Urbanisation and mega cities: Heaven or hell?
Life in the city is no child’s play!
Urbanisation is inexorable: in Africa around 40 %, and in Asia 50 % of the population live in cities, the proportion rising to as much as 80 % in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is estimated that by 2050 around two-thirds of all people throughout the world will live in cities.
One reason for this rapid growth, especially in developing and emerging countries, is the hope for a better life in the city: a lack of future prospects in rural areas. On the one hand no gainful employment, no yields / poor harvests / no land ownership or land available to be leased etc. in the agricultural sector, lack of educational opportunities for children, or are unfortunate in quality or difficult to reach, long distances to travel to acquire drinking water, food or fuel etc.. On the other hand, the promise of jobs, infrastructure, better educational provision, ample diversity of food, quick money and medical care etc, induce people living in rural areas throughout the world to move to the cities. This is also why 60 % of all refugees worldwide now live in cities. Increasingly, however, the growth of the urban population itself is contributing to the rapid sprawl of cities.
But life in the city is no child's play: this enormous influx leads recurrently to many people arriving initially in the slum areas and remaining there indefinitely – frequently over the course of several generations. Many people feel isolated because they had to leave their family structures or supportive social networks.
And what about the kids?
Rapid and uncontrolled urbanisation has many negative consequences for children and young people, as numerous child rights, including the right to health, the right to education and the right to protection against violence are violated on a daily basis. Children's living environments often fail to provide safe areas where they can play and develop. For many children, violence is an everyday occurrence. Moreover, virtually no consideration is given to the needs and rights of children within urban planning processes.
Just click on the different teaser links below and read about how KNH and its local partners are persistently helping those children by installing local developing programms and doing international advocacy: