Children’s Work: Experiences of Street-vending Children and Young People in Enugu, Nigeria

Rosemary Okoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is a widespread consensus internationally, demonstrated in the UN Charter on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and subsequent policy documents, that children should be protected from work that is hazardous and harmful. This paper, based on doctoral research conducted with street-vending children and young people in Nigeria, argues that this approach fails to address the complex reality of children's lives in developing countries. Findings from interviews with itinerant child vendors and participant observation in markets in Enugu, Nigeria, demonstrate that vending is an essential part of children's everyday lives, organised alongside, not separate from, other areas of family life. The paper concludes that it is not helpful to impose developed-world ideas on children's lives in such a different context; the focus of attention should, it is proposed, be on finding out what children and young people think and how they might be better supported and protected within their working environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-73
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number1
Early online date19 May 2011
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Child Labour
  • street vending
  • children's rights
  • Nigeria


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