Growing Up on the Streets – Briefing Paper 13 – Friendship On The Streets: Street Children and Youth in Three African Cities
Children and youth living and working on the streets, rely on friends and their wider social networks for survival. The lack of stable family relationships, combined with poverty and social marginalisation, mean that friendships are vitally important as sources of protection, practical help and emotional support. However, harsh conditions on the street also create competition between young people that leads to friendships being fragile and conditional upon the availability of resources. This briefing paper examines the meaning and function of friendships for street children and youth. It analyses findings from 18 focus groups on the topic of friends with over 200 young people in Accra (Ghana) and Harare (Zimbabwe) in July 2014, and in Bukavu (DRC) April 2015.