An investigation into the challenges for the enjoyment of basic human rights by children in child-headed households in Karongi District, Western Rwanda

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Kampala International University.College of Economics and Management
The study sought to investigate the challenges facing child-headed households (CHHs) in their attempt to enjoy their basic human rights. As such, the study treated variables that included the challenges, coping mechanisms, and community responses to the plight of child-headed households. The instruments used included structured and unstructured questionnaires, interviews, focus group discussions and observation. The target population included 15 local leaders, 10 NGO/CBO staff, 40 children (head of CHHs), and 25 community members. The major findings of the study revealed that child-headed households experience challenges in accessing adequate food, education and health services due to several factors largely attributed to poverty and lack of external support, lack of finances and neglect by the community, which have had negative implications. As a result, children have adapted to means for survival through working in exchange for resources like food and money to meet their survival needs. In most cases children's efforts to eke a living translates to child labor and abrogation of their human rights. The Government of Rwanda has put in place measures to curb some of these challenges by having waivers on fees under universal primary education programme and free health services. However, these measures have not cushioned the impact for the children and as such, they fail to enjoy their human rights. Also, no solid measures have been put in place to address the right to food. Though the community has an opportunity to play a big role in mitigating the problems, their response to the challenges of CHHs has not been sufficient and this is attributed to poverty, lack of involvement of children in matters concerning them and lack of mobilization and sensitization.
Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the Master of Arts degree in Human Rights and Development of Kampala International University
Investigation i, Enjoyment, Human rights, Children, Child-headed