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Friday, 16 January 2015

Street Kids, Vagabonds - Casualties Of An Economic Crisis

A STREET KID WHO GATE CRUSHED a recent wedding ceremony.
As you walk in Harare CBD some of its pavements smells human waste and in some cases you have to mind your step because you can step on it.I once helplessly witnessed this one day as pedestrians haste in the early morning rush hour could step or almost step on human waste deposited in their path. This behaviour which is a threat to public health in this era of cholera (and ebola)  is due to an increasing population of street kids, adults and vagabonds who have taken Harare's streets and service lanes as their new residents. This phenomenon is rapidly unfolding and its clearly an off shoot of the greater economic crisis that has haunted Zimbabwe for decades.These vagabonds and many other citizens who are affected in many ways are casualties of an economic crisis that is having a major impact on the well being of people.



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Research by the World Health Organization has shown that results of an economic crisis like job shortages and increased household debt can strengthen mental health risk factors like poverty, housing problems, family strain etc unless policymakers intervene through initiatives like active labour market and  family support programs. So some of the social consequences of an economic crisis are homelessness, neglect of children, increased alcoholism, suicide etc which mercilessly hits vulnerable groups that include children, young people, single-parent families, unemployed people, ethnic minorities, migrants and older people.

In the real estate sector the economic crisis is affecting the decisiveness of market players as they develop a wait and see attitude. The rapid loss of employment is leading some home seekers into having cold feet when it comes to purchases using mortgage.A number of prospective cash buyers  are also reluctant to part with larger sums of money at this point in time and preferring to give offers that are below the market value of property.

There is therefore, a need on the part of the policy makers to increase the intensity of their efforts in addressing the country's economic fundamentals in order to stimulate confidence. They should also make initiatives like active labour market programmes, and  family support programmes in order to mitigate the crisis' impact on the poor!

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