School holidays: examining childhood, gender norms, and kinship in children's shorter-term residential mobility in urban Zambia

This article discusses a practice of child residential mobility in Zambia that is frequently overlooked in migration studies and difficult to capture through standard survey methods: the practice of 'going on holiday' to the homes of relatives during breaks in the school term. Drawing on child-centered and quantitative research, this article examines the multiple dimensions of 'going on holiday' for children living in a low-income urban settlement in Lusaka. Findings suggest that the practice was gendered and may map onto changing norms in schooling in Zambia. Within a context where resources are severely constrained, going on holiday may serve as one means for cultivating reciprocity, sharing the burden of care and household labor, and strengthening kin ties. This work further demonstrates the importance of using locally meaningful terms and practices in survey research where general questions about children's mobility may fail to capture the nature and extent of children's movements.


Hunleth, J., Jacob, R., Cole, S., Bond, V., James, A. (2015)
Children's Geographies, 13(5): 501-517