The need for data on marginalised and excluded populations is widely acknowledge by the international community. Without accurate data, these populations are invisible.
"...even the most willing governments cannot efficiently deliver services if they do not know who those people are, where they live and what they need." The data revolution: Finding the missing millions, ODI, 2015
In 2015, StreetInvest's methodology was recognised as the sector standard by the Consortium for Street Children.
The workers involved in the headcount are the most valuable tool in the process. Workers are chosen based on their knowledge of the area and the street-connected children who live there. All participants undertake additional training prior.
The count is conducted in teams and group discussion is crucial to compare and contrast numbers of children observed. Data is disaggregated by perceived gender, age and key activity for example: casual work or begging.
This methodology differs from others as it focusses purely on observation and does not require direct contact with the children.
Since it was developed, StreetInvest has been directly involved in headcounts in Sierra Leone, India, Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia (commissioned by UNICEF) and Tanzania. The Sierra Leone headcount in 2011 was the first ever national headcount.
Detailed statistics have been collected on some 100,000 street-connected young people during the course of these headcounts. In the process over 250 individuals have been trained to conduct headcounts using StreetInvest’s specialist training.