sometimes witchcraft accusation. They also demonstrate different copying strategies like keeping themselves always clean, begging, stealing, and working, doing prostitution and drug abuse, while on the street they also experience different violence from members of the public and the violence among themselves and the one done by them to members of public.

“From vulnerability to Resilience Innovation and Evidence” was the theme for the International Conference on Child Protection in Africa which was held from the 8th to the 10th August 2018 at Daystar University Nairobi campus, Kenya. The overall aim was to provide a platform for mobilizing and consolidating the community of practice on child protection in Africa and across the globe. Key stakeholders in the field of child protection in Africa and over 200 delegates from NGOs in the area of child protection, academics, policy makers, child protection officers and children representatives attended the conference.

Charles Rutikanga is Lecturer at University of Rwanda Department of Social Sciences (currently on study leave). He is a PhD candidate at University of Vienna, Department of Development Studies. Charles holds a Master's degree in Social Work and Social Administration from Uganda Christian University, Uganda (2012) and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from National University of Rwanda (2006). Before joining academia, Charles worked as social work practitioner for three years in Health Unlimited (HU) and served both junior and senior management positions. His research interests are in areas of childhood and child protection studies, social work and social development. At University of Rwanda, he has been involved in the implementation, and coordination of different research project including the APPEAR partnership PROSOWO on Professional Social Work in East Africa. PROSOWO II consists of a consortium of five universities in East Africa and one from Austria and is financed by APPEAR programme.