A Safe House? Girls' Drawings on Safety and Security in Slums in and around Nairobi

in Girlhood Studies
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  • 3 McGill University
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According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (article 27) every child has the right to a standard of living adequate for the realization of her or his physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development. Adequate housing, food and clothing underpin the adequacy of a child’s standard of living. UNICEF estimated nearly ten years ago that one out of every three children, or 640 million children around the world, live in inadequate housing (Bellamy: 2005). Despite this commitment to child rights, little appears to be documented on the safety and security of children with regard to housing generally, and, more specifically, housing in slums or informal settlements: urban growth in the Global South is set to be virtually synonymous with the expansion of slums and informal settlements, and, seven years ago, there were 199 million slum dwellers in Africa alone (Tibajuka 2007). It is impossible, then, to address violence against children and the related issues of child protection, without taking into account the importance of adequate housing, and the significance of what goes on inside houses: the inclusion of the voices of children themselves, currently woefully unheard, is critical.