Sean Donohue

Year: 2015
Affiliations: Anthropology, Public Health
Award: Woodrow Wilson

Project Description

Understanding Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Inheritance and Care in the Informal Settlements of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Africa is experiencing one of the fastest rates of urbanization in the world (United Nations, 2014). By 2050, UN estimates put 61.8 percent of the continent’s population in urban centers—indicating a serious need for regulation and oversight due to new challenges in resource depletion and concerns regarding the social welfare of the impoverished (UN-HABITAT, 2008). A survey and interview-based ethnography from the Chanika Ward of Dar Es Salaam sought to understand kinship theory and the paradigm of care surrounding OVC Families. Inheritance of care for orphaned or otherwise abandoned children has altered from a paternalistic, patrilineal kinship system to inheritance based on able, willing, and reachable status between possible caretakers. Discussions with OVC caretakers in the informal settlements of Dar Es Salaam have shown that on average they demonstrate similar (or worse) poverty than that of rural Tanzania and often care for more dependents than the national average. Helping to facilitate better care paradigms for vulnerable children within these environments is vital to improving the future health and safety of the population.

Mentors: Dr. Jane Guyer, Department of Anthropology and Dr. Jennifer Schrack, Bloomberg School of Public Health

PDF Document: Donohue Sean_Final


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