A 1995 study in Zimbabwe of Harare's urban population revealed that 10% of the city's population were living in informal settlements. Labelled as temporary by the government, these settlements lack investment in social services, housing, health care, education provision, waste disposal and water and sanitation facilities. Concern over the children in the communities of these settlements prompted Save the Children UK and a local partner organization, Inter Country People's Aid, to carry out a situation analysis in two settlements. The results of this analysis led onto a new research project involving participation where the researchers were the children themselves. The article outlines some of the findings as well as problems encountered by the project, such as parents and confidentiality. It includes illustrations by children and has a detailed conclusion which includes issues such as how to involve children in genuine and meaningful debate, overcoming reluctance by younger children to participate in mixed age group sessions and the need for methodologies to be stimulating and interactive.
International Institute for Environment and Development