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The application of empowerment theory to street children of the developing world : the case of Casa Alianza (Covenant House) in HondurasThe application of empowerment theory to street children of the developing world : the case of Casa Alianza (Covenant House) in Honduras Nelson, Russell Lee

Abstract

This study examines the urban street child phenomenon in the developing world. It establishes that in most developing countries Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) have assumed the role of the state and have taken action to combat the street child "problem. They have fashioned public policy and instituted programs to address this social phenomenon. The study argues that existing development approaches and policy intervention strategies applied by NGOs are wholly inadequate to address the complex causes of children leaving home to take up residence in the urban streets. It posits that the empowerment model of alternative development, as articulated by planning and development theorists, is far more likely to: (1) prevent the migration of children to the streets; (2) improve the wellbeing of children currently living on the streets.; and (3) redress to some extent imbalances in social, economic and political power that lead children to the streets. Subsequently, a case study is undertaken of one NGO for street children, Casa Alianza, Honduras. The model of empowerment is applied to Casa Alianza, Honduras to evaluate the efficacy of the organization and to offer recommendations on adjusting their policies and programs to empower to a greater degree their target population.

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