Addressing Socio-Cultural Animation as Community Based Social Work
Street Children in Maputo, Mozambique

Acta Universitatis Tamperensis, No. 1566


By Miguel L. Marrengula
December 2010
Tampere University Press
Distributed by Coronet Books
ISBN: 9789514482687
272 pages
$82.50 Paper Original

´Addressing Socio-Cultural Animation as Community Based Social Work with Street Children in Maputo, Mozambiqu´ is a study that focuses on the promotion of active participation of street children for social change within an emancipator practice throughout consciousness and self awareness, and the promotion of child rights within street children groups and communities.

This study was developed in Maputo city, the capital of Mozambique during a period of 6 months from June to December 2009, had a participation of 12 street children, 1 psychologist, 1 nurse, 1 street educator and 1 social worker (the author of the study). Qualitative methods where used during the study, where street children, with the help of these 4 professionals were motivated to participate actively on the identification of their problems and priorities to solve them as well as the alternative solutions they had in mind on how to resolve their problems.

This methodology, which is based on a hermeneutic-humanist perspective, is in this study considered Socio-Cultural Animation Praxeology, where the researcher combined direct observation, active participation to daily activities of street children and dialogical interaction with the main objective of integrating theory and practice by working with street children rather than working for street children. This approach, challenges social work to address social problems not from top/down, nor from bottom/up, but in an horizontal way, where social workers or technicians, work together with the communities or people, in a democratic relation with shared responsibilities.

The central argument in this study is that the use of the Socio-Cultural Animation approach with street children, its philosophy and ethical concerns, enables democratic participation, where street children develop awareness and consciousness in order to reveal their competence in directing observations about their social settings, and in promoting their active engagement with other team members in decision making for social change.

As results of the application of such emancipator approach, 6 street children were reintegrated within their family environment with success, 5 football teams were created on streets, a theatre group started its own performances and many other activities took place, personal commitment of street children, psychologist, social worker and the street educator.

The study brings insights into the possibility of applying SCA participatory action research as a practical approach of social work practice, where research and practice come together in a reflexive perspective. Through the active participation of street children, the study promoted emancipation, self-confidence, self-awareness and revealed the street children´s capabilities to take informed decisions that have produced changes in their lives, impacting on the social transformation of their community.


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