How do Intra-household gender relations affect child nutrition? Findings from two rural districts in Tanzania

Devota J.B., J.B. and Mwaseba, . and Kaarhusb, R. (2015) How do Intra-household gender relations affect child nutrition? Findings from two rural districts in Tanzania. Forum for Development Studies, 42 (2). pp. 289-309.

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This article explores intra-household gender relations and how they affect children’s nutritional status, focusing on children below five years old and their families in two distinct rural societies in Tanzania. The ethnic groups are the Luguru in the Mvomero District and the Bena in the Njombe District. In both societies, milk-based interventions involving the introduction of dairy goats and cattle have been implemented. The underlying assumption guiding these interventions is that with increased milk production there would be increased milk consumption at the household level, leading to an improvement in children’s health and nutritional status. Our study questions these assumptions. Methods used for data collection included semi-structured interviews, participant observation, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. In our analysis, recognising the multiple realities and diverse social practices of different actors has been central to understanding household responses to milk-based interventions and their effects. We find that women – as mothers – in both societies have the major responsibility to provide food for children. In both societies, social norms and household needs also oblige mothers to allocate part of their time to performing productive activities that generate income for their households. Despite their contribution to income generation, women’s decisionmaking power regarding the spending of household income is limited. Men usually control the sale of marketable agricultural products, including the milk produced, and the income is used to cover the expenses for which men are responsible. As a result, neither the milk itself nor the incomes generated by the sale of milk are used in ways that significantly improve the nutritional status of under-fives in dairy-keeping households.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Gender relations; child nutrition; household resource allocation; milk-based interventions; Tanzania
Author Affiliation: Department of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric), Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Norway
Subjects: Crop Improvement
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr T L Gautham
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2018 04:02
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2018 04:02

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