This research examines the socio-economic conditions of street children in Shashemene Town of Oromia National Regional State. The purpose was to assess the socio-economic conditions of street children in Shashemene Town. In order to realize this aim, both qualitative and quantitative types of data were collected from primary and secondary sources. The quantitative data were collected from 234 street children through interview schedule; while qualitative data were gathered using key informants interview, focus group discussions and observation. Sample street children selected by using stratified sampling techniques. Then, the collected data from different sources were analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative methods of data analysis. All the data obtained from different sources were triangulated to arrive at sound conclusions regarding the socio-economic conditions of street children in Shashemene. The underlying and basic factors pushing the larger number of street children unto the streets lie in the increasing number of families surviving under extreme poverty and family breakdown. They engaged in unskilled jobs like vending, carrying goods, shoe shining and lottery selling. The street children who work and live on the streets of Shashemene were found to be vulnerable to wide and extreme violations of their rights. They were verbally, physically and sexually abused by different perpetrators. There is a need to consider variables such as factors accounting for streetism, the current socio-economic conditions of street children and difficulties children face in the streets to tackle severe socio-economic conditions of street children. Therefore, it is recommended that the national and regional policy makers must be sensitive to the issue of children in street situations and the economical and societal hazards to which they are exposed. Shashemene Town office of small and micro-enterprise and local NGOs should create job opportunities for street children and enhance children’s creativity by providing training and reunite street children with their families.
Keywords: Shashemene, Socio-economic conditions, Street children