Children's Perspectives

Towards a Better Future?

Young Lives considers children as active participants in our research.  Here we share some of the children’s own perspectives on the world and their reflections and responses to our research – in their own words. This is an essential part of the Young Lives approach – to ensure children’s voices are heard and their participation is a core value of the study.

These testimonies come from our publication Towards a Better Future? Hopes and Fears from Young Lives based on a selection of our qualitative longitudinal research. This is the third book following the same 24 children and young people from our four study countries. When the study began, the children in the 'Older Cohort' were eight and those in the 'Younger Cohort' were infants. By the time of the interviews for this publication, the youngest children were 13 and the oldest were 20.  

Seble: Early marriage and FGM

Last time the Young Lives interviewer came she asked Seble: “What will we find when we come in three years’ time?” She answered: “You will find me with a baby.” Her prediction has come true. She now has a 2-year-old daughter, whom she clearly adores. “I spend most of my time with her. I prepare her food. I give her a bath every day. I am happy because I have a child.”...

Tufa: ‘Shocks’ and children’s agency

Now that Tufa is now 20, the Young Lives researcher feels he has grown up a lot:
“There is a big change in his personality and maturity. The way he has his hair cut and the neatness of his clothes are clear indications that he has grown up. In the past, he came dressed in dirty and shabby clothes and barefoot. This time, he was wearing jeans and a beautiful shirt.”...

Louam: Aspirations

At 13, Louam is a bright and lively child. She thinks her family’s situation has improved since the last time Young Lives researchers visited, three years ago. They have had good harvests for the past two years and electricity has now come to the village, though they still don’t have a proper road. She says that when her house first got electricity she got an electric shock...

Teje: Progress in education

Teje is a lively and mature 13-year-old. Her mother is proud of her: “She talks and behaves like a grown-up. She is different from her friends although she is younger than them. She is good at school. She studies and does her homework. I am very pleased with her.”...

Afework: Orphanhood

Afework is 19 and is still living with his cousin Addisu and his older brother, Bekele, who has left school and runs a small business renting videos. His older sister has returned from working in the Middle East. Afework is happy about this and says the family’s material situation has improved...

Hadush: What about the boys?

Hadush is the only one still living at home with his father and stepmother. He thinks he is about 20 years old. Hadush’s father says that his son has grown up a lot in the last three years...