"Streetism": A Socio-Cultural and Pastoral Theological Study of a Youth Problem in Ghana Open Access

Arthur, Isaac Ishmael (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/q524jp206?locale=en
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Abstract

This study investigates the phenomenon of "streetism"- the manner of life of homeless or unmonitored youth on the streets of Accra, Ghana, and other urban centers in a country where barrenness and childlessness are socially undesirable. The study utilizes a qualitative, ethnographic and critical theory-based approach to present a socio culturally nuanced addition to the literature on street children. The work engages in theological reflection on the basis of the experiences of poverty and marginalization of the youth on the streets and for their liberation. This thesis also utilizes an intercultural methodology to examine the causes of streetism and liberation praxis for its eradication.

The findings of the study include how poverty, dropping out of school, breakdown of the extended family systems, parental death, urbanization, adventure, and earning of personal income influence the migration of youth to the streets. The study also examines the effects of rape, and the resilient and hopeful attitudes of the homeless youth. The study proposes pastoral responses on three ecological levels. At the macro level, advocacy is proposed for addressing the problems embedded in social structures, and government policies and ideologies. At the meso level congregational and community response is offered to deal with issues emanating from local communities and institutions. Dealing with the psycho-social effects at the micro level, the study offers pastoral counseling for street youth and parents, and individual, group, and narrative counseling approaches for individuals and groups within the community.

Table of Contents

Introduction...1

Chapter 1: Statement of the Problem...4

The Concept of Childhood in Ghana...4

Statement of the Problem Explored...11

The Purpose and Overview of the Study...16

The Significance of the Study and the Author's Concern...18

Chapter 2: Previous Study and Literature Review...21

History of Migration in Ghana...21

Street Youth Defined...23

Poverty and Youth Homelessness...28

Global Numbers of Street Children/Youth...33

The Movement of Youth as an Internal Migration...36

Characteristics of the Youth Migrants...37

The Concept of Migration Decision-Making...39

The Push and Pull Factors which Influence the Youth Migration...40

The Push and Pull in the North-South Context of Youth Migration...42

The Experiences of the Youth Migrants in the Cities...43

Opportunities in the Cities...47

Coping and Survival Strategies...48

Returning Home and Re-integration...51

Streets Youth and the Family...53

The African Social Support System...54

Political and Economic Reasons for Streetism...56

Policy Recommendations...56

Sodom and Gomorrah, the Hub of Migrants in Accra...58

Limitations of the Literature...60

This Study's Contribution to the Literature...62

Chapter 3: Methodology...65

Intercultural Theological Methodology...65

Overview...71

Participants...72

Detailed Study Procedure...74

Ethnography/Critical Theory...76

Individual In-Depth Interviews...78

Content and Duration of Interviews...80

Data Collection...82

Data Handling/Storage Procedures and Transcription...85

Data Analysis...86

Human Subjects Protection/The Ethics of Research...87

Informed Consent...88

Confidentiality and Anonymity...90

Evaluation and Validation...91

Chapter 4: Findings...94

Demographic Characteristics of the Homeless Youth in Ghana...94

Causes of Youth Homelessness...97

Poverty...97

Earnings of Personal Income...98

Adventure...100

Parental Death...100

School Drop-Outs...101

Divorce and Single-Parenthood...102

Urbanization as a Trigger of Migration...103

Breakdown of the Extended Family System...104

Homeless Youth Reflect on their Experiences of Living on the Street...104

Homeless Girls' Encounter with Rape on the Streets of Accra...106

Where the Homeless Youth Work and Sleep on the Streets of Accra...108

Thematic Analysis...117

Family Dysfunction, Extended Family Breakdown and Youth Migration...118

Rape in the System...122

The Domestic Violence Victims Unit of the Ghana Police Service (DOVVSU)...126

The Domestic Violence Act of 2007...127

Resilience and Creativity...134

Spirituality, Hope for the Present and Future Focus...138

The Unexplainable Hope...138

Hope as a Response to Deprivation...140

Hope as sense of Loss...142

Hope as Future Projection...143

Chapter 5: Discussion of Findings...145

Macro Level Intervention...145

Issues Militating Against the Homeless Youth...145

The Socio-Economic Factors...146

Land Tenure System and Poverty...152

Ameliorating the Socio-Economic Woes...153

Breakdown of the Family and Unstable Homes...154

Educational Matters...158

On the Cultural Front...162

The Rights of the Homeless Youth in Ghana...166

Pastoral Response as Implications for Ministry...174

Meso Level Intervention...179

Theological and Congregational Response...179

Social Justice Work as Pastoral Response...183

Teaching Interventions within the Church Community...184

Early Childhood Development in the African Context...184

Acquiring Respect and Obedience...186

Micro Level Intervention...188

Counseling the Homeless Youth...188

Counseling the Homeless Youth through Psychotherapy...189

Empathy in Counseling...191

Counseling the Homeless Youth though Narrative Approach...194

Adopting the Collective Narrative Practice in Counseling...196

Individual Cognitive Therapy with the Homeless Youth...199

Group Counseling for the Homeless Youth...199

Reasons for Group Therapy Engagement...200

Universality, Related and Support System...201

Psycho-Education, Modeling, and Social Skills Practice...201

Various Groups...202

Antisocial/Delinquent Personality Disorder...202

Avoidant Personality Character Traits...204

Counseling the Depressive Homeless Youth...205

Therapeutic Encounter with the Abused Victims in the Church Community...208

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)...213

Pastoral Care for those affected by PTSD...214

Deconstructing Patriarchy in Counseling...217

Gender-Based Violence...219

Pastoral Response to Gender-Based Violence Survivors...221

Issues of Divorce and Step-Parenting...222

Cognitive Behavioral Family Therapy...225

Therapeutic Technique of Cognitive Behavioral Family Therapy...226

Mentoring the Homeless Youth...227

Drama by the Homeless Youth...229

Chapter 6: Summary and Conclusions...231

Policy Recommendations...235

Limitation and Recommendations for Further Research...237

Appendix A: Term...239

Appendix B: Assent Form...240

Appendix C: Interview Guide...241

Bibliography...242

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