This report presents initial analysis of the first round of qualitative data collected between September and November 2007 as part of the Young Lives study in Ethiopia. Data collection was carried out in five of the twenty Young Lives study communities, with both cohorts of children – the younger cohort (then aged between 6 and 7 years) and the older cohort (ages 12 to 13) – as well as their caregivers, teachers, health workers, and community representatives.
The sub-sample included 60 children, 12 from each of the sites with equal numbers of boys and girls from each cohort. Key variables for sub-sampling included gender, cohort, ethnicity, religion, parental presence and school attendance. These criteria were used to select a core group of 12 ‘case study’ children in each of the communities, in addition to another eight children per community who could be ‘stand by’ cases and who were included in group-based research activities.
Three overriding questions guided the qualitative research which should be sensitive to both differences between children (for example, age, gender, socio-economic status, ethnic, linguistic, or religious identity), and inter-generational differences (for example, in the perspectives of children and their caregivers).
- What are the key transitions in children’s lives, how are they experienced (particularly in relation to activities, relationships, identities, and well-being) and what influences these experiences?
- How is children’s well-being understood and evaluated by children, caregivers and other stakeholders? What shapes these different understandings, and what causes them to change? What do children, caregivers and other stakeholders identify as sources of and threats to well-being, and what protective processes can enable children to minimise these threats?
- How do policies, programmes and services shape children’s transitions and well-being? What are the different stakeholder perspectives on these processes? What is the interplay between public, private and not-for-profit sectors and communities within these processes?
The qualitative research entailed a mix of methods to generate data on the themes of transitions, well-being and services including individual interviews with children, caregivers and teachers, and group interviews with children (both cohorts) as well as with adults in the community. Creative methods such as drawing and self-report diaries were used as a basis for discussions with children on key research themes. Semi-structured observations of homes, schools and community settings provided the context for analysing and understanding the data.