Street Workers are essential to a rights-based response to street-connected children. They work tirelessly to ensure street-connected children are valued, supported and can access vital services.
StreetInvest is dedicated to enabling Street Workers to be the best they can be – through training, skill development and organisational capacity building – to ensure that those who are the most trusted by street-connected children and young people are properly supported. Too often Street Work is poorly invested in and limits the effectiveness of support provided to children.
Street Work takes place physically on the streets, where the child is. Trained adults build a relationship of trust with street-connected children that enables a purposeful and empowering relationship to develop where children come to trust Street Workers and know that they can depend on them. This is of huge value to children who are so frequently subject to violence, harassment and discrimination from the adults around them.
Street Workers establish relationships with street-connected children by beginning to understand their values, attitudes, issues, and their ambitions. Once trust is established, Street Workers support street-connected children in their personal growth and development. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s General Comment No. 21 (2017) on children in street situations recognises the importance of Street Work and recommends governments develop specialised solutions for street-connected children that includes recognising the skill of frontline Street Workers to be able to deliver these specialised solutions for street children.
During the height of Covid lockdowns in 2020, it was Street Workers who made sure children had food and access to water and sanitation. Our partners became the trusted partner of governments as they realised they needed access to current data and in-depth knowledge of the streets from someone who is trusted by street populations.
StreetInvest is committed to enabling Street Workers to be effective practitioners – it is our bread and butter. Our ‘Introduction to Street Work’ course equips Street Workers with the necessary skills and knowledge to conduct Street Work, and emphasises the importance of an individual’s attitudes as core to Street Work. Our partners in India, Ghana and Kenya have successfully delivered this training to their teams, other NGOs and government agencies. Following this training in Kenya in 2021, attendees reported significant changes in attitudes and values towards street-connected children: 96% of participants reported the training changed how they perceived and described the street-connected children they support: “Now I see them as people with potential” and “I see them as brave children who have the ability to change”. 92% of participants also reported that the training enabled them to understand their role better: “I have realised that in every street child it is a different story, different needs and solutions, and all the street children have abilities and are able to highly contribute towards problem-solving”
Training such as this is a key part of the professionalisation of Street Work. Street Workers consistently inform us that training is an asset, empowering them with effective techniques and approaches to doing Street Work. It not only equips Street Workers with the skills they need to support children and young people but also builds and grows a team of professionals that together can widen their reach of support to street-connected children across their country and region.
Together with Street Workers, we continue to advocate for more support, training and resources to strengthen the profession and invest in providing that ourselves.
Click here to find out more about Street Work.