Over the last decade, migrant children from Uganda’s north-eastern region of Karamoja have become increasingly common in the streets of Kampala and other urban centres in Uganda. These children are highly visible, vulnerable and clearly living in extreme poverty. Public perception of these migrant children is informed by an understanding of the drivers of poverty in the districts of Napak and Moroto in Karamoja, where the majority of these children migrate from.
As a consequence, attitudes towards these children range from sympathy to hostility, and the solutions to their problems can be variously seen as political, economic or social. As part of a broader effort to understand the nature and causes of child migration from Napak and Moroto, IOM conducted extensive qualitative research in over 20 vulnerable communities in 2012 to identify the underlying reasons why children migrate, especially to urban centres; address why some children migrate without their parents; understand why most choose to move to urban areas; explore why many travel further than previous generations; and explain why the behaviour is most prominent among the Bokora community.