Growing Up on the Streets – Briefing Paper 14 – Building Assets On The Streets: Street Children and Youth in Three African Cities
Growing up on the Streets participants (198 street children and youth) took part in 18 focus group discussions about building assets. The discussions took place in Accra (Ghana) and Harare (Zimbabwe) in January 2015, and in Bukavu (DRC) in April 2016. Participants were asked to explore specific examples of assets important to them, in their daily and future lives. ‘Assets’ are tangible and intangible possessions or attributes needed to create some stability in life. Building assets has particular significance for street children and youth living in situations of chronic poverty, with limited agency over their economic and social conditions. In terms of sustainable livelihoods (see Further Reading), assets have been defined as consisting of four key forms of ‘capital’. ‘Human’ capital includes an individual’s ability to generate income through employment; ‘social’ capital refers to networks among friends, family and community who provide material and emotional support; ‘physical’ and ‘financial’ capital include material assets such as housing, tools, and monetary savings. For young people, ‘building’ assets is important because they allow individuals to cope with everyday problems of no earnings or a loss of shelter.