Exploring the options for alternative means of livelihood for blind street beggars in Sokoto, Nigeria
Aim: To explore the readiness of and the options for alternative means of livelihood for Blind Street beggars in Sokoto, Nigeria, with a view to achieving the millennium development goals.
Materials and Methods: A cross.sectional study was conducted in a Local Government Area (LGA), in Sokoto State overa 6 weeks period (May/June, 2009). Ethical clearance was obtained from the Ethical Committee of University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital. A list of blind persons in these areas was obtained from the local traditional head of the blind (Sarkin Makafi) who gave the general consent for the study and also assisted in mobilizing the subjects. Blind subjects who consented were examined and included in the study. Data were collected with a semistructured questionnaire. The
desire for occupational change and the preferred alternative means of sustenance were explored. Data obtained were coded, analyzed, and summarized in form of frequency tables.
Results: A total of 216 (94.7%) subjects were examined out of the 228 subjects that were enumerated. However, only 202 of the registered persons that were actually found to be blind on ophthalmic examination were included in the analysis. Majority of the subjects, 201 (99.5%), wanted alternative means of livelihood. About half of the subjects, 100 (49.8%), wanted to be established in farming or trading.
Conclusion: Most respondents expressed readiness for alternative means of livelihood.
Key words: Blind beggars, millennium development goals, Nigeria, occupational change, poverty alleviation