Rural Children’s Livelihoods in Tanzania: Three Generations Case Study - Kahama District
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The studies on children and childhood have sparked a lot of attention in the field of social sciences. Children have been seen as fundamentally different category from adults in the society, which deserves sort of different attention and to be understood on their own rights. This has been further emphasized and reinforced by organizations such as the UNICEF, the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, and the African Charter on the Rights and welfare of the Child 1990 (came to force 1999) to mentioned just few. Through the work of various researchers and academicians the discourses of children and childhood has been viewed on western perspectives. In the developing world, little has been done particularly on the lives of children and their childhood, hence little is known about them. However various studies have been conducted but the focus has been on children in the streets, child labor etc that perceives children as a problem in the society. The question is how about their everyday life, how about their experiences and how such experiences have been changing from time to time. Answers to these questions would provide a better understanding on children and their childhood in the global minority world. My study focus on the lives and the lived experiences of children in rural areas in Tanzania. The main focus has been exploring continuity and change in children’s lives and their childhoods across three generation. This has been considered to bring insightful understanding on children’s lives, construction and reconstruction of their childhood as well as their livelihoods. Various techniques based on qualitative method such as individual interviews, narrative, focus group discussions and Observations were used during data collection. Both Primary and secondary data were obtained and qualitatively analyzed. Despite interviews with the adult population, the study has been child-centered whereby children’s views and perceptions were collected and analyzed. Theoretical concepts and perspectives such as the dominant perspective on the study of childhood, the livelihood approach, and time-space concept have been used as a base of knowledge to this study. The study reveals children and childhood as an important segment in the society. However, issues of children and their childhood have been taken for granted. Children take part for the family survival at very tender age. With extreme poverty children adopt various livelihood strategies which have profound effect on the childhood. Many children in the rural areas are not sure on whether they live their childhood or not. Majority, have been deprived of their right to childhood due to various circumstances. Furthermore, since there are inevitable changes in the society, the construction and reconstruction of childhood have not been the same. As changes occur in the society, the same happens in the lives of children and their childhood.