On 22 November, the United Kingdom’s House of Lords held a debate about the numbers of children displaced from their homes internationally and the actions undertaken by the UK Government, European Union and United Nations to support them. Baroness Anelay, a Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Street Children,1 gave a powerful speech on how displacement affects street children.
Baroness Anelay drew on the evidence recently provided to the APPG by three of CSC’s network members: S.A.L.V.E. International, Bahay Tuluyan and CHETNA.2 She flagged concerns about the discriminatory application of laws such as the Ugandan “idle and disorderly” law, as well as the impact on street children of measures to combat gang violence and drug trafficking in the Philippines. She also asked how the UK Department for International Development takes account of the needs of street-connected children when allocating UK aid in India.
Baroness Stedman-Scott, on behalf of the UK Government, responded:
“There are an estimated 100 million street children worldwide.* That figure is shocking but yesterday, we confirmed that we will match donations to Street Child’s “Count Me In” appeal pound-for-pound.3 I would like to see more of that. DfID [the Department for International Development] recognises that children who live and work on the streets are among the most vulnerable in the world. One of the four objectives of the UK aid strategy is tackling extreme poverty and helping the world’s most vulnerable.”
Baroness Stedman-Scott will be writing to Baroness Anelay following the debate in order to answer her questions in relation to Uganda, the Philippines and India. Consortium for Street Children looks forward to hearing the UK Government’s full response.
If you would like to engage with the APPG on Street Children, please get in touch with our Advocacy Officer, Stacy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Street children are a difficult population to count for many reasons—they are often on the move, will not always be present on the street when counting takes place (for example, because they are at work or at home), or may wish to stay hidden for their own protection. The 100 million figure, which originates from UNICEF in 1989, is both widely cited and disputed. You can read about the challenges of counting street children and some of the main counting methodologies in our 2015 briefing paper, ‘Do I Count If You Count Me?’
However, there are good reasons for wanting to know how many street children there are: it can help practitioners offer support to hard-to-reach children, give donors a basis for targeting and evaluating their funding streams, and give governments the data they need to design effective policies and programmes. In fact, there is a lot more we would like to know about street children in order to better understand their needs and how we can help them. CSC works with the world’s leading experts on street children through our Research Forum, and we are always open to new partnerships with researchers, companies and donors who can support our work. If you would like to work with us to strengthen evidence and data gathering, please get in touch with our Advocacy and Research Manager, Lizet, at email@example.com.
1 The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Street Children is an informal cross-party group of UK Members of Parliament and Peers who want to learn about and support street children through their Parliamentary work. Consortium for Street Children acts as Secretariat to the APPG on Street Children. You can find out more about the group here.
2 S.A.L.V.E. International is a British and Ugandan based charity which works to help children in the Jinja District of Eastern Uganda off the streets through family resettlement, support, counselling and education. Bahay Tuluyan provides social services and programmes to prevent and respond to abuse and exploitation in Manila, Laguna and Quezon in the Philippines. CHETNA empowers children through training and action, with a special focus on street and working children, in Delhi and neighbouring states in India.