Why Children Stay

Far more children choose to remain within, or close to, communities featuring high rates of migration, rather than to leave – yet we know surprisingly little about their reasons for doing so. This report addresses this critical gap in our knowledge by examining the motivations and factors encouraging African children and youth to stay in their communities of origin.

The study involved an extensive literature review and primary data collection driven by the participatory voices and experiences of 120 children, gathered across 3 countries featuring high rates of internal and outward child migration: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and Zambia. It was designed and produced by Save the Children InternationaI’s Migration and Displacement Initiative (MDI), and funded by Save the Children Sweden.

The results suggest a need for a profound change in the way we view communities of origin. This research shows that communities of origin are places children typically want to stay in—and that their choices are the result of very deliberate, carefully considered reasoning. Positive reinforcement of key protective factors, identified by children themselves as critical to their decision to remain, is equally, if not more important than addressing perceived push factors – and that this should be factored into future decision making and investments by relevant state and non-state actors. 

Published 2018-11-01

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