Developing evaluative strategies for harm reduction programme for street children in Durban : a PAR approach.
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The research has been part of a larger study on developing evaluative strategies for programmes on street children in KwaZulu Natal. This study focussed on harm reduction programmes with reference to violence and crime. The phenomenon of street children has been seen to be caused by various interactive factors relating to the individual, the family, community and the society as a whole. The research was guided by a Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach utilizing multiple data sources and multiple focus groups with street children and service providers. Street children were given the space to talk about their experiences and to identify indicators of successful programmes. Shelter workers who are child care workers discussed programmes presented at the shelter and their impact on protecting and preventing children from exposure to violence and crime. They also discussed indicators of success in their programmes. Children indicated that successful programmes were characterised by consistency, fairness, non- discrimination, and that they take into account that street children are children too and that they can make mistakes. On the other hand child care workers described successful programmes as contributing to change in the life of a child, through social skills, attitude of the child and child's ability to be reunited with his family. Programmes, which serve to protect street children from violence and crime should be monitored and evaluated so as to assess their effectiveness. Based on the findings of this study recommendations are made regarding the evaluation of programmes for street children.