Children, Transport and Mobility in Sub-Saharan Africa, 2007-2008


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

The Child Mobility project, based at Durham University, focused on the mobility constraints faced by children in accessing health, educational and other facilities in sub-Saharan Africa. There is a lack of direct information on how these constraints impact on children's current and future livelihood opportunities, and a lack of guidelines on how to tackle them. The aim of the research was to produce an evidence base strong enough to substantially improve policy in the three focus countries - Ghana, Malawi and South Africa - and to change thinking across Africa. The project successfully tested and implemented an innovative two-strand, child-centred methodology, involving both academic researchers and 70 young researchers. The research was conducted in eight sites per country: remote rural, rural with services, peri-urban and urban sites in two agro-ecological zones, meaning 24 sites in total. The survey questionnaire covered a wide range of issues, and was conducted with 2,967 children aged 7-18 years (principally 9-18 years), allowing comparisons across sites and countries. Qualitative data collected within the project covered the themes of education, health, activities and transport, based on focus groups and individual interviews with children, parents and other key informants. This enabled a more nuanced understanding than has hitherto been available of the way mobility and transport constraints interact with other factors to shape particular young lives in particular places. Users should note that only the survey data are held at the UK Data Archive. Findings from the research cover topics from pain and negative impacts on education associated with load carrying and other work, to the virtual mobility impacts of mobile phones and the complex interconnections between mobility, gender, work and education. The findings were sufficiently substantial to allow the development of clear guidelines for policy-makers and practitioners. Further information may be found on the Child Mobility project web site, the ESRC award web page and on the Department for International Development Child Mobility project web page.

Main Topics:

Parents/guardians gave responses to introductory questions regarding the socio-demographic background of the household (household composition and residence of children's biological parents, household facilities, ethnic group, religion, etc.). One child per household was then randomly selected to respond to the remainder of the questionnaire. Topics covered with child respondents include:schooling: school enrolment, attendance and progress; travel to school (mode of transport, time taken, difficulties encountered), and for children not attending school, barriers to school enrolment and attendance health: recent use of health services; travel to health services (mode of transport, time taken, difficulties encountered); barriers to use of health services children’s work and livelihood responsibilities: tasks undertaken by children (frequency, duration, distances travelled); load-carrying (frequency, weights, difficulties experienced)travel, transport and communication: use of different modes of transport (frequency, pros and cons of each); perceived risks associated with use of transport; bicycle riding (experience, bike ownership, obstacles to cycle use); road traffic accidents; ownership and use of phones; ownership of radio and television

Quasi-random (eg random walk) sample

See documentation for details.

Face-to-face interview


Metadata Access
Creator Porter, G., University of Durham, Department of Anthropology; Hampshire, K., University of Durham, Department of Anthropology
Publisher UK Data Service
Publication Year 2010
Funding Reference Department for International Development; Economic and Social Research Council
Rights Copyright G.Porter and K.Hampshire; <p>The Data Collection is available to UK Data Service registered users subject to the <a href="" target="_blank">End User Licence Agreement</a>.</p><p>Commercial use of the data requires approval from the data owner or their nominee. The UK Data Service will contact you.</p>
OpenAccess true
Language English
Resource Type Numeric
Discipline Social Sciences
Spatial Coverage Brong Ahafo Region (Ghana); Central Region (Ghana); Eastern Cape (South Africa); Gauteng Province (South Africa); North West Province (South Africa); Shire Highlands (Malawi); Central Region Plateau (Malawi); Ghana; Malawi; South Africa