Journal article Open Access
Tosin Daodu; Ismail Said; John K Ologbonde
Independent mobility of children living in the barrack is declining over the last four decades due to its unfriendly environment. There are limited studies on children-environment relationships in Nigeria, especially in the barrack. Available studies from social sciences and public health studies lack policy connection with the child-friendly environment for improved independent mobility. Hence, this study aimed to develop a child-friendly barrack environment policy framework for enhanced independent movement of children. The safety and security, barrack environmental quality, basic services, quality of housing, and children’s participation were five characteristics of a child-friendly environment considered. They exogenously predicted improved independent mobility of children in the barrack. On the other hand, the endogenous construct consists of the land-use change, destination accessibility, home range, travel time, and population density of the barrack. A total of 390 parent and primary school children aged 5-12 living in the Nigerian Air Force Barrack in Kaduna jointly assessed the five barrack environment characteristics and five indicators of children’s independent mobility. The survey questionnaire was analysed using SPSS and PLS-SEM. Consequently, the principal component analysis showed high factor loading for the five characteristics and four independent mobility indicators except for the land use that fell below 0.7 thresholds. The outer weights of the reflexive measurement items were high which signified strong correlations. Hence, barrack environment characteristics strongly predicted improved independent mobility of children. Thus, the structural model’s path coefficient of 0.585 explained 58.5% variance in the independent mobility of children in the barrack residential area. The coefficient of determination R2 value is 0.342, and the p-value is at 0.000 level of significance. It provided an environment planning policy framework to monitor interventions and halt the declining rates of children's independent mobility in the military barrack of Nigeria. The conceptual framework developed is applicable in the para-military barrack, housing estates and compact cities in African countries including Nigeria.