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Research Article - (2021) Volume 29, Issue 5

Major Factors of Elders Begging in Bahir Dar City Administration Ethiopia

Mequanint Getahun Kassa

Department of Social Psychology, Principal of Katholic Primary School, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Koye Kassa Getahun

Department of Psychology, College of Education and behavioral Sciences, Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Corresponding Author:
Koye Kassa Getahun
Assistant Professor of social Psychology
Department of Psychology
College of Education and behavioral Sciences
Bahir Dar University
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: February 27, 2021; Accepted Date: April 15, 2021; Published Date: April 22, 2021

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This study was conducted to explore major factors of elders who engaged in begging life. The study applied a qualitative research method. The participants were 11 elder beggars selected using accidental sampling technique and head of Bahir Dar City Administration Labour and Social affairs Department using purposive sampling technique. The main data gathering instruments used for this study were interview, observation and document review. In-depth interviews were used to collect data from participants. The study revealed that the major factors of elders to engage in begging were death of support providers, disengagement from work places, economic, family, environmental, and physical and health problems. Finally, the study recommended that the local government must include the help of NGOs, Social psychologists and also the civic bodies, so that the growth of beggary can be eliminated.


Elders, Begging, Factors


Begging is one of the social problems in a certain country or across the world that involves various activities through which an individual requests fellow community members or strangers for money, food or other resources on the basis of being poor or needing charitable donation for basic survival, health or religious reason. Even though it is difficult to get clear and sufficient evidence about where and when begging started, from different traditional and oral hearsays it is estimated as it has been started with the emergence of a competitive life.

It is believed that begging has a long history in Ethiopia, but there is no written document that indicates the exact time and place of its beginning in the country. However, oral reports indicate that begging has existed for centuries especially around religious temples or synagogue and rural areas (Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Begging didn't exist in primitive societies, which were characterized by living and dealing together and supporting one another. On the other hand, resources became scarce while the number of populations increased after a time. Therefore, human beings started competing over the limited resources to satisfy and maximize their endless needs and wants. It is through this process that the “haves” and “havenots” emerged. Then, the “have- nots” weren't ready to survive and had difficulties to suit the condition in order that they started begging as a way of fulfilling their needs [1].

Having no alternative means of survival, many of these people resort to begging on the streets in front of churches, at traffic lights, around commercial areas and rely on the traditional generosity rooted in the Ethiopian culture. Being a developing country, Ethiopia has suffered from recurring droughts, floods and extreme poverty; population growth that surpassed from 53.1 million in 1994 to 73.9 million in 2007 [2]. High and continuing growth of orphans and only 13.89% (500, 000 out of three .6 million) of elderly having regular public sector pension [2]. Partly because of this, begging has become a ubiquitous feature of the Ethiopian society in general [3] for instance, estimates the number of beggars in Ethiopia to range from 180,000 - 200,000 indicating Amhara National Regional State (ANRS) to accommodate the most important regional share (44, 843) though it is suggested to be 11,900 (ANRS Bureau of Labor and Social Affairs [4]. ANRS has also declining agricultural productivity and has been affected for a long period by natural and man- made disasters which create fertile grounds for mass rural urban migration [5] that potentially contributed for growing number of beggars.

Begging is the one the most serious and visible pressing social problems in Ethiopia [6]. As such, begging is an almost unnoticed social event and problem, and has become the means of livelihood for quite a large number of persons. It is a standard and day-today experience for us to watch beggars of various sorts roaming round the streets, squatting the main church environs, markets, swarming here and there [7]. Wubshet noted that begging as one of the most eye-catching social chaos in cities and towns of Ethiopia is the result of urbanization born poverty and social changes. It is common to see individuals roaming around and practicing begging in crowds and public places. Significant numbers of individuals are earning their source of income from begging. Despite the severity of the problem, begging did not get due attention.

In Ethiopia, there are a number of researchers conducted studies on different aspects of begging. The study on elderly beggars in Addis Ababa [6] discussed the circumstances of older persons who engage in begging [8] studied about the experiences of beggars who were practicing begging and the problem of begging only from mother beggar’s point of view at the age range of 23 to 35, who carried babies while they beg in Addis Ababa city by using semi structured interview and observation method of data collection. In addition, Kerebih explored the demographic and socio-economic determinants of women beggars in Bahir Dar town. The study assessed about the duration of begging practice and reasons for begging among women beggars in Bahir Dar town by using a case-control design. [9] conducted on the life experience style of street beggars by considering it as a means of livelihood for elders, children and youngsters who are found actively engaged in Shashemene town. Demoz conducted research on Begging as a Survival Strategy at the Orthodox Religious Ceremonial Days in Addis Ababa and the author tried to explore the major causes to begging as a means of livelihood. But, nowadays the number of elder beggars is increasing in Bahir Dar town in particular has an impact on the socioeconomic development of the country.

Addis Ababa City Government Office of Labor and Social Affairs conducted research on the causes and effects of begging in Addis Ababa. The study considers the participants including all age groups beggars. From 10,253 beggars were found and among this 2,351(22.9 %) were elder beggars found in Addis Ababa city. The only studies conducted in Bahir Dar city were by Dube [10]. While the most recent, these studies, too, failed to comprehensively address beggars’ situations and trends in light of tourism development, the situations of diverse groups of beggars and the beauty and safety of the city; hence, unable to comprehensively capture current realities and future developmental impacts of begging in the city. But, all of these researches did not try to identify the basic push factors and challenges of beggars especially elders.

The number of elder beggars is increasing at different times due to different factors. (City BoLSA) A recent report by the Bahir Dar Labor and Social Affairs office revealed that there are 315 beggars in this city. Among these beggars more than 212 of them were 60 and above years old. Begging is becoming a serious social issue which is rising from time to time. Elderly people use it as a means of livelihood in the town. Despite the increasing complexity in the depth and magnitude of this problem little attention is given by the concerned bodies in the study area

Looking into recent studies, discussed above, the researcher showed that little attention was given to factors that pushed elders to engage in begging as a means of livelihood and their challenges. The problem prompts me to conduct research on the problem. Understanding the realities of everyday life of beggars could cover a way to examine forcing factors. Thus, many unanswered questions about elderly beggars produced my mind and was engaged in answering questions such as what are their challenges and how are the elders coping their challenges. Accordingly, the objectives of this research was to investigate the major factors that push/pull elders for begging.


Research design

The research design that was followed in this research is a qualitative approach that aimed at examining the major push factors of elders in begging as means of livelihood and their challenges in Bahir Dar Town. The reason for using this design is that this approach helps the researcher to obtain full pictures and facts about the nature and problems associated with begging. This approach helps the researcher to build a complex holistic picture, analyze words and reports, detailed views of informants, and conducts the study in the natural settings of the participants.

Qualitative approach provides them with the opportunity to express their beliefs, feelings and practices; the researcher believed that a qualitative research approach with a phenomenological 23 design is preferable to identify the major push factors, challenge and coping mechanisms of elder beggars. This is very helpful taking into account the assumption that situations, experiences and practices are results of qualitative manipulation.

Although there are different strategies of inquiry while conducting qualitative research, phenomenological inquiry was found to be the most suitable and appropriate with this research problem. Because this is an inquiry strategy, which enables the researcher to identify the essence, major push factors of elders in begging as means of livelihood and their challenges of begging that participants have experienced due to their involvements in begging activities as described by them in their real settings. Therefore, this approach attempts to get an in-depth opinion from few participants who take part in the research processes but the contact and interaction with those people tends to last a lot longer.

Participants of the study

The target populations of this research were elder beggars found in Bahir Dar town. The research focuses on public places like bus stations, streets or roads (intersecting) and religious places to locate the beggars since these areas attract a larger number of beggars than any other places. The criteria to select participants for interview are age (60 years and above); those who are beggars, in Bahir Dar town and who have willingness and ability to provide relevant information.

Accidental sampling technique was employed; this kind of sampling is helpful to find out what the researcher needs to know. The population of the study is moveable and not registered and the activity by itself does not demand any license, it is difficult to use probability sampling techniques to capture a sample from this obscured population. So, the participants taken for this study were selected through non probability sampling techniques. According to Creswell accidental sampling is a type of nonprobability sampling in which the population select is easily accessible to the researcher; available participants are simply entered into the study without any attempt at randomization. Although the ideal sample size for phenomenology study is 5-25 participants, the sample size for the participants of this study were11 determined based on data saturation.

Instruments of data collection

The data collection was started next to immediate approval of the proposal from the authorized body. The researchers develops an interview guides to gather all the necessary information from the respondents pertinent to the objective of the research. To get the intended and relevant data, the data collection tool was translated into the respondents’ language (Amharic). Thus, indepth interview, and was serving as primary data collection tool. In-depth interview is important for a detailed collection of information about a phenomenon under study in order to provide a comfortable situation between the researcher and the study participant because information is gathered through conversation Neale and Boyce depth interviews will be taken with ten elder beggars to generate data deeply for the push factors that force elders for begging as a means of livelihood, their challenges and coping mechanisms. Yin indicated that case study interviews are of an open-ended nature, in which you can ask key respondents about the facts of a matter as well as their opinions about events. Thus, this study uses an openended interview guide in the process of data collection. These types of interview questions help to explore personal issues and probe questions to the informants out of the response that the interviewees provide as it allows the researcher to be flexible to some extent. We prepared the interview guides were the researcher based on the research questions and the specific objective.

Instrument Validation

We translated interview guides into the participants’ mother tongue language (Amharic) with help of language professionals in the department of literature. We checked the face validity of the prepared semi structured interviewee guides through the comments of colleagues and senior psychology staff in the department of psychology of Bahir Dar University. Moreover, we interviewed three sample individuals using the questionnaire. Accordingly, we made some minor modifications on the terminologies of the guides based on the sample interviews made.

Techniques of data analysis

Data analysis in qualitative research approach falls into data collection, organizing data in some meaningful form, understanding and analyzing data and interpreting and presenting. Then after, the researcher followed 5 approaches while conducting data analysis for this study. Firstly, transcribe the interview, optically scanning 25 materials, typing up field notes or sorting and arranging the info into different forms supported the source of knowledge.

The interview data were recorded through a tape machine and transcribed by listening repeatedly. Each transcript has been given a correct identification label date, the name of interviewee and place interview. Then a transcript which is first typed up in Amharic language and directly translated into English without losing its originality. After that the researcher repeatedly reads transcripts until understanding about factors of elderly beggars and problems they face.

After understanding all data by reading repeatedly, the researcher was preceded to coding. After coding data, the researcher arranged similar codes like words, quotes and sentences in separate sheets by shading different colors. This helped the researchers develop thematic areas of the study, and develop the whole data rearranging.

Ethical considerations

Ethical concerns are the consideration in the process of conducting the study. A support letter explaining the objective of the research was submitted to the Labor and Social Affairs Office of Bahir Dar Town. The researchers explained to the participants the purpose of the study, the duration of contact they will have with the researcher, and the possible significance of the study. Participants expressed their consent to be part of the study. The research subjects were free to discontinue their participation at any time they wish to do so and to ask the researcher any questions on the issues they are not clear for them. We also informed them that the information they give would be kept confidential and will be used only for the study purpose. The researchers did the interviews after they get the oral consent of the study participants.


The researchers identified different factors that make the respondents to be impoverished and made their livelihood through begging on the streets of Bahir Dar. According to the interview conducted with the Head of Bahir Dar City Labour and Social Affairs Department, the major pushing factors those make elders migrate from their locality to Bahir Dar to relegate begging activity is not only attributed to one single factor rather it is the holistic results of a complex and multiple interrelated factors. Moreover, the head reflected that elders begging are attributed to two major categories of factors; pushing and pulling.

The first factors push many people to migrate from their home place and join begging are poverty, health problems, family conflict, unemployment, death of partners, landlessness/shortage of farming land or snatching of land and assets, and lack of good governance. The second factors that pull or attract many people to migrate from their home region to Bahir Dar and perform begging on the street are “expectations of improved standard of living or perceived better life on the street and perceived freedom from local community while asking alms from the passerby”. Currently, in Bahir Dar City people engaged in begging on the streets are not only due to the above-mentioned contributing factors. But many normal, healthy and able body individuals are also engaged in begging for the sake of getting money without any kind of effort and bad attitude towards work. (Head of Bahir Dar City Labour and Social Affairs Department).

Based on the data that the researchers gathered from the key informants, it was possible and more meaningful to regroup and classify the major push factors of begging in the study area into different but interdependent variables. These are economic, social, and health related problems of begging.

Economic cause of begging

Economic factors have been mentioned most frequently as the major reason for the majority of elder beggars to be engaged in begging life. The situation of elder beggars has its roots in the economic and social situation of the family. According to the data obtained from the majority of the respondents, the scarcities of financial and / or material resources have stimulated them to drift into the new life of begging here in Bahir Dar in different corners of the city. In this empirical research conducted with the respondents, there are different types of economic reasons that triggered many of the respondents to be tempted to work on the street lives of begging. These forms of economic factors that are highly responsible for the respondents to ask alms from the public in the study area are poverty, and shortage of farming land / landlessness. Each of these economic factors of begging will be analyzed comprehensively in the following sections.

A. Poverty

Poverty is the root cause of elders on the begging phenomena. That is why the negative consequences of the social and economic development push the social system to inequality. Economic crises make the failure of social institutions. On the one hand, the economy plays a vital role in human progress and social development. On the other hand, poverty is a factor which will push then humans to beg. Every individual to family member needs enough economic 29 resources to survive or to make their lives comfortable, i.e. food, clothes, shelter, healthcare, education, child care and child welfare. Those families, who are living under the poverty line, cannot give proper care to their families.

Among the factors that push to beg, poverty is probably the foremost reason why elders move to the begging life. Many of the impoverished families cannot afford their basic needs. When the researcher conducted interviews with selected research respondents, they stated different contributing factors that push them to engage in begging on the streets of Bahir Dar. Accordingly, one of the respondents stated his reason how he was instigated begging on the street and he has discussed and said that it is difficult to run the life without getting the basic needs such as food, close, shelter and emotional needs. This indicates that poverty is the main pushing factor and why he was instigated begging. For example, EBI-5, & 10 said, poverty pushed them to leave their home and engaged in begging. EBI-5 explained his reasons in the following way:

I was born in Amed Ber (Amed Ber is a small town found around 70 Kms to East of Bahir Dar) and I have three sons and four daughters; and I don’t have farm land and any other income for my family. Because of this, first, I went to Gondar looking for a job to support my family because I am poor and I could not afford food, clothes and school materials for us. Contrary to my expectation, I could not find a job easily and I was forced to beg on the street of Gondar. But after some day’s life became horrible to me because I was unable to get money, even food. At that moment I heard information that Bahir Dar had better places to live in, and could offer good job opportunities. Then I decided to leave Gondar, and joined a begging life here in Bahir Dar. (EBI-5).

Besides, another respondent explained that with inadequate income, they suffered from inflation and high cost of living. Furthermore, they also revealed that economic problems loosened the social bond among their family members, relatives’, friends’, neighbors and the community at large, which in turn led to lack of mutual concern. So the decline of the tradition in providing support to older people as a result of worsening economic conditions. Respondents, 30 who came from rural areas, also explained that the problem of poverty and famine are the reasons to start the activity of begging in the study area. They started begging to sustain their life. Concerning this one participant explain that,

At this time, it is difficult to help one another because of inflation and the increasing prices of foods, goods and services. A few years ago, the price of goods was better. At that time my relatives and children were supporting me financially and in food. I also had good relationships with my relatives and they gave me what I needed. But starting from the last five years no one can help me because of economic difficulty. Then I pushed to engage in begging because I can’t fulfill my needs. (EBI-7)

EBI-9 also explained her experience here under:

I am very poor. I do not have anything to eat and to buy clothes. Due to this I am forced to be a beggar. I use the money for my daily consumption, and I never save the money for next time. In begging, one day I get money and I might not get in the next day.

The above participant narrated that she had not always got money. She explained as she had got money one day and she might not have not the next day.

B. Scarcity of framing land

Land is one of the basic resources required for agricultural production and it is essential for the existence of human nature. In the past, the world had an abundant source of land for agricultural purposes. However, gradually through time, when the population growth was rapidly boomed, and all or most of all members of the woreda population engaged in the agricultural economy, the farmland was continuously fragmented into small size plots. One of the respondents explained that shortage of land pushes him from his home region as a contributing factor for his engaged begging. His explanations have indicated below:

I am 65 years old and come from Korei kebele which is found in Gongi Kolela woreda and I was married and have 4 children. My two children had been working as daily labourers in different places. This is due to the scarcity of farmlands especially for youths and we are the best examples of people who are vulnerable to various problems because of shortage of land in our woreda. I have only half hector farm land served for 6 members of my family without any other income. So, I shifted my attitude to beg on the street because I need money for my family needs. (EBI-6)

According to the respondent, lack of enough farming land leads his life in relegated begging on the street and exposing his children for daily laborer.Likewise, another participant also supports the above argument and extends pushing factors from shortage of farmland or no farm land and he stated that how landlessness and other related factors instigated him into begging on the street;

I came from Woreta (a district town found 55 Kms away from Bahirdar in the North west). I was a farmer with a small farmland and had no other sources of income. My wife also had no source of income. Our family members were severely suffering from hunger, sickness and other poverty related problems because we couldn’t afford our basic needs including our seven children's needs. In short, we were leading a miserable life situation because of poverty. Therefore, I have migrated to Bahir Dar town and engaged in begging activity. (EBI-3)

Generally, in Amhara Regional State at each woreda level distribution of farming land for households was conducted before 25 years.As a result, the younger generation or individuals who were under 18 and born after at the time of land distribution, by default existed without having farmland and they have been living with their family who has small pieces of land. In addition, it is known that the rate of population growth increased from time to time and whereas the farming land is stagnant. Therefore, the ratio of farming land with the existing population number could become inconsistent or not proportional. So, beggars in the study area found it difficult to anticipate their life in their home region with farming activity. Thus, currently we see many people moving from rural areas to Bahir Dar to search and satisfy their immediate needs and they have been engaged in begging activity.

C. Death and absence of support providers

Some elder beggars interviewed explained that the deaths of their children, the husband/wife, their breadwinner and absence of support providers of desperate elders are some push factors to join bagging life. For instance, As EBI-1 an elderly father explained:

I spent most of my life as a soldier, after my children and my wife died. I started living with the remaining daughter without any support. My daughter is blind and she suffered from hearing impairment, and her health condition was poor. I was always waiting for her, no one helped me. I did not have any relatives or supporters. Currently, I also lost my sight, and then we engaged in begging to earn money in order to fulfill our basic needs.

According to him, the loss for his children's care and support were the push factors to engage in begging. Similarly, the other participant explained that:

I was a farmer, born about seventy-five years ago in Ebinat Wereda. My wife passed away and she gave birth to only one child. I have a small plot of land. It was given too small and the productivity very low, I found life there quite miserable. My child was a merchant and he lives in Bahir Dar Town, but when I became old and weak, I couldn't cultivate that small land by myself. Then I went to Bahir Dar. He rented me a house and took me to a place where I could find cheap accommodation. He was also assisting me financially apart from paying for the house rent. Suddenly, because of conflict I lost my only supporter son, I was homeless, helpless and an elder. Consequently, I pushed to engaged begging. (EBI-2)

Among so many pushed factors Death and loss of support to relegated begging for EBI-8 and her case was indicated as followed;

I am 61 years old and disabled woman. I used to live with my parents without marriage for several years. In such a circumstance, my parents were sick and became bedridden. Even if I have a small amount of land but I sold half of it. Lastly, my parents had died; I didn’t have a husband and other relatives who fed me and I didn’t have any opportunity to lead a decent life. As a result of this and other pushing factors I was joined in the begging activity. (EBI-8).

i. Social/ family related problems

Family is susceptible to various problems which could have adverse effects on the development of society. Family disintegration may be caused by desertion of the husband or wife due to economic reasons, financial mishandling and overspending, disagreement in family management, and separation of the family due to natural and man-made calamities. The disintegration of families is one of the major causes for begging because such an incidence leads to lack of proper care and attention, love and affection, and lack of basic necessities. Although family disintegration affects the whole family, the most vulnerable groups are particularly older ages who need care and attention, love and follow-up. But it is true that every disintegration family does not push elders to engage in begging, because it is when particularly disintegration is related with other factors like economic problems that aggravate the problem of begging.

Most of the interview participants explained that family problems or the unfavorable social conditions such as family conflict, family disorganization, divorce, are some of the social problem that push and drive elders to lead their lives through begging. EBI-9 explained that:

After an illegal document, unconsciously, I signed it, which deprived my ownership rights over my private house. After that they alerted me to live with them saying nothing. But, they suppressed, neglected and abused me even though they deprived me of my basic needs like food; they were not concerned about me. So, they neglected, abused, and suppressed me. Finally, I am exposed for begging.

Another respondent EBI-7 explains his reasons in the following way:

I am 63 years old. I am married and have 4 children; from these two of them are married and live at their house. The remaining two children are students and they live with me. I have half hectare farm land and was cultivated by my husband. After my husband passed away, I was unable to fulfill basic needs for my children such as food, educational fee and scholastic materials. My husband was the backbone for our family. (EBI-7).

Another respondent (EBI-11), Strengthen the above ideas in the following way:

I have a boy and a daughter. They live at home with me. My husband was a daily labourer and he always drinks alcohol. He came home at mid-night and he often beat us. He always solves any problem that happens at home violently, even with my children. I left home and came to the street because of this repeated conflict and violence at home. I made a decision to begin begging after being severely beaten by my husband. I am here on the street of the Papyrus area and I do not want to return home again. I am happy here because I can easily get food (EBI- 11).

This finding indicates that, violence at home is the reason for the initiation of elders to engage in begging. All cases illustrated above witness that family disorganization pushes many people to be engaged in begging. Specifically, death, divorce, conflict or husbands aggravated the problems while they are sole responsible individuals within the family in rural communities.

ii. Health and physical problems

The health problems such as sickness, disease, disability, impairment etc. are considered as fundamental reasons for begging. Some diseases are curable and preventable at the beginning, but in the long run, they may become chronic and incurable and may need to be treated continuously for years or entirely across the life span. Diseases such as syphilis, T.B, some skin diseases, leprosy, and mental disorders push most people to begging activities.

People who are affected by disease, natural and man-made disasters are unable to work for themselves and hence there is a great tendency to enter into begging to fulfill their basic needs. Some respondents said that their begging activity is related to their health problem. The following life history describes this. During the interview EBI-2 explained:

Previously, I was a farmer; my income was sufficient to afford my needs. After a few years I had experienced complications of disease including heart disease, diabetes, visual problems and as my aging caused a progressive decrease in physical function because of a continued decline in muscle mass and strength and an increase in joint dysfunction and pain, I became weak and unhealthy then completely stopped farming. These events were a serious challenge in my livelihood and pushed me to engage in begging.

Similarly, another respondent EBI-1 explains his reasons that health problems such as physical disability, visual/hearing impairments, handicaps, weaknesses can limit the potential and interest to work and push them to involve in different activities. Therefore, in order to sustain and get their daily bread and other necessities these people have such a problem forced to engage in begging.

I am about 65. I served my country as a soldier for about fourteen years in different places until the fall of the Derg regime in 1991. Soon after the overthrow of the Derg regime we were scattered, I traveled a long distance and directly came to Bahir Dar with a view to get gainful employment. At the beginning, there were very few jobs I could do. The only jobs I found were those involving guards in one hotel. Thus, in the first few years after my arrival, I worked as a guard in different hotels. As time goes by, however, my health condition becomes deteriorated, victims of walking difficulty and joint problems. So, I become unable to work as a guard. I am homeless and sleep on the street, poorly dressed that’s why I resorted to begging as forced by my poor health condition.

The interview data revealed that the prevalence of begging in Bahir Dar is increasing from time to time due to different health related problems observed in the town. In the Amhara region, including all woredas, there were no adequate health services, which provide care and support to people as it is expected. Furthermore, a sense of dependence because of the charities given to people who are disable, old, children, handicapped, impaired, and patients suffering from different diseases such HIV/AIDS by the nongovernmental organizations found in Bahir Dar. This has a major impact towards the increment in the prevalence of beggars in the study area.


The reasons that force people to resort to begging are multifaceted and vary in accordance with the type of beggar and his/her past and present socio- economic, health and other factors and events. Hence, Participants revealed factors that pushed elders into begging in the study area. That includes economic, family, Social, environmental, physical and health problems, death and absence of support providers and disengagement from work. According to Wubishet there is no one sole factor for individuals instigated: begging on the street rather multiplies intertwined causes that pushes and pulls the individual that leads his or her life as a beggar on the street. Accordingly, pushing factors are economic, social, political and health related and pulling factors begging as lucrative business by itself and attitude of the host community in giving alms for beggars [7].

Economic problems have been found to be one of the major push factors that relegated many respondents from their home region to Bahir Dar and lead their life through asking alms from the public. As to Tatek [11], begging is the most striking social problem, today affecting the large portion of the world’s population and is mainly resulted from poverty. Like the study by [7], showed that poverty is the major pushing factor behind every beggar, the researcher also consistently found that because of poverty many elders engaged in begging activity. When they were unable to fulfill their basic needs consequently, they moved so as to search life through begging. because; begging is considered as a viable option for children or the elderly unless they are without other means of support and seen as the last resort for people who have found themselves in a downward spiral of poverty (ILO). In addition [12,13] have also attributed the main causes of begging to low income, credit overdue, unemployment and lack of money to pay for different services. Accordingly, the researcher has also found similar findings with these major push factors of begging.

Among pushing factors, economic factor is the major one that pushes many respondents of the study from their home region to Addis Ababa to relegate begging and who leads this terrifying life on the street in asking alms from almsgivers. According to Woubishet [13], beggary as a way of livelihood may involve large segment of the society due to economic factors such as low income, high unemployment rates, existence life gaps due to scarce resource and cost of living increase, and fast population growth rate, recurrent famine and drought, lack of money to pay for medical care, etc… Therefore, the fittest will survive or compete with the situation; conversely, the naïve will struggle with the situation and take up begging as an alternative means of survival. Similarly the study also revealed that poverty, and shortage of land or landlessness are economic related contributing factors for many beggars of the study pushes to instigated begging on the street.

In addition to economic factors, the research findings revealed that social factors also played an excellent role for beggars who migrated from their home region into Bahir Dar and engaged in begging activity on the streets of the study area. Among the social variables which contributes to begging is family disorganization. Family is an integral part of our social relationship, which influences our patterns of behavior and activities. Any disturbance in our home condition especially within the case of poor ones results in disbands of family, which reciprocally gives rise to beggary. Accordingly, the respondents of the study mentioned that violence, and death of the husband are major push factors for them to relegate begging on the road. The result reflected within the other findings and presented like family disorganization is one of various social variable that paves the 44 way for people engaged in asking alms from the general public as a results of one or two of the subsequent factors deaths of partner, death of the husband, death of the breadwinner, step parental treatment, maltreatment disruption within the family, or desertion by the husband are happened at their home region.

Elders need help and support from their children or other support providers, but the deaths of their children, the husband/wife and breadwinner or their support providers were also the main factors that brought them under begging. This is often according to research findings of. Additionally to the present the study attributed the space of their children and support providers also the causes of elder engage in begging. consistent with Cheng & Kumar due to accidents of varied kinds like temporary conflict, traffic accidents and work related accidents that cause loss of ability to figure temporarily or permanently and therefore the death of an income earner in families were the factors to started begging.

This research has also proved that family problems were among the main push factors. Disintegration of families is that the major push factor for elders who engage in begging because such an incidence results in lack of proper care and attention, love and affection, and lack of basic necessities. Although family disintegration affects the whole family, the most vulnerable groups are particularly elders who need care and attention, love and follow-up. It is true that family disintegration does not always push elders to begging but disintegration may aggravate the problem of begging if it is related with other factors like economic problems.

The findings of this study in this regard are positively associated with the previous findings of [12]. As he stated, family disorganization was the cause of begging and therefore the disturbance in home condition especially within the case of a poor one has led to a breakdown of the family, which reciprocally gives rise to beggary. Similarly, [11] found that family disintegration, abuse and neglect by parents, uncaring environment receptions are the main factors for engagement in begging. The causes for the matter of beggary are diverse. Therefore, it's impossible to attribute one major cause for people’s resentment to begging. The causes are rather multifaceted. Although it's possible to define a category of beggars on the idea of particular causes that induced them to require begging, most frequently, the trail from home to the road to beg isn't a one-way process.

Many of the conditions that spawn the matter of beggary can, however, have been seen as manifestations of the poverty crisis at large. But it's of paramount importance to consider poverty in terms of its precipitating causes that impel different vulnerable categories of poor people to be engaged in begging. Therefore, histories of individual beggars help us to reconstruct the varied aspects of the matter and to depict the various social, cultural, economic and historical factors, which could cause similar consequences. During this respect, the individual case studies considered aren't typical of the bulk of destitute people now living on the road. Yet their stories do typify a number of the processes by which growing numbers of our fellow citizens eventually become beggars. Besides, the individual’s stories provide an insight into the foremost vulnerable categories of poor people presently living by begging.

On the other hand, the health problems like sickness, disability, and impairment are the main push factors for elders to interact in begging. Consistent with Weiss, there are some people that engage in begging due to their inability to sustain life as a result of physical limitations. The findings of this study are also associated with the previous research findings by Menka that are old age; diseases, disability and illness are the most biological factors which pushed people into begging. The study revealed that health related problems were the main push factors of elder beggars within the study area. However, there are other health related problems which aren't directly resulted from economic factors, or reasons which make individuals steer their life through alms giving.

Conclusion and Implications

Elders are engaged in begging because of economic, social, and health related factors. Hence:

• The federal and local government should have the responsibility to make effective legislation and ensure strict implementation of the laws concerning elders that helps to alleviate the social issue of begging in Ethiopia. Therefore, it is advisable to make solid laws throughout the country to eliminate the occurrence of begging.

• The study indicated that economy related problem, breakdown of family institutions and parental death and health problems are major push factors. Thus, income resources may be increased by creating formal and informal way by community based institution.

• Family disorders, poverty and unemployment take people towards begging. Therefore, social welfare and rehabilitation facilities by psychologists’ counselors, social workers, and professionals can provide to those people who really need assistance, and then they will be enable to lead happy life in the society.

• Government, NGOs and other civic societies establish different institutes like petty trade, gardening, book binding, guarding and sewing for beggars so that they may keep themselves busy as well as earning their livelihood.

The government must include the help of NGOs, Social psychologists and also the civic¬ bodies, so that the cancerous growth of beggary can be eliminated. Academic researches on the issue should be encouraged from time to time to check and enhance the curbing of beggary problem. Media can play a big role for solving this problem because it takes very short time to¬ reach everybody’s mind and heart.


We would like to thank all participants, who participated in this study and shared their life experiences; without them, this study could not be materialized. Moreover, we are grateful for our staff members for their comments on the relevant of interview guides and the translation of the interview guides from English to Amharic language.