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Young people in self-care: behaviours and experiences in farming households in Kilombero Valley, Tanzania

MAKUNGU, CHRISTINA,MICHAELY (2011) Young people in self-care: behaviours and experiences in farming households in Kilombero Valley, Tanzania. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Little previous research has been carried out on children’s experiences of taking care of themselves in rural Sub-Saharan Africa due to livelihood demands on parents. The aim of this study was to explore the impact of self-care on the health and well-being of school-aged children who are left unsupervised for several months while their parents are away from the home village to undertake farming activities. The study is situated in the Kilombero Valley in south-eastern Tanzania where parents commonly migrate to distant fields during the farming season. Long distance between villages and farms as well as poverty related reasons are relevant factors in the decision of parents to leave school-aged children behind in the village in order to attend school while they stay at the family farm. A range of qualitative methods including focus group discussions and group exercises (diagramming and timelines), semi-structured in-depth interviews, participant observation and informal interviews were used to collect data in this study. The findings uncovered a range of risky behaviours among school-aged children which are experienced through, and inter-related with, a number of coping strategies. Risky behaviours include sexual activities, delay in health treatment seeking, non-use of mosquito bed nets, missing school classes and meals, and playing outside after dark. Coping strategies such as engaging in sex for food, paid labour and group sleeping are not really adopted through choice but are forced on children as a result of the inter-related nature of poverty, endemic environmental illness and adult household responsibilities. Although self-care arrangements have a number of negative implications for children’s health, well-being and education outcomes little has being done to address these issues at the family level, in schools in the community more generally.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2011
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:24 Nov 2011 14:36

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