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Street hawking and socio-economic dynamics of nomadic girls of northern Nigeria


  • Lantana M. Usman


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to provide a qualitative explanation, understanding, and policy suggestions on the socio-economic causes, effects, and challenges facing nomadic rural girls' street hawking in cities of Northern Nigeria. The aim is to present the paper as a source of literature that will serve as a future document in formulating inclusive policies for the girls as explained in the section on educational policy options. Design/methodology/approach - Research orientation and design involved qualitative phenomenology that explored girls' street hawking experiences. Study sites included three major Nigerian cities and three villages of the girls. Purposeful sampling was used to select 20 girls between ages eight and 15 and female parents as primary participants, while two traditional and religious leaders from each of the villages, and one administrator of the local state nomadic education commission served as secondary participants. Snowball samples of three male parents of the girls in each village were used as part of data validity. Data collection technique involved unstructured focus group interviews, participant observations, and video recording of the girls at home, at markets, and at streets in the cities. Ethical issues were addressed by obtaining oral and written consent of participants orally and in writing using the native language for clarity and understanding of their role. Data analysis of interview involved transcription and the repeated reading of the transcripts that identified major themes. Observational data were converted to field notes and analyzed for patterns of ideas that support major themes of the analyzed interview data for validity. Triangulation process of checking validity was used with sample of snowball participants as state educational administrators of nomadic education, religious leaders, amongst others. Findings - Major findings are presented as themes on major economic causes of the girls' street hawking of dairy products as a part of family gender division of labor, poverty level of most families, preparing girls for self-reliance and economic independence, and to augment family income. Social causes include Islamic religious pressure of teaching youth self-reliance in preparation for early marriage, to finance wedding expenses, to acquire material possessions as child brides, for family honor, to accrue income to maintain their bodily aesthetic needs, group street hawking as a means to girls socialization, and exposing girls to suitors as future husbands, amongst others. Challenges facing the girls include lack of safety, exposure to forms of abuse, and being left behind in basic literacy, amongst others. Originality/value - This paper is of significant value due to its novelty. It will serve as primary literature on minority West African pastoral girls' impact on rural-urban migration, their challenges, and their position in the current world social policy of the Department for International Development and UNICEF Girls Education Project.

Suggested Citation

  • Lantana M. Usman, 2010. "Street hawking and socio-economic dynamics of nomadic girls of northern Nigeria," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(9), pages 717-734, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijsepp:v:37:y:2010:i:9:p:717-734

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anu Rammohan, 2000. "The Interaction of Child-labour and Schooling in Developing Countries: A Theoretical Perspective," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 25(2), pages 85-99, December.
    2. E. Paul Durrenberger, 2005. "Labour," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Economic Anthropology, chapter 8 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. Humphreys, Sara & Moses, Dauda & Kaibo, Jiddere & Dunne, Máiréad, 2015. "Counted in and being out: Fluctuations in primary school and classroom attendance in northern Nigeria," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 134-143.


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